Away with worms

Worm infections often go unnoticed as they don’t necessarily produce the clinical signs or dire mortality that are often associated with viral or bacterial diseases. However, these parasites can be equally damaging to pig performance and business efficiency.

A new in-water medication, Panacur AquaSol from MSD Animal Health, offers pig producers greater flexibility to tackle worms. This proven benzimidazole anthelmintic, administered via drinking water, has a short withdrawal period of four days and a short duration of treatment – two days for roundworm (Ascaris Suum) and three days for whipworm (Trichuris suis).

This offers a total of six or seven days between starting the treatment and the end of the withdrawal period, enabling finishing pigs to be treated strategically toward the latter end of production, while breeding units can market cull sows soon after treatment, which could represent a cost saving of approximately £8/sow compared with using an alternative treatment.

Research has shown that Ascaris infestation, even at sub-clinical levels, can reduce the average daily liveweight gain of finishing pigs by between 80-200g and cut FCR by 0.17. This can represent a cost £1.80/pig. This reduction in performance is a result of the pig’s strong, natural, physiological reaction to expel the worms – the pigs’ gut movements increase and excess mucous is secreted in the intestines.

Severe Trichuris infestation in growing pigs may reduce their performance by as much as 15% between 30kg and 100kg. This can equate to a loss of 120g/day or an additional 16 days to slaughter weight.

Panacur AquaSol is also effective against Oesophagostomum infestations that can increase the feed required to maintain a sow’s body condition and productivity by up to 10% or 120kg feed a year.

When you consider the many ways that worms can impact on pig health and performance, it is fair to assume that these parasites could be costing the average pig unit between £5-8/pig.

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