Monday, October 22, 2012

October 2012

Many of you will get this in your email box in the next few days. Until then you can read it here.
Why we do what we do
Almost every week we get phone calls and notes from our customers. Our favorites are ones like the two that I have copied.  

One of our goals is to make products that not only help the best elite feeders get the most out of the pigs they are feeding but also help average and even novice feeders have a more enjoyable experience. 

These letters come from average families that have a show pig project. 

They also have dance recitals, ball games, track meets, and a hundred other things going on. These families don’t eat on a regular schedule and neither do their show pigs. With all the rides needed Mom’s taxi cannot run on a regular schedule that gets them to the pig barn at the same time every day. 

The teens that feed these pigs are incredibly adept at detecting subtle differences in the text messages their friends send but they might be a bit distracted when it comes to noticing subtle differences in their pig from day to day. 

We are talking about the effects of TrueGlo on muscle in this issue of our newsletter and that is important and the increased drive your pigs will make your show ring experience much better.

The features of TrueGlo that make pigs eat and keeps them eating are threefold. First, the flavoring agents we use have a very pleasant odor and it will bring pigs to the feeder to investigate as soon as you top-dress it. Then over the long haul the probiotics, yeast, and MOS in TrueGlo stimulate a healthy appetite and a healthy digestive system. It is because of that healthy digestive system that pigs stay on feed when the inevitable inconsistent feeding schedule happens.  Last the beta glucans in TrueGlo stimulate the immune system, which helps keep them on an even keel with fewer subtle day-to-day differences for teen feeders to notice or not notice. 

“Thank You,
My daughter used your product all season on her market hog,…
The judge said she brought her in absolutely perfect, there was nothing he would have done differently feeding, fit or nutrition wise, and congratulated my daughter on a "perfect "job.
That was the only pig he said that about at the show.
Our pigs looked healthy, fresh and vibrant.
Thanks to you and your product, we had a a very successful 4 H year .”

“Thank You As soon as we started top dressing the TrueGlo product both of our finicky eaters went right to the feeder and they never missed another feeding all year.
They both made weight and when you told me they would 3 months ago I thought you were out of your mind. Thanks again we never had as much fun feeding pigs as we did this year!”

Better experiences like these for great kids and families is why we do what we do. Give us a call we’d love to play a small role making your project more fun and successful.


If you have questions please call us at 888.603.2459
Or send me an email at

The Skinny on Muscle
Muscle! Muscle! Muscle!

Whether you show cattle, hogs, sheep or goats you want more muscle and you need the right kind of muscle to get into the champion drive.

This is how TrueGlo can help muscle work better and  get more of the right kind of muscle.

Warning Science Content!

I'm sorry in advance but to understand the issue we are going to have to get our geek on for a bit..

Skeletal muscle contains two general types of muscle fibers. Type 1 also called slow twitch muscle fiber are the fibers that are slow to fatigue and important if you are a long distance runner. Type 2 are called fast twitch they fatigue quickly and produce lactic acid and are important for sprinters.

In the early part of exercise the fast twitch muscles are the most active and as lactic acid starts to build up you feel the "burn" and the slow twitch fibers take over. 

If you do long durations of exercise consistently your muscles begin to favor the Type 1 slow twitch fibers. There is nothing wrong with that but it does not work well for show stock.

Think about it this way if the exercise program favors the Type 2 fast twitch muscles you or your livestock will have a look closer to an NFL running back.

If your exercise program favors the Type 1 slow twitch muscles the end result looks more like a marathon runner.

Obviously the look we are after in all species of show stock is a lot closer to the running back than the marathon runner.

So what does this have to do with TrueGlo?

The octacosanol in TrueGlo does two things to help you get the look and the performance you want. First, octacosanol improves the ability of the muscle to metabolize and get rid of the lactic acid. Lactic acid is what causes the "burn" you feel when you exercise and it is what feeds the Type 1 muscle fibers.

Getting rid of the lactic acid increases the amount of time your stock can exercise before activating the Type 1 fibers.

The second benefit is by improving the muscle fiber metabolic activity endurance is greatly increased. That means your lamb, goat, calf or hog is going to drive flat out longer than the competition.

