Research shows that bacterium, Lawsonia intracellularis  and the disease it causes – ileitis – is present on more than 90 percent of farms in the United States. Dr. Patterson, an owner of Northeast Veterinary Services in Shelbina, Mo., says that number matches up with the farms he sees in his practice.

“Whether or not there are clinical signs, there are certainly sub-clinical issues with ileitis. When we test those farms, we find that ileitis is present,” he says.

He explains that ileitis can become more of an issue due to improper management. “Anything that impacts the pig’s immune system can affect ileitis, such as airflow, temperature or humidity,” he says. “Something as simple as leaving the drip sprinklers on too long can lead to outbreaks of ileitis. In addition, other factors, like the presence of other diseases, mycotoxins in the feed or water quality, can have an impact.

What to Do with an Ileitis Outbreak
If you think your herd is experiencing an ileitis outbreak, Dr. Patterson says the first thing to do is get a solid diagnosis. He first gets tissue samples; then, he does cross-sectional testing through serum and/or oral fluids. “We want to know where and when the disease is occurring, then we can set up our treatment and prevention protocols.

“Once we get the pig immunized properly, we know that pig’s immune system will work through its full growing period,” he adds. “When I use medicated feeds, I know they’re working when present, but when I pull them out, I don’t have any protection.”

For Dr. Patterson and his clients, it’s a matter of treating the right pig at the right time with the right product. For more information, watch this interview.