A Population Approach to Diagnosis of Grow-Finish Diarrhea Complex

1999 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Report. Because the growing-finishing phase of pig production accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the total feed costs, improvements in feed efficiency during that period can significantly effect cost-benefit potential. Alimentary tract diseases caused by bacterial agents can significantly impact the capacity of growing-finishing pigs to utilize nutrients. Although disease problems in the poultry industry are most often diagnosed by complete examination of several live animals submitted for necropsy, such an approach is cost prohibitive for growing-finishing pigs. To better control enteric bacterial diseases of growing/finishing pigs, we investigated the value of examining fecal specimens taken front a representative number of potentially exposed or infected pigs for the presence of three major enteric bacterial pathogens. We hypothesized that examining such fecal specimens would provide useful information about a farms bacterial enteric infection status. These results indicated cost-effective control strategies aimed at enteric bacterial diseases on individual farms should be implemented. This approach also could form the basis of a surveillance program for control of bacterial agents with a public health significance.