CVO Comments - April 2023

Our vet team is frequently asked, “What’s new at PIPESTONE?” This often elicits a casual response of “Oh, not much.” But, as I sat down to write my CVO commentary it occurred to me that there has been a lot happening at PIPESTONE that we’d like to share.

Here is a brief list of updates and how they might affect you as a pig farmer:



    Several weeks ago, PIPESTONE hosted Dr. Jack Shere, Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In that role, he is responsible for the USDA’s response to a foreign animal disease. Dr. Shere was accompanied by 13 other key USDA individuals focused on African Swine Fever. We were pleased to host Dr. Shere and his team on a sow farm tour, a feed mill tour, and a visit to a wean-to-finish site. Many of these folks do not regularly visit farms so they greatly appreciated the opportunity to get out where the pigs are. We were also fortunate to be able to convene a meeting with the USDA group and our entire swine vet team.
  • AASV
    Dr. Gordon Spronk addresses the assembly at AASV.

    The American Association of Swine Veterinarians recently held its annual meeting in Aurora, CO. Pipestone Veterinary Services was well represented at the meeting with many of our team presenting in various sessions. PIPESTONE speakers included Drs. Karyn Havas, Taylor Spronk, Adam Schelkopf, Cameron Schmitt, and Molly Peterson. The highlight for PIPESTONE was Dr. Gordon Spronk’s keynote address where he challenged swine veterinarians to lead the U.S. swine industry in national disease elimination and keeping ASF out.

    Wean-to-market biosecurity has been identified by many in the pork industry as needing significant improvement. The Swine Health Information Center recently committed significant funds to further research in this area. We at PIPESTONE agree that our U.S. industry needs to get better at biosecurity on growing pig farms. For this reason, last summer we launched our PIPESTONE wean-to-market biosecurity scorecard initiative. This scorecard is a tool for farmers, working with their PIPESTONE vet, to assess the biosecurity of their farms. The tool identifies areas for farm biosecurity improvement and allows farmers to benchmark their level of biosecurity with other farms. To date, we have about 200 farm assessments completed. If your farm has not yet participated in this assessment, please contact your PIPESTONE veterinarian.
    Dr. Madie Wensley recently joined the Pipestone Nutrition team. Her Ph.D. work at Kansas State focused on starting newly weaned pigs and she recently presented her findings to our PIPESTONE team. Ask your vet about it, or turn to page 14 to learn more from Dr. Wensley.
    In addition, the PIPESTONE vet team has had some really good clinical experience using a product called Activate WD in the water in the early nursery period. This product is a non-antibiotic acidifier that improves gut health and reduces E. coli infections. Ask your farm vet to learn more.
    Dr. Cara Haden, Director of Animal Welfare for PIPESTONE, recently convened an Animal Welfare Expert Panel of leading university researchers. PIPESTONE is committed to advancing pig welfare and this panel of experts is key to advising us on practical ideas and techniques to benefit the pig and the farmer. Dr. Haden’s primary area of focus has been sow farms, but in the near future she plans to launch a pig welfare initiative catered to wean-to-finish farms.
  • U.S. SHIP
    The U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) initiative is focused on the prevention and preparedness of African Swine Fever and Classical Swine Fever in the USA. PIPESTONE is fully supportive of this initiative. We are active on the three major working groups that are recommending Standards for the program: Biosecurity, Traceability, and Sampling/Testing. We view the U.S. SHIP initiative as the best-coordinated effort to prevent and respond to a Foreign Animal Disease and highly encourage all of our customers to participate. If you have any questions about U.S. SHIP check out their website, contact your local state pork association, or give me a call (507-215-2149). Remember, to be prepared for a FAD event, all swine producers should have (1) a completed Secure Pork Supply Plan for each of their sites and (2) at least the most recent 30 days of pig movement data ready to provide to state and federal authorities.

If you have questions about any of these topics, or anything else related to Pipestone Veterinary Services, please contact your PIPESTONE vet or call me at 507-215-2149. Thanks for working with PIPESTONE.


Article by Dr. Joel Nerem
Chief Veterinary Office
Pipestone Veterinary Services