It seems like there's a million different vaccines out there for pigs, but only a few that are regularly used because of the obvious benefits they provide producers. Let's take a few minutes to talk about the five most regularly used vaccines, the diseases they protect against and when to administer them.
Remember to follow your vaccine's label instructions as far as what type of injection it requires, do not mix your vaccines, never vaccinate a sick or recovering pig and never inject the hams. Intramuscular injections should be in the neck and subcutaneous injections should be behind the ear, behind the foreleg or in front of the rear leg.
- E. coli doesn't require much introduction. This lower digestive tract bacteria can cause scours in piglets. Vaccinate the gilt twice or the sow once three weeks before farrowing so they can pass on immunity to their piglets, then vaccinate the piglets a week before weaning.
- Atrophic rhinitis is caused by Pasteurella multocida types A and D and Bordetella bronchiseptica. These organisms cause the snout to deviate and increases the incidents of respiratory illnesses on a farm. Vaccinate the gilt twice or the sow once before farrowing to pass on immunity to the piglets, then vaccinate the piglets once or (more usually) twice before weaning. If the sow or gilt has not been vaccinated, the piglet's first vaccine should be at one week of age.
- Leptospirosis is a bacteria group that can cause abortions, so you'll want to vaccinate before breeding. The varieties you'll want to vaccinate against include L. pomona, L. grippotyphosa, L. canicola, L. icterohaemorrhagiae and L. hardjo. Vaccinate your boars twice annually, your sows between weaning a litter and the next breeding cycle and your gilts twice before breeding. This bacteria can also cause non-reproductive illnesses in humans, so handle it with care.
- Parvovirus can cause reproductive problems by causing embryonic and fetal death as well as fetal mummification. You should vaccinate your boards twice a year, your sows between weaning a litter and breeding and gilts twice before breeding.
Image courtesy of Edward Headington.
- Erysipelas is a bane among pig producers. The bacteria Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae can spread through a pig's entire body, leaving them with fever, arthritis, suffering from heart problems, miscarrying piglets and retarding their growth. At least one variety can cause skin issues as well. Vaccinate feeder pigs once when you get them if there is no vaccination record, boars twice a year, sows after weaning their young and before breeding and gilts twice before breeding. If the sow or gilt hasn't been vaccinated, vaccinate the piglets at one week of age.