Over the past couple months we have been receiving several calls a day from show pig feeders regarding scours. In almost all cases the description of the symptoms is very typical of ileitis.
Ileitis is caused by a very common pathogen Lawsonia intracellularis. In the acute form of the disease we will see scours with or without unclotted blood and even sudden death. In the more chronic form we see sporadic scours and poor growth performance. You can also see pigs that have severe lesions in their intestine without much of any outward clinical signs. This is a performance robbing disease that can keep pigs from making their ideal weight and the risk of sudden death in high value show pigs is more than enough reason to pay attention.
This fact sheet from Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!) gives a more detailed explanation of the disease.
It is pretty clear that the antibiotics that used to be ubiquitous in show feeds kept ileitis at bay. With the advent of VFD rules and feed manufacturers removing antibiotics from their "floor stock" show feeds it has reared its ugly head with a vengeance. Without that management tool show pig feeders are going to have to manage this disease much more carefully and be prepared to treat it individually and via in the water. Tylan 200 injection 1 cc per 50 lbs twice a day followed by water soluble Tylan or Denagard are products we commonly use. Using Tylan 200 to treat ileitis is extra label so consult with your veterinarian.
Here are links to those products.
There have been numerous studies that suggest essential oils from garlic, rosemary, and oregano like the ones in our TrueCOOL product have some antimicrobial benefit and may help manage enteric diseases like ileitis. Reports from customers that use TrueCOOL are also encouraging.
You can learn more about TrueCOOL here:
Show pig breeders should think about using vaccine to help their customers control the disease. There is either a live oral vaccine or an injectable vaccine that can be administered to pigs 3 weeks of age or older. If you use the oral vaccine pigs need to be off all antibiotics for 7 days with vaccination happening on day 4. So it requires some planning but then it can be administer via the drinking water or individually dosed. The injectable vaccine has a long duration of protection and does not require withdrawing antibiotics. But has the downside of a significant percentage of pigs developing injection site lesions. The lesions are temporary and do not usually require any treatment but may be an appearance issue when selling young show pigs.
Here are links to BI's and Merck's vaccine