A pig with a cough is not a happy creature. Anything that causes irritation to the respiratory tract of your pigs can cause them to cough. Viral, bacterial or parasitic respiratory infections are the main causes of most coughs. But, non-infectious irritants such as inhaled dust, poor air quality or allergies can also coughing.
One of the keys to solving a coughing pig problem is controlling Enzootic Pneumonia caused by a bacterium called Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (MH).
What makes a pig cough
A pig has cells that look like hairs in its lungs. These “hair like” cells beat rhythmically to sweep the bacteria, mucus, viruses and dust out of the airways. What the MH bacteria do is stick the “hair like” cells together in clumps so they can’t beat properly. Therefore, when a pig breathes in a new disease or has mucus, it doesn’t get swept out straight away. This then makes the pig cough, and when it coughs it doesn’t eat as much, and it doesn’t grow as much.
This is why it’s important to control MH. If you can control it, you help control coughing. And, the best way though difficult way to completely get rid of MH is to do an expensive medicated eradication program or depopulate your unit. The next best option is an effective vaccination. A good vaccination programme can help reduce lung damage caused by MH and also reduces coughing.
Administer an MH vaccination programme
1. Choose a good MH vaccine
2. Ensure your cold chain is reliable (delivery, fridge for storage etc.)
3. Follow vaccine datasheet: appropriate temperature, time of vaccination, dose etc.
4. Ensure vaccinating staff have a good technique – make sure EVERY pig is getting its FULL dose!