Home   News

Stepped-Up Biosecurity Recommended to Guard Against Swine Dysentery

By Bruce Cochrane.

An Associate Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine is advising pork producers to step up their focus on biosecurity to guard against the introduction of swine dysentery.

Swine dysentery is a bacterial infection that causes bloody diarrhea primarily in grower and finisher pigs.

"Swine Dysentery and other Emerging Brachyspiras" was among the topics discussed last week as part of the Banff Pork Seminar.

Dr. John Harding, an Associate Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, says the incidence of swine dysentery has been extremely low to non-existent since about the early 1990s but it re-emerged in 2002-2003 in the U.S. and the first case appeared in western Canada, after about a 15 year absence, in 2009.

Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
This is a set of diseases that are transmitted by feces so farms to become infected must be contaminated with feces from other infected pigs and how feces get onto the farm could be multiple routes.

I suppose on shoes would be one, on live pigs that are sub-clinically infected or carriers, on transport vehicles, maybe on dead-stock routes but, in some way, feces have come onto the facility and our biosecurity procedures are not adequate to prevent that from happening.

My advice would be two-fold.

One is, if you are an affected farm then something has gone terrible wrong and there's been a lapse in your biosecurity.

To any farm that is non-infected at this point in time I would just strongly advise you that you critically review all steps in your biosecurity program.

At this point in time most affected farms do not know exactly how it came on so that would lead me to say that most farms in operation today are at risk.

Dr. Harding says what's surprising is that, after all of these years where we've been working on improving biosecurity on our farms, that something is slipping through the cracks.