Mitch Christensen is Chief Veterinary Officer and leads Topigs Norsvin Global Veterinary Services team. The veterinary team develop and strengthen the health, diagnostic monitoring, and biosecurity plans of nucleus, multiplier, and boar stud farms. They provide vital support for our customers and partners.
Mitch’s tips to reduce the use of antibiotics in production
- Strengthen biosecurity.
Poor biosecurity will result in the introduction of new pathogens like PRRS, M. hyopneumoniae, APP, etc. These new health challenges often result in the need for increased antibiotic usage. Stay proactive and prevent the entry through good biosecurity.
- Maximize colostrum intake in all piglets.
Colostrum is critical to getting the piglet the antibodies it needs to thrive. Implement procedures that maximize colostrum intake like split suckling. Marking pigs that are visually seen suckling can also help target assistance to the pigs that need extra assistance.
- Discontinue standard whole herd treatments.
Standard herd medications often hide the root problem. Spend time investigating and implementing solutions that decrease the need for treatment (internal biosecurity, all-in all-out, feeding strategies, improved sanitation, etc.)
- Tailormade vaccination programs.
Every farm is different so the same vaccine program will not work with every herd. Having your herd veterinarian perform necropsies, serologic investigations, and slaughter checks are ways to identify the predominate pathogens challenging your pigs.
- Improve gilt acclimation.
Internally produced gilts are ideal for matching the immune status of your herd. However, when there is a need for introducing external gilts, proper acclimatization and a cool-down period are necessary to balance the health status in the sow herd. Maintaining this balance can help prevent vertical transmission downstream and the quality of colostrum is optimized.