Successfully reducing salmonella in the herd
Whereas salmonella makes humans very ill, an infection is not generally noticeable in pigs. Therefore, it usually only comes to light from the abattoir analysis results that there was a high level of infection or that salmonella had unexpectedly entered the farm. At which point, it is important to act quickly and take a strategic approach.
Determining the point of entry
There are myriad ways in which salmonella can enter into a herd. The most common entry point is through rodents. Dogs and cats can also excrete salmonella and infect pigs. Piglets themselves can carry the bacteria with them from the rearing shed through to the fattening shed, as can any humans who enter the farm buildings. In rare cases, protein feeds such as soybean or rapeseed meal can be polluted with salmonella and become an entry point.
There are various approaches to reducing the salmonella infection rate via feeding. A coarse feed structure can considerably reduce salmonella infections in the mouth as well as those further downstream in the large intestine. Firstly, the stomach barrier is strengthened so that any salmonella consumed orally is destroyed in the stomach. Secondly, additional butyric acid is formed in the appendix, which is where salmonella accumulates. The butyric acid then sets to work on the salmonella to prevent it from attaching itself to the intestinal mucosa and infecting the pig.
Applying SCHAUMACID S also supports the stomach barrier. Furthermore, it cleanses the feed, thus preventing an infection caused by faeces-contaminated feed. The goal is to break the cycle of oral ingestion followed by excretion via the faeces followed by oral reinfection.
Pest control, cleaning and disinfection
Rodents are not only a point of infection and a reservoir for salmonella. In the same way as flies, they spread the salmonella freely among the entire herd. Although cleaning and disinfecting sheds between each rotation is obvious, thoroughly disinfecting all parts of the building beyond just the cubicles and pens as part of effective salmonella control measures is imperative. This includes side rooms, fixtures and fittings, equipment, feed dispensers and troughs as well as poorly accessible places such as the underside of slatted floors.
Verifying hygiene management
As part of salmonella prophylaxis, carrying out spot checks on any animals bought in should become routine, in addition to strict partitioning.
If the rate of salmonella infection in a herd is effectively reduced via the described measures, a successful result will be detected in antibody test results within a maximum of 8–10 weeks. Depending on the initial value, this time frame varies because the concentration of antibodies only halves after approx. 8 weeks.