Ileitis continues to take a major toll on performance in growing pigs, according to a study released at the annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Researchers found that the cost per pound of gain (based on 7¢/lb. feed price) was 13 cents for healthy grower pigs, but was 23 cents for ileitis-challenged pigs.

“Given the magnitude of this difference alone, producers should take steps to prevent ileitis,” says Todd Armstrong, DVM, manager of Swine Technical Services for Elanco Animal Health, the study’s underwriter.

In the 56-day trial conducted in Ames, IA, veterinary researchers measured performance parameters in pigs from five through 13 weeks of age.

At the fifth week of the trial, some pigs were given Lawsonia intracellularis, the causative agent of ileitis, causing a profound change in performance. Healthy pigs had average daily gain of 1.52 lb., compared to only .57 lb. in affected pigs. At week 13, healthy pigs averaged 95.54 lb., but ileitis-challenged pigs averaged only 67.24 lb.

Total feed intake and feed efficiency were 154 lb. and 1.80 lb., respectively, for the healthy pigs. Sick pigs consumed just 101.4 lb. of feed, while averaging a 3.42 feed efficiency.

“The trial captures the differences producers see every day between pigs challenged with ileitis and those not challenged,” reports Armstrong. “We know ileitis depresses pig performance, and this trial provides even more data to substantiate the significant losses that may be occurring on many farms today.”