Small-scale swine disease surveillance project launched in Alberta, Canada

May 27, 2024

“This project is very similar to the Small Flock Disease Investigation Program but is designed to target swine producers, both small-scale domestic and wild boar producers, who have 10 sows or fewer, or who market 100 pigs or fewer per year,” Leanna Grenwich, surveillance veterinarian with the Alberta government, said in a government-issued press release. “The main goal of this project is surveillance and early detection of federally and provincially reportable diseases like African swine fever (ASF), Salmonella, influenza, porcine epidemic diarrhea, swine delta coronavirus and transmissible gastroenteritis and to help veterinarians and producers.”

This project can help producers directly or private veterinarians who refer cases from small-scale swine producers. Not all pigs from small-scale swine herds will be accepted for testing. The herd’s symptoms must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • sudden increase in death
  • sudden increase in abortions (pregnancy loss)
  • illness manifested by septicemia (red to purple discolouration of the ears, abdomen and sometimes legs) leading to death
  • increased number of pigs having diarrhea leading to death
  • increased rate of difficulty in breathing and coughing leading to death

Under this project, only dead pigs will be examined. Whole carcasses will have a post-mortem examination performed and will be tested for ASF, influenza virus, coronaviruses or Salmonella as determined by the attending veterinarian or veterinary pathologist.

Once the post-mortem examination has been performed, the Alberta government veterinary pathologist or an assigned veterinarian will contact the submitter (producer or veterinarian) to provide the findings. A preliminary report will be provided following the post-mortem examination.

“Should the pigs be positive for a reportable or notifiable disease (provincial or federal), our veterinarians will provide information on the disease response required and will work together with the producer or their veterinarian to ensure the appropriate measures are taken,” said Grenwich.

There is no fee for submitting carcasses for testing; however, producers are responsible for the cost of getting the carcasses or samples to a government laboratory. If testing beyond what is offered by the Small-Scale Swine Disease Investigation Project is wanted, then arrangements will need to be made to have samples submitted to a private diagnostic lab at the producer’s expense.

“It is important for producers or veterinarians to contact us first to confirm submission approval before dropping off a carcass. This ensures the circumstances meet the submission criteria and that you have a submission form. In some cases, the location closest to you may not be the location you will be asked to ship the carcasses to,” explained Grenwich.

Source : The Pigsite
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