Quicker diagnosis of E.coli looks possible says IDT specialist

A quicker, easier and possibly cheaper, method of diagnosing oedema disease in pigs may be possible in the future, IDT Biologika veterinarian, Dr Verena Gotter, recently told international veterinary leaders meeting in Ireland.

She reported that promising results have already been achieved during a pilot study based on 20 pigs from 14 farms, in which faecal swabs were subjected to the PCR test and compared with the results from samples taken from the brain, spinal cord and intestine. The challenge now is to see if the results hold up when tested on a larger scale.

“Taking PCR tests from faeces could make the analysis of the disease quicker and less expensive because the piglets would not have to be submitted to a post-mortem examination anymore,” said Dr Gotter (pictured above). “The test is not 100% accurate, but neither are the current ones.”

She did add, however, that while the initial results were promising they should not be over-estimated and that further studies involving more pigs should be carried out.

Oedema disease is one of the main causes of mortality in weaned pigs, being caused by shiga toxin-producing E. coli which is difficult to diagnose on the farm.

Dr Gotter was addressing the International Pig Veterinary Society/European Symposium of Porcine Health Management meeting in Dublin.

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