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Clean up PED in finisher units to reduce threat to sow herd

After 2 years of limited porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) activity, four sow farms recently broke with PED in southwest Minnesota. The disease that caused major devastation in the hog industry 2 to 4 years ago remained quiet in this area until now.

“Recently, we’ve seen an uptick in some sow herds breaking with PED,” reported Steve Dudley, DVM, VMC/Prairie Livestock Supply, Worthington, Minnesota. “Four sow herds broke with PED in the last 60 days. Those herds are within close proximity. Three are within 3 miles of each other.”

Mortality decreased

The clinical picture generated by the new PED infections is slightly different from earlier cases.

“We’ve seen a little less death loss in these herds than we saw during the early breaks,” Dudley explained. “I surmise there is some ongoing protection in the herd.”

The new outbreaks confirm PED remains active and a concern for all hog farms, not just sow farms. A finisher facility located near one of the sow farms is suspected of exposing the sows to PED.

“It’s a reminder to the entire industry to get things like PED cleaned up,” Dudley added. “PED doesn’t necessarily impact finisher facilities like it does sow units, but it’s important finishers use PED-control strategies so the disease does not contaminate sow herds.”

Minimizing PED spread 

A key to successful PED biosecurity requires producers to know the previous locations of trucks used to transport finishing pigs. Trucks loaded and unloaded at slaughter facilities or those handling cull sows pose an increased risk of picking up PED.

Other PED biosecurity tactics include:

+ Monitoring people traffic in and out of the facilities.

+ Enforcing biosecurity protocols for delivery traffic, especially when a disease break has occurred.

+ Ensuring no disease activity occurred with sources of incoming breeding stock or other pig movement.

Disinfectant reduces transmission

People and animal foot traffic transmits PED, especially if hogs are transported on unwashed trucks and trailers. To deter this type of transmission, Dudley recommended using a powdered disinfectant called Stalosan F. The distinctive red-colored disinfectant is sprinkled or blown into areas of traffic.

“We recommend using it in an entry like a load-out area where pigs go in and out, and outside the office areas where people walk into the facility,” he said. “As long as the red powder is still present, it is killing PED and other pathogens.

“The University of Minnesota has done studies showing that the disinfectant is effective against PED,” Dudley continued. “It’s a tool we feel producers should be aware of to minimize the risk of PED. We’ve been using it for the last 2 years.”

Other PED-control strategies such as a commercial vaccine offer control options, especially after an outbreak occurs.

While PED biosecurity information is not new, producers need a reminder because the disease remains very present and active, Dudley added.


Posted on August 1, 2018

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It’s not unrealistic to say that if you checked the nasal cavities or tonsils of any group of pigs, you would find Strep suis. While the strain and impact can vary widely, this commensal bacterium is on virtually every hog farm.

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