Early Identification of Infection Improves Likelihood of Recovery and Allows Timelier Response to Foreign Animal Disease

Farmscape for November 8, 2021

Full Interview 17:01 Listen

A Michigan State University Swine Extension Veterinarian with says faster detection of illness in pigs increases the likelihood of recovery and allows a more timely response to foreign animal disease. “Identifying Sick or At-Risk Pigs” will be discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2021 set for next week via Zoom. Dr. Madonna Benjamin an associate professor, swine extension veterinarian with Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, says even observers with limited exposure to pigs can be trained to quickly recognise the signs of a pig that has been compromised.

Clip-Dr. Madonna Benjamin-Michigan State University:
With a little bit of training, in spite of your experience in livestock or swine production, beef production etcetera or even no experience, people could identify sickness behavior. Once they saw all the animals that looked normal, they could identify what was not normal. When I share my theory on identifying compromised pigs, it’s kind of a cookie monster approach. “Which one thing doesn’t look like the other?” And identifying that animal that perhaps is still in the corner, doesn’t want to move, has the hair coat that’s standing straight on end or maybe there’s other clinical indications such as low body condition. These are indicators that just don’t look right in a normal healthy pig. What we found is that, if we look at the pig in a systematic way, perhaps starting at the nose, going over the eyes, the ears, the back, looking past the tail, around the tail for diarrhea, coming down around the legs and the belly, that all of that can be done in about two seconds per pig.

Dr. Benjamin says detecting sick pigs early will increase the likelihood of the animal’s recovery and allow a more timely response in the event of a foreign animal disease.

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