Within a short time during the fall of 2019, a serious bacterial infection wreaked havoc in pigs across several states and parts of Canada.
Streptococcus zooepidemicus [zō-ĕpĭ-DĔM-ĭ-cŭs], or Strep zoo [zō] for short, is commonly found in horses where it can cause strangles — that’s abscesses in the neck. It is not, however, common in pigs, in which it causes sudden fever, weakness and lethargy.
Pigs affected in the recent outbreak most often presented with sudden death, which hit animals of all ages, and lots of them. Another tell-tale sign of Strep zoo is its rapid spread among the herd.
Producers can push back on Strep zoo by stepping up biosecurity protocols, especially those involving transportation and collection points. As part of the process, any pig with suspicious signs should be examined by a veterinarian.