Expanding the Herd Health Role

Responsible use of antibiotics is just one part of an overall herd health management plan. Producers should sit down with their veterinarians to discuss how to apply the new VFD and prescription requirements and other herd health strategies. A veterinarian can help design herd health and production plans to decrease disease, enhance performance and produce safe, wholesome pork. Each producer should review these on-farm protocols to further minimize the need for antibiotic use.

4-pigsBiosecurity – Prevent diseases by controlling traffic of pigs, people, vehicles and other items that can carry diseases into a herd, such as boots, coveralls and supplies.

  • Apply all-in/all-out pig flow by site, or at least by room. See that workers honor this flow in their daily movements.
  • Thoroughly clean, disinfect and heat/dry facilities or rooms between pig groups. This includes feeders, waterers and all other equipment.
  • Limit pig commingling within a site as much as possible.

Disease Strategies

Vaccinations – Successful vaccination depends on targeted use of vaccines at the right time for the right health concern.

  • Use diagnostics to confirm health issues.
  • A vaccination program customized to your herd can help control and prevent disease.
  • Administer the vaccine as outlined on the label.
  • Store and handle vaccines correctly to ensure viability.

Environment – Provide the proper environment for the animals’ age, weight and stocking density.

  • Adjust ventilation systems to manage gases and humidity levels and to provide fresh air.
  • Manage barn temperatures to meet pigs’ needs.
  • Eliminate drafts.

Management – Consider whether making certain management changes would further reduce the need for antibiotic use.

  • Wean pigs at an appropriate age for the production system. The appropriate weaning age will vary between production systems because differences exist in genetics, management, health status, nutrition programs and housing environments.

Feed additives – So far, no antimicrobial alternative has proven as universally effective as antibiotics alone. Evaluate each alternative with your veterinarian for the application in question. As always, read and follow all label directions for any additives.

  • Acidifiers, probiotics, essential oils may be options.
  • Active proteins may help in young animals.
  • Zinc and copper, which have antimicrobial properties, may be considered for swine.

Other Disease Strategies – A veterinarian can work to develop strategies to minimize disease risk through pig flows, herd health monitoring, disease surveillance and appropriate diagnostics.

  • Work closely with your veterinarian to see where any of these other strategies can help manage overall pig health.

Don’t forget about your farm employees, talk to them today about what lies ahead.


vet-listDid You Know?

One Health Umbrella: Shared Responsibility, Opportunity to Combat Antibiotic Resistance
Because antibiotic resistance is a global concern, the worldwide “One Health” approach to combat antibiotic resistance is critical to human and animal health. This is a collaborative effort of multiple stakeholders to attain optimal health for people, domestic animals, wildlife, plants and the environment. Medical doctors and patients, veterinarians and farmers, along with government, academia and industry stakeholders, are cooperating. Pork producers play an important role in the shared effort to use antibiotics responsibly to help minimize the potential emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In the end, this comprehensive and inclusive approach will create a win-win by protecting human and animal health.

To stay informed on the VFD and related regulations, bookmark,
home of the Pork Checkoff’s Antibiotics Resource Center on your computer or smart phone.