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Swine vet: Factory-farm concept ‘couldn’t be further from the truth’

Today the term factory farm is used very widely, and most people think machines are making pigs, notes Seth Krantz, DVM, company veterinarian for Tosh Farms.

“It couldn’t be further from the truth; the people raising pigs are just like your neighbors down the road,” he says in a video produced as part of the Vets on Call series.

Krantz works with family farmers who are part of Tosh Farms’ system of swine producers in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Visiting a nursery, he checks on young pigs experiencing diarrhea. Krantz takes fecal samples for further testing to ensure they are not suffering from porcine epidemic diarrhea (PEDv), a new virus in the US responsible for thousands of pig deaths since 2014.

In the video, Krantz explains that the farm is managed by a young family starting out in farming. “They’re doing a real good job taking care of their pigs. As a vet or as a caretaker, nobody likes to see pigs get sick and die.”

Getting a new group of baby pigs started in the nursery is a lot of hard work but also fun for the grower, Krantz says. Each pig is making a big transition and needs plenty of care and attention.

“As a medical professional, I know pigs get sick, dogs get sick and people get sick,” Krantz says. “And to provide the best care for the animals, I do think antibiotics are appropriate.”

Antibiotics deemed medically important to humans by FDA have strict withdrawal times to ensure animals have time to clear antibiotics from their system and prevent them from entering the human-food chain.

“My job is to help these young farmers with their questions so they can get their pigs off to a healthy start,” he adds.

Vets on Call is a video series presented by Zoetis to showcase the important roles veterinarians play in food-animal production.

Watch Part 2:

Posted on May 19, 2017

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Challenges associated with controlling porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) have resulted in the increased use of molecular diagnostic tests and sequencing, according to Phillip Gauger, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University.

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