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M. hyo: Control or elimination?

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Effective control of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyo) has to start in the breeding herd to prevent problems with the disease in finishers, according to Lucina Galina, DVM, director of technical services, Zoetis.

In an M. hyo-positive herd, the pathogen is vertically transmitted from sows to piglets. When piglets are weaned, many are already colonized with the pathogen. The higher the prevalence of colonization, the bigger the problems are with M. hyo in the finishing stage, she told Pig Health Today.

Finishers infected with M. hyo don’t feel well, don’t eat well and average daily gain and feed conversion suffer, she added. Antibiotic treatment may be needed to reduce clinical signs of the disease.

Transmission of M. hyo from sow to pig can be minimized with vaccination, but vaccination alone isn’t sufficient to achieve effective M. hyo control, Galina emphasized. It must be coupled with other management practices such as good biosecurity and, especially, proper gilt introduction. If gilts naïve to M. hyo are introduced into an M. hyo-positive herd, “That’s a time bomb,” she said.

She also said that eliminating — not just controlling — M. hyo is a realistic option for some producers. It’s difficult but can be done, particularly for farms with a lower risk for reinfection, such as those located in areas without a high density of pigs.

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