Pig ileitis comprises a disease complex with a group of conditions involving pathological changes in the small intestine associated with the intracellular bacterium Lawsonia intracellularis. The organism affects the mucosal epithelium of the small intestine, mostly the ileum and sometimes even the colon, causing hypertrophy with or without haemorrhage.
The disease affects grower and finisher pigs of ages 6 to 20 weeks or older. It usually occurs as a mild, chronic infection with diarrhoea and loss of body weight. The acute haemorrhagic form is less frequent with bloody scours and sudden death. Ileitis exists on most if not all farms.
Lawsonia intracellularis is transmitted from pig to pig by an oral-faecal route. Nursing piglets may be first exposed to the disease via faecal material from the sow. After weaning, the disease may be spread from older, infected pigs to young, susceptible pigs. Once infected with the organism, clinical signs may appear within 10 to 14 days and the organism may be shed in the faeces for weeks. The presence of carrier animals in populations of pigs has been suspected, but this has not been substantiated or characterized. Birds, rodents, and contaminated equipment can also spread the disease.
Distribution of the disease is known to be worldwide. Recent surveys suggest an incidence in Europe/Asia/North America of 25-47 percent, and prevalence rate in affected farms is approximately 20-30 percent of the pig population.
Characteristic symptoms include diarrhoea, poor feed efficiency, weight loss, retarded growth, and increased mortality.
The problem faced with the medications used to treat ileitis is that there is always a withdrawal period, so the pig farmers would have to keep their animals for a longer period of time before they can be sold, and this usually disrupts their schedule or turnover cycle.
The article also discusses about the effectiveness of Orego-Stim on pig ileitis, especially the haemorrhagic form.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Meriden Animal Health.