As an exhibitor, you can play a huge role in the pork industry. Just as you take each step to ensure your show pig remains healthy, you share the responsibility of making sure all pigs, show pig or not, stay in the best of health. With over 1 million pigs involved in the show industry in our country, we all must do our part in supporting swine health and biosecurity.
Biosecurity is a term used to reduce the risk of diseases being transmitted through a variety of factors including people, animals, equipment, and/or vehicles. With pigs being susceptible to disease, it is important to follow biosecurity practices to protect your show projects. Follow along as we share a few tips and tricks on how to protect your pigs and others this show season.
Diseases can be transmitted easily if we are not being diligent.
The most common transmission types include:
- Contact Transmission – nose-to-nose contact with other pigs that leads to infection.
- Aerosol Transmission – exposure through coughing, sneezing, and dust from infected pigs.
- Fecal Transmission – infected manure or bedding.
The transmission risks don’t end here. Indirect transmission can include any dirty objects used with a sick pig such as brushes, spray bottles, trailers, and more. Although there are many risk factors for spreading disease, there are general practices of biosecurity that can be implemented.
Before the Show
Before attending any show, be sure you are prepared to always protect your pig’s health. A good rule of thumb would be to document all of your pig’s treatments and vaccinations. Be sure to work with your veterinarian to determine if any vaccinations are necessary. In addition, only take clean and properly disinfected equipment to the show. Ensure you have adequate supplies needed for the duration of the show, so you do not have to borrow from others.
Most importantly, only take healthy pigs to a show to minimize the risk of a disease outbreak. If your pigs is not eating normally, coughing, having trouble breathing, or showing any disease symptoms, it is in the best interest of your pig and others to reconsider exposing the pig elsewhere.
During the Show
While at the show, continue to monitor your pig for any signs of illness. If you suspect your pig may be sick, inform the veterinarian on site as soon as possible. Wash your hands before coming into contact with pigs or equipment.
After the Show
Once you return home from any show, try to isolate the pig exposed as much as possible. During the isolation process, you have the chance to monitor your animal to see if it shows any signs of disease. Be sure to wear different shoes and clothing from each barn, as well as those that you wore at the show.
Cleaning and disinfecting play a vital role in reducing the risk of your pigs getting sick. Before loading your trailer with pigs again, be sure to remove all bedding/manure and equipment from the trailer and clean thoroughly.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Show boxes and equipment
When disinfecting your trailer, barns, and equipment, be sure to properly apply the disinfectant according to its instructions. After this process, allow the equipment to fully dry using sunlight or a heat source to kill the remaining pathogens.
In addition, reduce exposure to other people. If visitors need to attend your farm, supply clean boots or plastic boot covers. All visitors need to wear clean clothing and wash their hands before stepping foot in your barn. When your visitors are leaving, ask them to remove their plastic boot covers and place in a garbage bag. Then make sure to dispose of them in a designated location or away from clean supplies. If you supply visitors with clean boots, make sure to disinfect those boots after each visit. Everyone should clean their hands with sanitizer or wipes before entering the vehicle.
Taking the necessary precautions is important right now to protect the health of our industry. While it may be simple to just rid the pens of shavings, disinfect your barns, and more, it can play a vital role in ensuring the health of the pork industry.