Those are the reasons that octacosanol is one of a handful of performance supplements that are listed in the US Navy Seal Fitness Manual. The Navy Seals use it because it works and it will give you the competitive edge in the show ring.

TrueGlo provides the precise calibrated daily dose of octacosanol to get you in the champion drive.

Order Your TrueGlo Here or Ask your local feed supplier to carry TrueGlo.

Features and Benefits of TrueGlo
  •  Probiotics for Improved Digestive Health and Better Appetite
  •  Prebiotics for Improved Digestive Immunity
  •  β Glucan Polysaccharides for Improved General Immunity
  •  Octacosanol for Improved Muscle Development and Endurance
  •  Combination of Palatable ingredients for Improved Appetite
  •  All Natural So There is No Withdrawal

Congratulations to True North customer Diamond V Show Pigs on their Champion Crossbred boar at the National Swine Registry Summer Type Conference in Louisville this summer.

If you have question please call us at 888.603.2459
Or send me an email at

Dosage Math

Medication Labels are confusing. Sometimes after reading one, I stand there and scratch my head wondering what in the world were these people trying to communicate?
 It should not be a surprise they are not clear. After all, they were written by research scientists and then edited by lawyers and FDA bureaucrats.  Maybe the miracle is that we can make sense out of them at all.
Add to that the language of mg/lb, mg/ml, cc, % and it is easy to get confused.
I hope that this will help you decipher the gibberish and give the pigs the right dose.
The good news is that new products like Draxxin have dosage charts right on the label which makes it pretty straightforward to figure out how much to give.

The bad news is that for most older products it is just too expensive to update the labels. As silly as it seems if Pfizer said they wanted to make the LA 200 label as clear as the Draxxin label FDA would make them go through almost as much hassle as if LA200 were a brand new drug.
So let’s go through some of the terms and math and conversions.  
One of the most common things that people ask is, “What is the difference between a cc and an ml?” The two are the same. The abbreviation ml stands for milliliter or 1/1000th of a liter and cc stands for cubic centimeter. A cc and an ml of water both weigh 1 gram. Just use the two abbreviations interchangeably.
So to determine how many cc’s to give the animal you need to know three things:
1.       The weight of the animal
2.       The concentration of the drug
3.       The recommended dosage per lb or kg.
Drug concentration is either expressed as IU /ml, mg/ml, or as a percentage.  IU stands for international unit and I think penicillin is the only thing that is still measured in IU’s. The abbreviation mg stands for milligram and is 1/1000th of a gram. For medications that express their concentration as a percentage are usually water medications but if you want to convert percent to mg/ml it is easy as pie. Just convert the percent to a number and then move the decimal three places to the right. So a 1% solution is a concentration of 10 mg/ml.
Most medications will say the recommended dosage as mg/lb but a few still use mg/kg. There are 2.2 lbs in a kilogram so to convert a mg/kg dose to mg/lb just divide by 2.2.   
So as an example let’s say we want to give a 180 pound pig a dose of LA 200. The LA 200 bottle has two doses listed:
A.      9 mg/lb if we want to give one shot that is therapeutic for three days or
B.      3-5 mg/lb repeated daily.
We are going to give this pig the 9 mg/lb dose so we don’t have to repeat it.
The Math:  9 mg/lb multiplied by 180 lbs = 1,620 mg, which is the total dose for the pig. LA 200 is 200 mg/ml so 1,620 mg divided by 200 mg/ml = 8.1 ml  
Remember only 5 ml per injection site. 

