Zoonotic disease suspected in multiple pigs at U of G lab

Dec 12, 2017

Leptospirosis can spread from animals to humans


By Kaitlynn Anderson

Staff Reporter



Swine producers may want to pay close attention to their herds this winter, as lab technicians identified three suspected cases of Leptospirosis at the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) at the University of Guelph between July and September.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease that can infect both humans and animals, so individuals working with swine should be cautious, according to the Ontario Animal Health Network’s (OAHN) Swine Producer and Industry Report released Friday.

At AHL, the infected sows had late-term abortions or delivered litters of mostly stillborn piglets.

If pork producers witness an elevated level of abortions or stillbirths, they should consider drawing blood samples from multiple fetuses in multiple litters to identify any infections, such as Leptospirosis, the report stated.

For producers who are unsure of which animals to test, AHL can help.

“An entire aborted litter can be frozen and submitted to the lab,” the OAHN report said. “The lab will then select the best samples from the frozen litter.”

If test results confirm that an animal is infected with Leptospirosis, veterinarians may recommend treating swine with oxytetracycline or chlorotetracycline, Christa Arsenault, OAHN swine network co-lead, told Farms.com.

“These antibiotics can be prescribed to be included in the feed to treat a group of animals or as an injectable given to individual animals,” she said. “Treatment can assist with controlling the spread of infection within a swine herd.”

Producers may also want to consider prevention strategies, such as “ensuring that a commercially approved vaccine is given routinely to both gilts and sows at the time of re-breeding,” she said.

“Rodent control is also an important component to the prevention of Leptospirosis.”

Producers can find the contact information for AHL on the University of Guelph website.


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