It is likely that the registration of antibiotic usage will become stricter in the coming years. With a precision health injecting device, more accurate treatment and recording down to the individual pig is possible.

In the ongoing fight towards reducing antibiotic resistance, the registration of antibiotics and their use on pig farms will have to become a closed system. Germany is currently taking steps to establish this through regulation, including recording any residual quantities on farms.

To respond to this legislation, the relatively new company Piglets Treatment System developed the Health Injector. This is an injection device that automatically dispenses the required amount of vaccines, antibiotics or iron supplements and digitally records the treatment at an individual pig level.

The injector in detail
The system works with any type of bottle of any brand. The software determines the amount of medicine needed at an animal level on the basis of age and growth curves. This way, it is possible to determine more accurately how much medication a pig should receive.

The injector identifies the animal and records its treatment using a radio-frequency identification (RFID) ear tag. A chip in the bottle’s sticker identifies medication prescribed by the veterinary practice. For each animal, it is registered with which product it was treated and which lot number was used. The number of ml to be administered per animal is set automatically for each type of antibiotic, so it is impossible to administer too much or too little. That way, automatic and accurate registration is ensured.

With the accompanying management programme, pig data such as date of birth, sex, parents, genetics and any pig information of interest to the farm are recorded with an individual registration number. In cooperation with veterinary practices, vaccination schedules can be recorded. For vaccination schedules, users will receive a notification within the app when treatment is required. These notifications are also given in case of multi-day antibiotic treatment.

Detailed monitoring
Twan Claessens is the owner of the Piglets Treatment System. He had years of experience in pig production before embarking on this new journey. He says the system does not only contribute to the accurate registration and further reduction of antibiotic use. “We can extend the registration to the success of a cure. Not all antibiotics have the same effect on every farm due to farm-specific bacteria. A treatment may not work or may work insufficiently. This way, you can show why a second-choice drug was eventually chosen after all.”

The injector and the associated health system contribute to health passports and the reduction of failure costs. For breeding and multiplication farms, the system’s data provide conclusive vaccination evidence, thus providing added value for the animals. An integration for all existing management systems is being prepared.

Claessens says the injector’s future is related to pork chain building. He says, “This way you can guarantee antibiotic-free production as pig farmers and slaughterhouses. In the event of a possible recall when antibiotics are found in meat, we now recall at the level of a large batch, with this system you can keep the quantity much smaller. We are in talks with slaughterhouses to implement this system in chains.”