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  • Author or Editor: M. Fleck Veenhuizen x
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Water samples and survey information related to prevalence of diarrhea, pathogens isolated, history of water quality problems, source of water, geographic location, land use, and water use were obtained from 54 swine farms in Ohio. Water was analyzed for concentration of sulfates and total dissolved solids by use of ion chromatography and electrical conductivity techniques. Sulfate concentrations in drinking water for swine ranged from 5.99 to 1,629 mg/L, with a mean of 231.78 mg/L and a median of 85.39 mg/L. Mean concentration of total dissolved solids was 632.2 mg/L, with a median of 581 mg/L and a range of 175 to 2,058 mg/L. Concentrations of water sulfate and total dissolved solids were highly correlated (P = 0.001). Sulfate concentrations were correlated with geographic location. Higher concentrations were found in the northern and western regions of Ohio. Associations between sulfate concentrations and prevalence of diarrhea, pathogens isolated, or source of water could not be established, but water sulfate concentrations significantly (P = 0.0002) increased with depth of the well. Water sulfate concentration could be approximated when geographic location, depth of well, and concentration of total dissolved solids were known. Sixty-nine percent (37/54) of the participating farms in the study had not had any laboratory-confirmed reports of diarrhea in swine in the preceding 2 years. Of those reporting diarrhea, most signs of disease were detected in pigs < 2 weeks old or in young pigs within 2 weeks of entry into the nursery.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


The effect of sulfate in drinking water at concentrations of 600, 1,200, and 1,800 mg/L on nursery pig performance and health was evaluated over 28 days on 415 weaned pigs. Sodium sulfate and magnesium sulfate were evaluated in combination at concentrations of 600, 1,200, and 1,800 mg/L, and independently at concentrations of 600 and 1,800 mg/L in the drinking water. Seven treatment groups and 1 control group were evaluated for mean gain, feed consumption, water consumption, feed conversion, prevalence of diarrhea, and evidence of common postweaning enteric pathogens. Statistical analysis was performed, using analysis of variance with repeated measures including initial pig weight as a covariate. Prevalence of diarrhea was analyzed nonparametrically with a repeated measures design.

Results indicated that pigs drinking 600, 1,200, or 1,800 mg of sulfate/L water had increased prevalence of nonpathogenic diarrhea during the trial period. There was a trend for increased water consumption corresponding to increased sulfate in the water. Differences in mean daily gain, feed consumption, or feed-to-gain ratios were not observed.

Forty-five pigs were treated at least once during the trial and 4 pigs died, resulting in a nursery morbidity of 11% and mortality of 0.96%. Fourteen isolates of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli were found and rotavirus was isolated from 1 pig. Pigs in this study were not exposed to transmissible gastroenteritis virus.

Except for an increase in fecal moisture content (not associated with pathogenic diarrhea), concentrations of up to 1,800 mg of sodium, magnesium, or a combination of sodium and magnesium sulfate/L had no adverse effect on nursery pig performance.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association