Herd Health

New discoveries reported at the Minnesota swine conference

The 38th Leman Swine Conference delivered much new information on control and elimination of PRRS virus being used in PRRS ARC&E projects and compelling new insights
into peri-weaning failure to thrive syndrome (PFTS)


The 38th Allan D. Leman Swine Conference was held in St. Paul, Minn., last September and a wide array of topics was presented, with engaging new discoveries reported on air filtration for PRRS virus (PRRSV), peri-weaning failure to thrive syndrome (PFTS) and the announcement of the validation of an ELISA standard for oral fluids diagnostic testing. Here are a few notes I captured from the proceedings of the conference.

Is vitamin D deficiency a factor in PFTS?

Research and observations on several fronts are helping our understanding of Peri-weaning Failure to Thrive Syndrome (PFTS), in particular the suspicion that vitamin D deficiency may play a part  


I have written previously about Peri-weaning Failure to Thrive Syndrome (PFTS), but under the name Post-weaning Catabolic Syndrome (April 2009).  Over the summer and fall of 2011, several things have emerged to create a better understanding of PFTS, including the following:

PCVD, PRRS and swine influenza dominate the Barcelona conference on pig diseases

With 113 papers delivered, PCV2 was the top topic at last June’s symposium on Emerging and Re-Emerging Pig Diseases, with PRRS not far behind 


The 6th International Symposium on Emerging and Re-emerging Pig Diseases took place in Barcelona, Spain, on June 12-15, 2011. Just over 1,000 participants attended the conference, which had 250 oral and poster presentations, in addition to keynote lectures on porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), PRRS and influenza viruses. PCV2 (113 papers) was the top topic again, as it has been for the last three Emerging Diseases symposia, followed by PRRS (71) and various emerging and re-emerging diseases (66).

Emerging Swine Diseases

The internal parasites that still infect our pigs

In the second of two articles on parasitic diseases, a swine specialist reviews four parasitic diseases that, though reduced, remain of clinical and economic importance


I’ll start by saying that the move to total indoor, confinement-rearing of pigs has reduced the prevalence of most internal parasites in our domestic pig population. However, unlike the external parasites, which are almost all gone and definitely miniaturized in importance, most internal parasites are still present and important in our pigs.

The internal parasites that I will discuss here include: round worms (Ascariasis); nodular worms (Oesophagostomiasis); lung worms (Metastrongylosis); and whip worms (Trichuriasis).

The good news about parasitic diseases

Many once-common parasitic diseases have largely been eliminated. In the first of two articles, a swine specialist discusses parasite groups that no longer afflict our herds


I realize that I often write about the latest new scourge to descend on our pigs or something equally disturbing even if not so new.  So, this time, I’ve decided to write about something that the swine industry has to celebrate, the elimination of a vast array of parasitic diseases that were very common in our pigs for most of the last century and are now history or very rare occurrences.

Mycoplasma hyorhinis – easy to isolate but hard to treat

This bacterium, which causes fever, lameness and mobility problems in young pigs, doesn’t respond well to antibiotics and is best prevented by controlling other respiratory diseases that may trigger it


Mycoplasma hyorhinis is a bacterium that causes polyserositis and arthritis virtually identical to those caused by Haemophilus parasuis (the Glässer’s disease organism), and Streptococcus (Strep) suis.

Is swine dysentery making a comeback?

Considered eradicated in the 1900s, this old nemesis is back in parts of North America, but treatment and control is possible with the right combination of measures


Swine dysentery is an old nemesis that we thought we had eradicated in the 1990s, but apparently not so. Over the last two or three years, there have been increasing reports of outbreaks from several parts of the U.S. Midwest and  Southeast, and also some parts of Canada.

Swine dysentery (SD) is a severe intestinal bacterial disease causing bloody diarrhea (bloody scours) primarily in grow-finish pigs, although any age or size of pigs can be affected. SD occurs worldwide.

Good news on the coccidiosis front – Baycox is back!

Removed from the market some years ago, this long-acting and effective coccidiocidal compound is now available by prescription from veterinarians once again


I have written about coccidiosis (cocci) more than once over the last several years. The first occasion (Better Pork, October 2004) was to announce that the menace of piglet cocci was alive and well in many farrowing rooms across the country. Some years later, (Better Pork, August 2007) it was when, Baycox (scientific name, toltrazuril), the only product that worked well in combating porcine cocci, was removed from the market by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

What the Vancouver conference told us about PRRS

Some more highlights from the nearly 2,000 papers presented at the 21st International Pig Veterinary Society last July


In the last issue, I covered some of the highlights of the 21st IPVS (International Pig Veterinary Society) Congress held for the first time in Canada (in Vancouver), July 18-21, 2010.  I also gave brief summaries of a few of the nearly 2,000 papers presented, concentrating on the PCV2 (Circovirus) papers. In this issue, I shall switch to PRRS and papers on some other topics, but before doing so I’ll review one more PCV2 paper.

PCV2 and PRRS get the lion’s share of attention at the Vancouver IPVS Congress

With more than 2,700 attendees from 66 countries, the 21st IPVS Congress was a smashing success. Here’s a summary of some of the findings presented


The 21st IPVS (International Pig Veterinary Society) Congress was held in Vancouver,  July 18-21, 2010, the first time this event has ever been held in Canada.

The IPVS has been in existence for 40 years and is held every even-numbered year in a country that is decided by vote by the delegates. Canada had put together unsuccessful bids to host an IPVS on two previous occasions and was finally successful at the 19th IPVS Congress in Copenhagen, when we won the bid decisively on the first ballot with Vancouver as the venue.