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Yeske: Mycoplasma elimination ‘always a good strategy’

Eliminating mycoplasma from a herd works well with a fast payback, even in hog-dense areas, according to research conducted by Paul Yeske, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minnesota.

Research indicates mycoplasma can travel 6.2 miles to infect an unrelated hog operation, called lateral transmission. Yeske wanted to see how frequently this occurred, especially in pig-dense areas. At the same time, he could check the success rate of mycoplasma-elimination efforts.

Yeske’s field study used five different hog production systems in southwest Minnesota, and northwest and northeast Iowa. The herds were validated mycoplasma-negative. Researchers followed pigs at 10 grow-finish sites from each of the five production systems. They carried the study through two marketing seasons, summer-fall and winter-spring.

At the end of the finishing period, researchers looked at serology of the pigs to see if they were exposed in the field to mycoplasma.

Lateral transmission rare

“Only 6% of the sites had become positive,” Yeske told Pig Health Today, following his presentation at the 2017 Leman Swine Conference.

“We learned (lateral transmission) does happen but at an infrequent rate. This was a true field study…with lots of hog barns in the area.” One farm in the study was located within 6.2 miles of 120 finishing units.

Why the low transmission rate? “It’s a slow-growing organism and difficult to transfer in that mechanism,” Yeske suggested.

Mycoplasma elimination pays

The low transmission rate also proved mycoplasma-elimination programs work. “This should help people feel more confident going into an elimination program that they will be able to return their investment,” he said.

“Also, our data shows if you are having mycoplasma problems, it’s probably your production system and not the neighborhood,” Yeske added. “You need to look at your sow-herd stabilization and identify how to do a better job with gilt introduction. Try not to send a high load of mycoplasma through the grow-finish population.”

Overall, he recommends mycoplasma elimination instead of living with the disease. “My belief is it is always a good strategy,” Yeske said. “But in certain instances, some production systems will make a choice to live with the disease.”


Posted on May 17, 2018

tags: ,
  • How to minimize summer’s impact on sow fertility

    Sow reproductive performance drops off in the summer, and this year will be no different. To minimize seasonal infertility issues, Paul Yeske, DVM, Swine Vet Center, recommends producers take steps to keep November and December farrowing numbers up.

  • When swine medicine crossed over to human medicine

    The tools used countless times to eradicate disease in sow herds and on hog farms became the tools to help pork packing plants reopen last spring after shutting down due to COVID-19.

  • One year later: How the US pork industry dealt with the COVID-19 crisis

    The pork industry entered one of its darkest periods in spring 2020 when COVID-19 forced the shutdown of several plants. Paul Yeske, DVM, helped hog producers in his area work through the closures.

  • Highly infectious PRRS variant causes high mortalities on sow farms

    A variant of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus is taking a heavy toll on hog farms in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

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Looking at individual “pieces of the puzzle” means farm owners can evaluate the pros and cons of Mycoplasma elimination programs and come to a practical solution, says veterinarian David A. Baumert.

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