The organism causing ileitis is passed in feces, leading to transmission of the disease around the barn. Manure management practices and sanitation between pig groups help reduce incidence of the disease. Performance losses associated with diarrhea are always worthy of concern, but add in today’s high feed costs and you have an extra incentive to keep the pig’s digestive tract healthy and functioning efficiently.
Since diarrhea cuts into optimum weight gain and feed efficiency, getting pigs back on track is a top priority. Pigs that are delayed in reaching optimum market weight penalize your operation not only by higher feed costs, but pigs that fall short face potential packer discounts.
Determining the causative organism is a priority before treatment begins or prevention measures can be initiated. “Based on herd history and age of pigs, many times there are some diseases that are more likely to be involved than others,” according to Alex Ramirez, DVM, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Start by recording each disease incidence in a barn, including age of pigs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment used, number of pigs affected and death loss. That will help provide insight in determining a prevention strategy for the next turn.
ROTAVIRUSES, ILEITIS TOP ENTERIC DISEASE THREATS: The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory identified rotaviruses as the leading cause of enteric disease in samples tested from pre-weaning age pigs. Ileitis was identified as the leading enteric disease in pigs age 8 weeks through finishing. Although you may expect to see some diarrhea or loose stools when you suspect enteric issues, you can’t just look at the pigs and know with certainty what pathogen is causing the problem. When diarrhea is present in pre-weaning pigs, Ramirez says, the most common potential causative organisms include Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens Type A, Escherichia coli and rotaviruses. In the early nursery stage, rotaviruses and E. coli are more typical.
To make the correct diagnosis, Ramirez stresses the importance of submitting tissue samples for laboratory testing to ensure the right agent or agents are identified. For example, E. coli often causes scours in pigs before weaning as well as during the first two weeks after weaning. “The E. coli that causes post-weaning scours is usually a totally different strain from that causing scours in piglets in the farrowing house,” he says.