Hog producers urged to halt plasma feed

Despite the clear link between feed and early cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea in Ontario, some producers are still feeding porcine plasma to young piglets.

Of the roughly 80 producers on a June 26 Alberta Pork PED conference call, 10 said they were still feeding some form of porcine protein plasma to their young animals.

Egan Brockhoff, a veterinarian with Prairie Swine Health Services and a member of the National Task Force For PED Elimination, said producers should stop doing that.

The initial cases of PED in Ontario were traced to feed containing the virus, he said.

“The research was very conclusive that plasma was the source.”

Veterinarians have petitioned the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to stop allowing pork plasma, blood cells or meat and bone meal to be fed back to pigs.

“I know the veterinary community has supported putting continued pressure on the government to stop feeding same species to same species,” said Brockhoff.

“I am very happy to say all my producers I work with, not a single one is feeding pork protein.”

Doug MacDougald, a veterinarian with South West Ontario Veterinary Services who has dealt with some of the PED outbreaks in Ontario, said he too has advised farmers to stop feeding porcine protein products.

“Our position is very clear that we will not support feeding porcine or protein products in feed,” he said.

Brockhoff said it’s clear as he travels across the country talking to producers that some of them are still feeding porcine plasma to piglets as part of their initial starter ration.

Porcine plasma is believed to give the young animals a readily available, highly digestible protein.

Feeding porcine plasma is still a common practice in the United States, where 75 percent of the sow herd is infected with PED. Canadian producers need to be aware of the potential source of infection.

“If you have porcine protein in your feed, it has to be considered a live animal,” said Brockhoff.

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