Pig production has responded to the challenge of increased global demand for pork by consolidating and increasing size of operations. The changes in the production systems have helped to advance the health status of pigs by improving the way pigs are raised. However, production system growth also changes the way we approach disease control.
To help streamline those changes Boehringer Ingelheim has developed a way to bring together new and existing knowledge in swine disease management. The Infection/Prevention Chain™ concept is a systematic approach to disease control. “It can be applied to practically all infectious diseases,” says Eduardo Fano, DVM, PhD, swine technical manager for Boehringer Ingelheim. “By understanding how the herd is linked together we start to identify disease transmission patterns.
“The key goal for this approach,” he adds, “is to deliver a vaccine-ready pig to the wean-to-finish barn.”
Figure 1: Infection Chain-Prevention Chain
The Infection/Prevention Chain relies on the simple concept of an infection or disease management equation: to successfully control a disease we need to minimize disease exposure through biosecurity measures, flow management and use of antimicrobials where necessary. At the same time, Figure 2 demonstrates how producers should be thinking about increasing protection in their barns by maximizing immunity through vaccination acclimation programs, lactation management and proper nutrition through each phase of growth.
Figure 2: Disease management equation
This “chain thinking” allows a more holistic and comprehensive approach to understand the epidemiology and prevention of major infectious agents.
“We accomplish this by matching the production chain with where the infection chain impacts the barn. By studying this we see how the disease prevention chain forms. This prevention chain focuses our attention on the entire production system at all stages instead of just the individual piglet,” Fano says. “Therefore, this approach can help to modify or re-adjust the intervention strategies, like pig flow, internal biosecurity management and prevention protocols, applied for control, prevention and even elimination of disease.”
Fano adds, “The goal is to create a way of thinking where understanding the root of the problem is the first step of a whole herd approach to health management. We know that vaccinations and best practices implemented ‘up stream’ are critical to delivering a healthy, 3-week-old growing pig that will respond to vaccination in the wean-to-finish barn.”
Coming in October, we’ll cover how to integrate the Infection/Prevention Chain method into your operation.