NEWS ▶▶▶ Piau pigs keep FCR during heat stress

A group of researchers has shown that the Brazilian native purebred Piau pig maintains its feed conversion and has a lower reduction of feed intake under heat stress conditions. That was the conclusion of a study conducted by Brazilian researchers attached to the Uni- versidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri and the Universidade Federal de Viçosa, both in Minas Gerais state. The study was recently published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Thermal Biology and compared this breed’s performance under different environmental circumstances. The Piau pig breed is native to Brazil and is characterised by its adaptability and resist- ance to diseases. Despite consistent study re- garding heat stress effects on pigs, local breeds have had little attention, although they could well reveal adaptation for several conditions such as extreme temperatures. The goal was therefore to understand how the Piau adult animals manage to adapt to high temperatures. That feature is important to learn more about mitigating the negative

Ventilation does not spread MRSA

effects of heat stress on pig welfare, physiology and performance. For the trial, the scientists allocated purebred pigs (65 kg initial weight) to one of two tem- perature conditions for 15 days: thermoneutral (22°C) and heat stress (30°C). Pigs were indi- vidually weighed at the beginning and end of the experimental period. Body and rectal tem- peratures, respiratory rate and blood indicators of stress and metabolism were measured dur- ing the experiment. That way, the researchers could observe and understand the underlying mechanisms of the pigs’ thermotolerance.

Canada follows the EU on zinc oxide

In the near future, Canada will only allow zinc oxide (ZnO) to be added to weaned piglet diets at nutritional levels of 350 ppm. That is similar to the regulations that will be imple- mented in the EU next year. There is no imple- mentation date yet, just the certainty that this will go ahead. Previously, amounts up to 5,000 ppm or higher were allowed in the diet, mainly to prevent diarrhoea. In mid-June the Canadian Food In- spection Agency (CFIA) launched public con- sultation – to gather feedback on the pro- posed regulatory changes – which will finish on 10 September 2021. The CFIA states that “the last comprehensive review of the Feed Regulations took place in 1983. Regulatory changes are needed to keep pace with changes in innovation, risk manage- ment, international standards, science and technology and to develop a modernised risk- and outcome-based regulatory framework for feeds… These changes will better align with international approaches and best practices.

This will enable CFIA and regulated sectors to better understand and manage risks that live- stock feeds pose to animal health, human health and the environment.” The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) will be submit- ting feedback to CFIA about the proposed regu- lations, but CPC national swine health initiative manager Gabriela Guigou noted that her organ- isation has been working on this topic for years, with both CFIA and the Animal Nutrition Associ- ation of Canada. “We understand the govern- ment’s concerns,” she said. “Use of ZnO can result in antimicrobial resistance, similarly to an antibi- otic. There is a concern in Europe about zinc lev- els in the soil but that’s not a concern here.” Until now, ZnO could be used in Canada at lev- els of 2,500–5,000 ppm in the diet, and Guigou noted that it works well as a simple and cost-effective way to prevent diarrhoea in weaned pigs. The other alternative, she said, is to register ZnO as an antimicrobial with a drug identification number, so it can be prescribed by veterinarians.

Danish researchers put ventilation to the test to see if methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) could also spread outside pig houses. The airborne spread of livestock-asso- ciated MRSA (LA-MRSA) through pig house ventilation appears not to be an important source of infection for people outside the pig houses. That was the conclusion of recent Dan- ish research, conducted by scientists from the Statens Serum Institut, the Technical University of Denmark and Aarhus University. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science. MRSA spread among pig producers and farm employees is considered a risk when working with pigs. The Danish scientists researched whether or not MRSA could also spread out- side the pig houses via ventilation systems. Between October and December 2018, the team took air samples from the ventilation system’s outlets as well as the farm’s surround- ings. They compared the results with meteor o- logical data, the pig house’s own bacterio- logical air samples, soil around the farm and nasal samples from individuals participating in the sampling. The scientists wrote that they detected MRSA up to 300 m (the maximal measuring distance) from the swine farm in the air but only at low levels at distances above 50 m (0.085 CFU/m3 at a distance of 50 m in the wind plume). In addition, they detected MRSA in sock samples obtained at the soil surfaces up to 400 m (the maximal measuring distance) from the farm building. The proportion of MR- SA-positive soil samples decreased from roughly 80% to 30% with increasing distance from the farm.


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▶ PIG PROGRESS | Volume 37, No. 7, 2021 41


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