Busting Myths and Avoiding Mistakes of Water-soluble Medication for Pigs

When it comes to controlling ileitis or swine respiratory disease, water-soluble medications check a lot of boxes compared to other treatments.

Water-soluble medications:
• Reduce stress for people and pigs
• Require less time and labor to administer than other methods
• Are effective, making them a judicious use of antibiotics

Water-soluble medications only work when they are mixed and delivered correctly. Here are answers to common questions about water-soluble medication to help you treat pigs with less stress, time and cost:

1. Will water-soluble medications plug the water nipples in my barn?
Water-soluble medications are designed to dissolve completely in clean water. A properly dissolved medication will not plug pig drinkers or pig water nipples. If a water-soluble medication is not dissolved in an adequate amount of water within the time recommended on the label, something else (such as residue from previously administered medications) is interfering in the solution.

2. What do I do if a medication won’t dissolve?
First, ensure you are following the mixing instructions, including using the right amount of water and mixing for the recommended time. Some medications take longer to dissolve, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t effective. Be sure the mixing bucket is clean. Residue in the mixing bucket could interfere with solubility. Thoroughly clean the mixing bucket or use a bucket liner labeled and approved for use with animals. Clean and flush water lines after every medication dosage. A clean bucket and water lines support solubility and effective dosing.

3. Will a line cleaner interfere with medication in my water system?
Generally, line cleaners won’t interact with medications. Always read and follow instructions.

To get the most out of your medications, ensure lines are clean and flushed before administering water-soluble medications. Clean water lines improve the efficacy of water-administered medication. If water lines contain bacteria, the antibiotic reacts with the bacteria and is not delivered to the pig.

The build-up of minerals or biosolids such as bacteria or fungi inside water lines can also lead to plugged pig drinkers or pig water nipples. Accurate, consistent watering system cleaning and maintenance prevent plugged drinkers or water nipples by eliminating build-up from minerals or biosolids. Cleaning/flushing water lines following the use of water-soluble medications eliminates drug residue.

Flush water lines completely following the use of a line cleaner. It’s good to flush lines at the end of the day to prevent materials from sitting in the watering system overnight when pigs drink less water.

Water soluble medications are a convenient, economical way to control ileitis or swine respiratory disease. Get the best results by maintaining a clean watering system.