What is management over medication?By Casey Zangaro Michigan State University

Management of livestock is essential for a healthy herd. Some medications can be avoided with close observation and understanding of a herd health plan, which is the main objective of the management over medication concept.

Pigs resting
Photo by Casey Zangaro, MSU Extension.

Swine management is the practice of managing and caring for pigs in a way that promotes their health and well-being while minimizing the need for medication. Overuse of medication in swine production can have impacts on animal health, the environment, and human health, it also influences the financial health of the operation. Implementing an effective biosecurity plan that takes into consideration  whole farm production is essential to having a good herd health status, which results in a productive and profitable operation. Being attentive and observant to the animals in your care should be the Key values of swine management over medication:

  1. Prevention: Preventing disease is key to reducing the need for medication. This includes maintaining proper sanitation and hygiene, providing adequate nutrition, and housing. The implementation of  biosecurity measures aimed at preventing the  introduction of disease to the herd is key for risk mitigation. Prevention includes following simple biosecurity measures and a having a management plan for pest control.
  2. Early detection and treatment: Early detection is key when treating health issues in pigs. Daily observation, regular health monitoring and prompt treatment can reduce the need for medication by addressing issues before they become severe and require more intensive treatment. Having a herd veterinarian is essential for sourcing medication for pigs that require it but also to assist with maintaining a herd in good health status. Whether it is as simple as separation from the herd for observation or getting a veterinarian involved in the case of medications are needed. A VCPR (Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship) is essential for herd health. Veterinarian-support herd health plan should include proper vaccinations and dewormer based on the current herd’s health.
  3. Proper use of medication: When medication is necessary, it should be used properly and judiciously. This includes using the right medication for the specific disease or condition affecting the animal, following proper dosages and administration methods, and adhering to withdrawal periods to ensure that meat products are safe for human consumption.

Overall, swine management over medication is a holistic approach to pig care that prioritizes disease prevention and early detection of health issues, along with a judicious use of medication when necessary. It is a simple yet comprehensive concept that can assist in overall herd health and efficiencies on the farm.

For more information, please feel free to look over the Management over Medication webpage via the MSU Extension pork website.