Free diagnostic testing is being offered by animal health company Elanco to tackle Post Weaning Diarrhoea (PWD) in piglets.
The test identifies the bacterial strain ready for appropriate vaccination. Farmers should access the service through their vet practice, who will then prescribe and advise on the appropriate vaccination if necessary.
“The most viable option for PWD control is vaccination,” says Elanco principal technical adviser Frédéric Vangroenweghe. “But for this to be effective and lead to increased productivity, a positive diagnosis of the cause should be obtained.”
Farmers should request a test from their vet at the first onset of PWD, which typically occurs in the first three weeks after weaning. Apositive test for the F4 or F18 strain of E.coli means the bacteria is likely to remain or increase in future batches of piglets.
To effectively prevent against the disease while promoting gut health, Prof. Vangroenweghe recommends administering the Coliprotec vaccine through drinking water. “This vaccination has been shown to help reduce reliance on antibiotics and should alleviate the requirement of zinc oxide in feed,” he says.
The testing kit can be requested from vets.