NAPPA Bio-Security Program

Breeder and Shelter Bio-Security Guidelines

By Dr. John Carr

A private sanctuary rescued feral piglets whose mother had been killed. Subsequent brucellosis testing results are positive. Only adequate quarantine facilities convince the authorities that repeated testing of the entire herd for the disease should be carried out instead of destroying all pigs on the premises. Brucellosis did not move into the sanctuary.

Four pigs from a facility with many boarders stop by for a social visit. No biosecurity measures are taken. A contagious and potentially fatal diarrhea breaks out in textbook fashion at the sanctuary that housed the visiting pigs. Three sanctuaries end up in strict quarantine although only one actually had sick pigs. The others were exposed by indirect contamination. It is a costly and exhausting experience for the people involved and pigs suffer needlessly from an event that should have been easily avoided.

These are two recent incidents involving potbelly pigs. It is up to the potbelly pig community to be at the forefront of biosecurity and prevent future events such as this which could have much more dire consequences. Perhaps no other issue is more important to the safety of our pigs and paradoxically more overlooked than biosecurity.

As the social incident points out, the actions of one can affect us all. Those who have taken it upon themselves to be part of the potbelly pig community owe it to the pigs in their care and others in the community to become familiar with and use the very best biosecurity measures available.

It is important to remember that the measures described here may change as pathogens and disease prevention evolve. Because of the differences in the management practices between the commercial swine industry and potbelly pig facilities, our job is actually more difficult. Because our pigs are outdoors, it is much more difficult to control their environment. Therefore, managers must be much more aware of the health of their animals and extremely diligent in their protection.

Biosecurity is defined as procedures that are executed to keep new diseases from entering a farm. There are two basic concepts that affect the safety of pigs in breeding or sanctuary

1) Proactive measures which keep new diseases from being introduced and

2) Reactive measures to take should a disease or suspected disease appears at a facility.

All breeding and sanctuary farms should have a national identification number. All-in/All-out definition:

1. Note all-in/all-out is not just about animals; it includes water and feed utensils, all manure and bedding removed from the walls and floor, cleaning of the air and ventilation system and finally, but not least, management of any medicines, needles and syringes used during the isolation program.

2. When a pig that leaves the farm and comes back starts at step one again.

3. If a new pig is introduced to a quarantine group, the process starts over.

Cleaning protocols: The key to proper cleaning and disinfection is to first remove all visible manure from the room and equipment. Hot water and detergent make this job easier. Disinfection should only occur after all visible manure has been removed. Manure and urine can interfere with the effectiveness of disinfection. The hardness of the water can also affect how well a disinfectant works and different diseases may require different disinfectants.


Consult with your veterinarian to select the most suitable disinfectant and detergent for your particular situation.

The isolation (quarantine facility) is located

With direct contact with resident pigs Unacceptable
Less than 300 yards from other pigs Questionable
Greater than 300 yards from other pigs Adequate
Greater than 1 miles from other pigs


The isolation (quarantine facility) is
Completely outdoors Questionable
Indoor/Outdoor Questionable
Totally enclosed


Isolation (quarantine) duration
Less than 30 days Unacceptable
30-60 days Adequate
60 days or more


People caring for the pigs in the isolation facility
Go back and forth between the isolation facility without scrub down and a change of outerwear Unacceptable
Care for isolation pigs last and shower, change clothes before coming in contact with other pigs. The order of care should be young or susceptible but otherwise healthy animals first, all healthy adult animals next, sick or suspect and quarantined last. Wash hands between groups. Adequate
Person working in isolation has no contact with other pigs or pig facilities


Health Care within the Isolation Facility includes
No records are kept, no vaccination or mange Unacceptable
Detailed Health records kept, pigs vaccinated, mange eradication twice 14 days apart Adequate
Health records kept, pigs vaccinated/mange eradication, blood tested for brucellosis and pseudorabies


Cleaning and feeding procedures in the Isolation Facility
The same cleaning and feeding equipment are used for all pigs Unacceptable
Separate cleaning, watering, feeding equipment for each pig or groups of pigs Adequate
Manure and waste bagged separately. Adequate
Foot baths and separate coveralls Adequate
All of the above


Cleaning and disinfections
Disinfection is absent or disinfectants selected at random Unacceptable
Disinfectants are based on label claims Questionable
Rooms are cleaned, disinfected and disinfectant allowed to dry before new pigs are moved in


Ceiling, wall, flooring and equipment are all cleaned and disinfected between groups of pigs all-in/all-out practiced


Veterinary involvement
No involvement with your vet Unacceptable
Discussed requirements of isolation with your vet Adequate
You and your vet design and monitor the isolation requirements