A pathogen is described as a bacterium, virus or other microorganism that can cause disease (see the box to the left).
Each of these pathogens act differently and cause scours at different ages in the pigs. For example, E. coli, Rotavirus, and Clostridium perfringens tend to be more of an early lactation scours, whereas Coccidia causes scours later in lactation. We’ll focus on these first and discuss TGE and PEDv later.
1. Lack of immunity
The biggest component to the immunity category is colostrum, which is high in energy, protein and antibodies. Piglets absorb colostrum through the gut for up to 24 hours, and it is the main immune defense the piglet has until it is able to develop its own immunity. Creating high quality colostrum via feedback or vaccines weeks prior to farrowing will help create the antibodies specific to scours. With certain pathogens such as Coccidia, it is important to note feedback can amplify your scours situation if not done properly. Make sure you work with your veterinarian to identify and develop a protocol for your operation.
2. Improper movements
There are two main classifications of improper movements: piglets and people. For piglets, notice how often piglets are moved between litters during the fostering process. There are two primary fostering strategies: unlimited movements (“peas in a pod”) and restricted movement protocols. Each strategy has its own benefit, but if controlling or preventing scours is your goal, then restricted movement using a form of block sizing is suggested. Additionally, restricted use of fostering or processing carts can help reduce the transfer of pathogens.