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Basic Quarantine

C, Zolicani, 03/27/2015

What Are The Purposes Of Quarantine?

  • To prevent transmission of disease from a new pig to a resident pig.
  • To allow for better observation of new pigs.
  • To identify disease, behavioral issues, nutritional issues in new pigs.
  • Quarantine is NOT done to allow pigs to begin socialization by allowing new pigs and resident pigs to get to know one another across a fence.

Which Pigs Need To Be Quarantined?

  • Any pig that is obviously not healthy.
  • Any pig that comes from a wild situation.
  • Any pig that comes from a pig farm (pigs that have fallen off of trucks, for example).
  • Any pig that comes from a questionable home or a herd situation.
  • Any pig that comes from a feed store (because you do not know where the pig originally came from and what its care might have been).
  • Any pig that will be part of a breeding program.
  • Piglets that are being bottle fed should be quarantined because of their poor immune systems. These piglets are less of a danger to your resident pigs – but your resident pigs may be a danger to them.
  • Single pet pigs that are being re-homed from a good situation PROBABLY do not need to be quarantined, especially if they have had veterinary care.
  • Pigs going directly into a foster situation rather than onto a rescue property can be quarantined at the foster house. If the foster house already has pigs, then quarantine measures should be taken (unless the pig has been a single pet with good care in the past).
  • Pigs that are returned to the rescue from a good situation PROBABLY do not need to be quarantined. Pigs coming from a foster home, where they have not been exposed to other pigs, and have been at the home for longer than 14 days, PROBABLY do not need to be quarantined.

How Is Disease Transmitted From a New Pig

  • Direct contact between pigs.
  • Insects, rodents, birds – these do not necessarily suffer from the disease, but do carry organic waste from sick pigs to resident pigs, acting as a source of the disease.
  • People, clothes, shoes, hands. Most disease organisms survive in organic material and soil for a long time (in some cases, years). The most common way that disease is transmitted, other than from direct contact with a sick individual, is from contact with this organic material. Fecal material, contaminated soil, pus, and other discharges cling to clothing, hair, and skin. Failure to change clothes, wash boots, and wash hands and other exposed skin, is a common way that disease is spread from quarantine to resident pigs.
  • Water, food, soil, wind – When contaminated with feces, urine, nasal discharge, and pus from a sick animal can easily transmit the illness to resident pigs.
  • Using a quarantine area for resident pigs when no new pigs are using it. If the quarantine area is not easy to clean and disinfect, then infectious agents can remain in the housing area for a long period of time – and new or resident pigs can become sick when exposed to these agents.
  • Open fencing can lead to direct contact between pigs, drainage of contaminated water into resident areas, wind-blown hay and other food stuffs falling into resident areas, and direct deposits of stool or discharge on the resident side of the fence.

What Does The Ideal Quarantine Area Include?

  • No contact between new pigs and old pigs – no common fencing, a closed area where wind and water cannot carry waste into resident areas. An enclosed building is best, a closed corral also works.
  • No common water source or food source between new and old pigs – left over food is NEVER fed to resident pigs. Buckets, utensil, troughs are not used with quarantined pigs, then used for residents without washing and thorough disinfecting.
  • Easy to clean surfaces – porous surfaces, such as wood, need to be sealed and covered with an easy-to-wash coating. Solid floors, such as concrete, tile or linoleum that can easily be washed. A drain in the floor makes cleaning much easier.
  • Minimal organic material – hay, straw are easily contaminated with waste and are difficult to disinfect – they are good carriers of disease. Fecal material and urine should be removed frequently and disposed of in an area that cannot be reached by resident pigs.
  • Minimal dirt – a floor that is easy to clean, with a drain for easy washing/cleaning.
  • Waste disposal in a safe area – make sure that drainage from the waste dump is kept from resident pigs.
  • Foot bath for disinfecting/washing boots.
  • Changing area to put on coveralls, boots, head cover if appropriate.

What Simple Things Can I Do To Make My Quarantine Work?

  • Disinfect. Bleach is an excellent and cheap disinfectant. 1 tablespoonful of bleach in a gallon of water will kill most viruses and bacteria IF they are not protected by organic material.
  • At least 10 feet between quarantine area and pig pasture
  • Closed building for new pigs if possible (to prevent wind/water contamination)
  • Feed, water, contact new pigs LAST.  Handle new pigs last. Take care of resident pigs first. After they are fed and cared fork, go take care of quarantined pigs. Do not go back to resident pigs without changing clothes, washing boots and hands.
  • Use separate shovels, rakes, etc. for quarantine area.
  • Put on coveralls before handling new pigs. Remove coveralls before handling resident pigs. Use a foot bath with disinfectant to wash boots. Or change clothes and shoes after handling new pigs and before going into resident pig area.
  • Wash all cloth bedding, coveralls, etc., in bleach to disinfect it.

What Are The Common Things That Cause a Quarantine To Fail?

  • Common fencing allowing nose-to-nose contact
  • Working with quarantine pigs first, then moving into resident pig area
  • Failure to wash hands, boots
  • Wearing same clothes from quarantine into resident area
  • Disposing of waste from quarantine pigs in an area where resident pigs can get to it.
  • Improper drainage so that water from quarantine area/floor or from waste disposal area drains into resident area
  • Common water for drinking for residents and quarantine pigs
  • Common food area for residents and quarantine pigs

How Long Should I Keep In Quarantine?

  • Most infectious diseases cause symptoms to develop within 7-10 days. Quarantine for a minimum of 14 days is recommended so that there is plenty of time for symptoms to develop and be recognized.
  • If rescue pigs are sick, then quarantine should continue for at least 1 week after the last symptom resolves.
  • If rescue pigs have non-infectious problems (such as nutritional problems) , then quarantine should last for a minimum of 14 days, but for as long as needed so that the affected pig will not be damaged by resident pigs and for as long as it makes it easier to treat, feed a special diet, wash wounds, etc.

Should I Allow People To Visit My Pigs?

  • In general, it is better to NOT allow visitation. You do not know where visitors have been.
  • If you do allow visitation, do not allow visitors into your resident or quarantine areas. Have a safe area in your house or barn where you can bring individual pigs for visiting and handling.
  • Never let visitors handle very young piglets. Piglets should be a weaned before being handled by strangers. Make sure that your visitors wash their hands before handling piglets.
  • Never let visitors into your quarantine area. They will not be able to disinfect and will potentially carry disease.
  • Do not allow people to take pigs away and then bring them back unless you will quarantine them upon return. Do not take pigs to fairs or auctions and then bring them back to your rescue unless you will quarantine them to protect the rest of your pigs.