Photo Eric Guillot
Parasites are an important cause of reduced productivity in grower pigs and breeding herds. Sarcoptes scabiei var suis, the mite responsible for sarcoptic mange (scabies) in swine, affects the majority of herds throughout the world, suppressing growth rate and feed efficiency in growing pigs.
The majority of studies demonstrate declines in growth rate of between 4.5% and 12%. Studies also show that improved mange control will reduce piglet mortality (Forgues et al, 1988) and increase weaning weights (Arends et al, 1990; Dalton and Ryan, 1988). Following prefarrowing treatment of sows, feed utilisation efficiency also improved. Other economic effects of sarcoptic mange include downgrading and trimming of carcasses at slaughter and damage to pens and fixtures caused by rubbing pigs.
Although sarcoptic mange is the most important parasitic disease of swine, lice and worms also can reduce performance of pig herds. The sucking louse (Haematopinus suis) causes irritation, blood loss, and loss of productivity.
The economic importance of sucking lice has not been critically evaluated to the same extent as mange, but heavy infestations will result in anaemia in young pigs and may affect growth rate and feed efficiency.
Worms also affect productivity. Ascaris suum, the large roundworm, is the most common internal parasite of pigs.
Clinical signs of infection include diarrhoea and anaemia.
Although worms may kill, loss of appetite, reduction in rate of daily gain, poor feed utilisation, and secondary infection by other pathogens are the most common results of parasitism. The damage caused by the migration or presence of roundworms also can result in liver condemnation and increased trim losses. (Corwin and Stewart 1999). However, even if infection is not obvious, parasites can still significantly reduce swine productivity.
A Breakthrough in Parasite Control
In 1975, scientists discovered a soil-dwelling organism, Streptomyces avermitilis, which produced highly active antiparasitic compounds. The discovery triggered years of intense scientific activity that resulted in the development of ivermectin, the first compound of the avermectin/milbemycin class, and, eventually, in the introduction of IVOMEC. IVOMEC was the first product that controlled endo- and ectoparasites — a unique feature that gave rise to the term 'endectocide'. Compared to other antiparasitics, IVOMEC offered a breakthrough in efficacy, safety, spectrum and convenience at a dose that was a fraction of that of earlier compounds.
The launch of IVOMEC had an immediate impact on mange control in pigs. Prior to the introduction of IVOMEC, producers relied primarily on topical acaricides to control sarcoptic mange. These sprays achieved variable results, were stressful to pigs, time consuming to apply, required frequent retreatment and posed safety hazards to animals, handlers, and the environment. In contrast, IVOMEC offered unprecedented potency, an excellent safety margin, convenient administration, a novel mode of action and an unparalleled spectrum. These characteristics quickly made IVOMEC the treatment of choice for arthropod and nematode parasitism in pigs and other species, including, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses (Benz et al, 1989; Campbell et al, 1983; Campbell and Benz, 1984).
To date, more than 5 billion doses have been given worldwide, including more than 600 million doses for swine.
The leap ahead made by IVOMEC remains unsurpassed — no compound has been found that improves on the product’s low dose (Shoop et al, 1995). Despite imitator endectocides, IVOMEC continues to be the most widely used and trusted brand in the history of animal health. Ivermectin, the active ingredient of IVOMEC, has also revolutionised parasite control in humans. More than 110 million doses have been given to people to combat river blindness, reflecting the compound’s excellent safety profile.
Ivermectin is now registered for use in 13 mammalian species and in 90 countries. More than 3,000 scientific publications show ivermectin’s efficacy against 190 internal and 120 external parasites. IVOMEC is available in a range of patented, user-friendly formulations. For swine, these include: IVOMEC 1% Injection, IVOMEC 0.27% Injection (a dilute formulation developed to facilitate more accurate dosing of piglets) and IVOMEC Premix, an in-feed formulation for grower and breeding pigs.
The Weight of Evidence
Since the launch of IVOMEC, work has progressed to show how each formulation may be used to improve the profitability of pig production. Global trials focusing on various types of swine operations have proved that parasite control with IVOMEC can lead to increased body weight gain, faster growth to market weight, better sow productivity and improved performance in fattening pigs. Even where there was a low parasite challenge, trials demonstrated that productivity enhancement from parasite control with IVOMEC increased profitability.
The results of the efficacy/productivity trials and mange control and eradication programs described in this publication by recognised experts in swine parasitology, show why IVOMEC remains the gold standard in parasite control. See for yourself the production benefits that IVOMEC brings.
Mange mites (Sarcoptes scabiei var suis) are responsible for sarcoptic mange, the most important parasitic disease of swine, suppressing growth rate and feed efficiency in swine herds throughout the world.
Large round worms (Ascaris suum) are the most significant swine endoparasites, causing extensive conomic losses due to morbidity, mortality and condemnation of livers.
Our sincere thanks go to the renowned scientists who contributed their work to this publication. We hope that their informative articles, supported by research which has advanced our knowledge of swine parasite control and eradication, will benefit swine producers worldwide.