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Innovation in preventing respiratory disease in pigs

by 5m Editor
30 July 2007, at 4:29am

UK - A new approval for a leading injectable antibiotic is set to reduce the impact of swine respiratory disease on pig health and performance.

For the first time an injectable product – the long-acting, single dose Draxxin — can be used as a preventative medication as well as for the treatment of respiratory infections in pigs.

The decision by the EU licensing authority means that groups of pigs can be treated at a period when they are most at risk of infection.

Up to now group therapy has relied on feed or water medication. Sick pigs tend not to eat or drink normally, and the dose they receive is therefore unpredictable. This kind of medication routine can be problematic and vets and producers are seeking alternatives.

Many farms experience outbreaks of respiratory disease at key points in the production cycle. Pigs are particularly vulnerable when they are subject to stress after moving and handling, following weaning and in the early fattening period," explained Nigel Lodge, technical services manager at Pfizer Animal Health.

"We know that individual farms tend to have a definable disease pattern, and that enables preventative medication to be used strategically," he added. &

Using an injectable product can be more reliable as individual pigs are assured of reciveing the correct dose. In-feed or water medication cannot offer that assurance as the amount consumed is down to the pigs.

Predictable assurance
Pfizer says that Draxxin offers predictable dosing and a complete course of treatment in one injection. A single dose provides up to 15 days' antibiotic activity, which will cover the pigs through the risk period.

Mr Lodge says studies in Germany and the Netherlands haver shown the efficacy of in-contact treatment with Draxxin.

The German finishing unit had a history of respiratory problems occurring around 30 days after wpigs were moved into the finishing barns. In the studies a group of 1500 pigs were given one dose of Draxxin or eight days' in-feed medication with doxycycline (12.5 mg/kg) on arrival.

Observations showed that the Draxxin-treated group required less re-treatment, grew 25 grams more per day and went to slaughter around nine days earlier than those givin in-feed medication. Carcase weights were also higher and the overall benefit was increased profitability of 1.71 Euros per pig.

The Dutch unit, was a split sire breeding and finsihing farm, with 450 sows and 120 gilts and 3000 finishing places. It experienced increased respiratory problems following a PRRS outbreak and post-mortem results showed 52 per cent of lungs had lesions and 37 per cent had pleuritis.

New management measures to interrupt the infection cycle, which included the use of Draxxin at three days before weaning, led to decreased disease levels and less antibiotic use in the finishing unit. The number of pigs with lung lesions dropped to 2.8 per cent and the incidence of pleuritis fell to 4.3 per cent.

5m Editor