The Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network meets quarterly to assess how different health challenges are impacting pig herds across Canada
By Jackie Clark
As the second quarter of 2020 draws to a close, members of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network (CSHIN) are preparing to discuss how trends in swine health have evolved since their last discussion. The previous meeting among members in 2020 consisted of 54 veterinarians from across Ontario, Quebec, and western provinces, according to the organization’s quarterly report.
“Quarter one (Q1) in 2020 was quite challenging for swine health issues,” Dr. Christa Arsenault, CSHIN manager, told Farms.com. “That’s not atypical for a quarter one. In swine, we see a lot of seasonal trends to normal health challenges that we experience.”
Conditions like influenza or porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) “tend to be more associated with seasonal weather changes, so usually Q1 tends to be the more challenging quarter, as well as Q4 in a year,” Arsenault explained.
“When the weather fluctuates and we get warmer days and much cooler nights in the late winter, early spring period of Q1, that’s when we see a lot more respiratory signs like coughs and sneezes,” she said.
However, “we did see quite a few increases in some of those normal diseases that we don’t usually see quite that high, so my hope is that in Q2 that has settled down,” she added.
Geographical trends in swine health also exist. Ontario and Quebec tend to see similar patterns, both because of proximity and similar weather conditions.
“We have quite a lot of pigs that travel the (Highway) 401 corridor between Ontario and Quebec,” Arsenault said.
Pigs from western provinces sometimes mix or share facilities with pigs from Eastern Canada, but not frequently.
“Quebec and Ontario had a pretty challenging Q1 for porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED), whereas the West actually saw the opposite trend. They saw more of their initial premises that were PED-positive going negative,” Arsenault said.
Swine health officials are not sure what caused the opposite trends, but producers and other industry stakeholders are working hard on both on- and off-farm biosecurity to move towards eliminating PED.
Warmer weather should result in a lower risk of respiratory illness.
“I do think Q2 will be a little bit quieter here in Ontario based on what we’ve seen with the weather so far … but we have to wait for the CSHIN call to know for sure,” Arsenault said.
CSHIN members meet about a month after each quarter to share research and clinical trends.
“It’s a great way to look at data, because you don’t just have data in isolation … you have the networking component, where you’re talking to your colleagues across Canada and you’re trying to figure out exactly what that data means,” she added.
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