As easy as taking a drink
In principle, vaccines can be applied orally or by injection. Oral administration has several advantages. Mass vaccination via drinking water is very convenient, time-efficient and animal friendly. For active immunization against Ileitis oral vaccination has the additional advantage that immunity is built right where it is needed – in the intestinal tract. For any vaccine used you should refer to the product information for detailed recommendations on administration. Some general comments on oral application of a live Ileitis vaccine are outlined below.
Various options are available to apply the Ileitis vaccine via drinking water. The method of choice depends on the management of the farm, type of water supply and the age of the pigs to be vaccinated. To supply the vaccine through the water supply you can use a proportioner, trough or a peristaltic pump. Ensure that the water lines are clean and are not contaminated with any harmful substances (e.g. antibiotics, disinfectants, acidifiers or chlorine). On the day of vaccination stop any use of disinfectants, acidifiers or chlorine in the water line. In any case, to protect the vaccine from harmful substances in the water it is recommended to use a water stabilizer. In most countries thiosulphate blue is available through your local vaccine supplier. In countries where thiosulphate blue is not available skimmed milk may be used as alternative.
The day before the vaccination you should check the water supply and measure actual water intake at the same time and under the same conditions as you plan to vaccinate the next day. Include the water stabilizer during the pre-measurement as the change in water colour might influence the water in take. When you use a peristaltic pump the pre-measurement of water uptake is not needed as the vaccine will be supplied through the waterline for a pre-defined time.
With liquid feeding, pigs are taking up most of the water they need through the feed. In this case uptake of drinking water is usually not reliable, and therefore application via the drinking water is not recommended. Please contact the local Boehringer Ingelheim representative to find the best solution for your individual farm.
For larger number of animals mass application via drinking water is the most convenient option to apply the vaccine. However, the vaccine can be applied individually via drench, as well. Drenching might be the most suitable option for smaller number of animals, especially when water intake is not reliable. For vaccinating gilts, individual drenching may work well, too, especially when drenching is already established for synchronizing gilts before mating.
Instructions for storage and handling given in the product information should be followed strictly. Freeze-dried, live vaccines are usually stored in a refrigerator at +2 to +7°C, while the corresponding diluent for reconstitution of the vaccine can be stored at room temperature. Breached vials should be used immediately and should not be stored for future use. Finally, only healthy groups of animals should be vaccinated.
The live Ileitis vaccine contains attenuated, non-harmful Lawsonia intracellularis bacteria. Antibiotics might kill or harm the bacteria, resulting in reduced or a total loss of vaccine efficacy. Therefore, it is recommended not to use any antibiotics, neither in feed or drinking water, nor by injection, for at least a week around vaccination (> 3 days before, on the day of and > 3 days after vaccination).