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Porcine Herd Management for Disease Prevention

By: Gary Brubaker, PhD, CEO Animal Biotech Industries, Inc. & Michael Pierdon, DVM Four Star Porcine Veterinary Services

Comprehensive herd health management involves the prevention of diseases from entering the herd, a vaccination program within the herd to prevent disease should it occur, a reliable monitoring system and the proper management practices to maintain the desired health status. 

Biosecurity             

Biosecurity is a herd management strategy designed to minimize the potential for the introduction of disease-causing organisms into the farm facilities. The swine facility is a large complex of buildings located in a rural area well isolated with no known swine farms within five miles.  People, vehicles, pigs and other animal vectors are kept away from the farm complex.  Breeding replacement females are raised on the farm and male genetics for breeding are brought in via fresh semen which is certified porcine pathogen-free.  All females on the farm are artificially inseminated on the premises.  ABI prohibits entry of all visitors and vehicles, with the exception of government inspectors and client on-site visitors. These exceptions require disinfection of vehicles; with sterile gowning of personnel and the use of disinfection footbaths before and between all buildings. Internal vehicles remain on the farm.  The feed used in ration formulation is stored on site and feed delivery trucks that might have visited other farms are prohibited from entering.

Management Practices

Personnel.  The farm manager and all employees are highly trained professionals who have the experience and training to carry out all management practices at the facility which includes: feeding, breeding and all management practices that relate to prevention and control of porcine diseases. The final objective of these practices is for the production of the healthiest and most vigorous swine possible for research markets.

All in/all out.  Pigs are moved as groups during each stage of production in an “all in/all out” manner. This means that all pigs that start out as a group within a pen or area stay together for the duration of their cycle.  Each group is moved into a clean sterile environment and remains together until that production cycle is over with no other pigs being added to the group.  Once all pigs are moved out of an area, it is cleaned, disinfected and allowed to remain dormant for several days before the next production group enters. Production groups are always kept separate from each other. This practice tends to break disease cycles, reduce stress and increase feed efficiency and vigor in the animals.

Disease Prevention Program

Our herd health program is managed by a team of consulting porcine veterinarians, led by Michael Pierdon, DVM. The team is in charge of maintaining the complete health care program for ABI which includes proper management techniques, vaccination schedules, monitoring, testing and troubleshooting. The veterinary service visits the farm every thirty days. Dr. Pierdon is also available to work with clients on a problem solving basis or to answer any health questions they might have.

Our health and disease prevention program is based upon the premise that healthy, disease free, robust and vigorous animals will make the best models for biomedical research.  Our program utilizes a comprehensive vaccination program to protect all animals against the major diseases of swine. These include major viral diseases such as Porcine Circovirus, Influenza A virus, Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS) virus and Parvovirus as well as bacterial diseases caused by Mycoplasma hypopneumoniae, Leptospira, Haemophilus parasuis, Bordetella bronchiseptica and Pasteurella multocida. The result is a healthy, vigorous and robust animal.