Increasing numbers of Brazil’s pig producers are turning to disease diagnostics to get a better understanding of pig health and drive their herds’ productivity, according to an expert in swine health.
Daniel Linhares, professor at Iowa State University’s department of veterinary medicine, says more and more producers are seeing the value of understanding the specific diseases they have in their systems to help and treat them more effectively.
In an interview with ThePigSite, Linhares says Brazil doesn’t have diseases seen in other parts of the world, such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).
However, the country’s producers do need to manage swine bacterial diseases, influenza and porcine circovirus to help boost herd health and productivity, which has led to a growing demand for diagnostics.
Tackling disease effectively
“Over the past five years, there has been a growing demand for diagnostics as producers have seen the value of understanding what specific diseases they have,” he says.
“So it’s not only if diagnostic tests are positive or negative, but also typing and subtyping of mycoplasma or flu or bacteria. There’s a growing need for diagnostics.”
Linhares says a combination of serology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic tests are identifying shedding patterns in diseases such as Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (porcine enzootic pneumonia), helping producers tackle them more effectively.
“[The diagnostics help] us understand when mycoplasma is gaining momentum, or when zero conversion is going on and when active disease is going on, which helps to strategically position vaccinations strategies and also antibiotics,” he says.
“We want to reduce antibiotic use, so if you know — based on diagnostic evidence — when the disease is gaining momentum, we go strategically a week or 10 days in advance and position our health control interventions right there.
“There are still opportunities for improvements,” he adds. “But there is good work being done to apply the knowledge we have gained from disease monitoring the best that we can.”