Faeces samples were taken three times at two-week intervals, from the farrowing units of four herds of known Brachyspira (formerly Serpulina) status and one of unknown Brachyspira status. Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, Brachyspira pilosicoli, Brachyspira intermedia and Brachyspira group III were isolated from the faecal samples from the weaners in the herds using either a maximum of 50 ppm of olaquindox or no feed additives. The detection rates were relatively consistent. However, B hyodysenteriae was not detected at one sampling in a known positive herd. The prevalence of Brachyspira species was also studied in feeder pigs originating from LSO 2000 health class farrowing units, comparable with specific pathogen-free herds. These farms were free from swine dysentery, sarcoptic mange, swine enzootic pneumonia and progressive atrophic rhinitis. Fifty of 428 herds were sampled once. B hyodysenteriae was not isolated from any of them, but B intermedia, B pilosicoli and Brachyspira group III were isolated from five, 14 and 37 of the herds, respectively. The detection of Brachyspira species did not relate to the prevalence of diarrhoea in the herds, as judged by the farmers. The herds using carbadox (40 to 50 ppm) had a lower prevalence of Brachyspira species than those using olaquindox (40 to 50 ppm).
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