Show Pig Vaccination Schedule

A common question I get asked is “What should we vaccinate our pigs for and when should we do it? “  The answer really depends on your situation and how much risk you bear because of your location, show schedule, and  your  biosecurity protocols.
Before we get to the vaccine schedule, I’d like to talk about vaccines and vaccine handling a bit.  
I’m going to limit this discussion to vaccines administered by injection and leave the ones delivered by water out of the discussion for now.  There are basically two kinds of vaccine we use in pigs today. The first is modified live virus or MLV and the second are killed.
Vaccines themselves
The most common MLV is probably PRRS vaccine. It comes with two bottles one contains the dried modified live virus and the other a diluent to rehydrate it. Because these vaccines are live they must be administered quickly after rehydration and you need to avoid exposing it to disinfectants in your syringe. When you administer this to a pig the virus replicates just like an natural infection and the pig develops immunity just like it would to a natural infection. Because the virus is modified it doesn’t actually make the pig sick. PRRS vaccines are all live because in order to be effective they have to stimulate what is called cell mediated immunity. The only way we know how to get cell mediated immunity is with an MLV or natural infection. That is why all the killed PRRS vaccines are useless and the companies that marketed them commercially have all discontinued.
Killed vaccines are a little more complicated. Because the viruses or bacteria do not replicate the vaccine has to stimulate the immune system in other ways to get an immune response.  So in addition to the antigen itself the vaccine contains a carrier and an adjuvant. The adjuvant stimulates the immune system to process the antigen and develop immunity. Killed vaccines also tend to contain fairly large amounts of the antigen itself which also stimulates the immune system.  It is because of the carriers and the adjuvants that mixing killed vaccines together is not a good idea. You can either limit the ability of the immune system to process one or more of the antigens or the “overdose” of adjuvants and different carries will greatly increase the chance of bad reactions which may even kill pigs. There are a few vaccines that are labeled to be mixed together.
Vaccine Handling
Everything you need to know about vaccine handling you already know if you know how to handle beer. The cardinal rule is don’t do anything to a vaccine that you would not do to your beer.  Here are a few examples.
You know that letting beer sit in the sun makes it go bad so protect your vaccines from light as well.
You know that if you let beer get warm and then cooling it again will make it skunky. It does the same for vaccines.
Warming a beer up before you drink it doesn’t make for the best experience and it doesn’t do vaccine any good at all.
You wouldn’t mix Sam Adams and Budweiser together before you drank them so why would you mix vaccines?
You wouldn’t open a beer, drink half of it, and then let the other half sit in the frig for a month before you finish it so don’t do that with your vaccine either.
Vaccination Schedules
There are two theories for a vaccination schedule. The first is to do the bare minimum and then deal with problems as they arise. We’ll call that the “Chevy plan” The second is to vaccinate for everything under the sun in hopes of preventing trouble down the road.  We’ll call that the “Cadillac plan.” Whichever philosophy you pick there are still options that you’ll have to decide. It really is just like buying a car.
 Which one you choose depends on how much risk you have in your area and how much risk you assume by the lifestyle your pigs lead.
If you live in an area with a low pig population and attend a terminal show at the end of your season then a chevy plan probably makes sense. However, if you live in a pig dense area or your show pigs live more of a jet set lifestyle going to numerous jackpot shows all season you probably should consider a Cadillac plan.  Talk to your veterinarian about your particular situation and decide which philosophy to take and then which options you want to include.
We live in a pig dense area and we do attend a few jackpot shows and bring gilts home from breeding shows so we have opted for more of a Cadillac plan. I will show you our schedule and mark what I think should be included at a minimum in a Chevy plan by putting an asterisk beside them. 
Gilts Pre Breeding:
PRRS ( We use PRRS pre-breeding in gilts because we are in a very pig dense area and have potentially positive finishers that are close to our farm so we have some risk of area spread.  You should consult with your veterinarian about your risk of PRRS and develop a plan based on their recommendation.)
 * Parvo Lepto Erysipelas at least 6 Weeks prior to Breeding
Mycoplacsma and Circovirus 6 Weeks prior to Breeding
*Parvo, Lepto, Erysipelas  2 Weeks Prior to Breeding 
 Sows Pre Breeding:
*Parvo Lepto, Erysipelas  @ weaning
Prefarrow Gilts and Sows:
*E. coli, Clostridium  5 and 2 weeks Prefarrow for Gilts Sows just need one dose 2 weeks Prefarrow. 
Weaning *Rhinitis Erysipelas Combination Plus Parasuis, (In a minimal program you may choose to not include parasuis)
10 days after weaning : Mycoplasma and Circovirus , Influenza,
8-10 weeks of age  *Erysipelas