Western Canada's support for Swine Health and Disease Surveillance


CWSHIN connects members of the swine sector from across western Canada to share information on current swine health trends. We are a surveillance system imbedded in an intelligence network.

Using elements of science, management, communication and documentation, CWSHIN:

  1. Applies modern surveillance and epidemiologic methods to data collected from practitioners, laboratories, abattoirs, etc., and provide swine health intelligence to producers and swine veterinarians in western Canada.
  2. Monitors worldwide swine health trends, to allow for a better understanding of advances and potential threats.
  3. Strengthens the surveillance system and intelligence network through strong governance within the CWSHIN team and collaboration with swine health stakeholders.
  4. Communicates with producers, practitioners and governments to grow the network.
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Early detection of emerging swine health issues, such as increased prevalence of common diseases or minimizing the impact of new diseases to the sector.
Improving control of diseases by integrating response information to regional health issues.
Providing western Canadian producers and veterinarians with current regional, national and international disease information.
Maintaining international market access by providing evidence of the absence of reportable disease.



No reason to be overly concerned. A spin off of the COVID-19 situation seems to be that researchers around the world scrutinize the family of coronavirus and media are more likely to pick up stories about even negligible potential health threats in humans and animals. That in itself does not mean there are more health threats to humans or animals, but it means that health professionals will be faced with more questions about these potential threats.

CWSHIN REPORT ON SWINE HEALTH SURVEILLANCE FOR 3rd QUARTER 2020 (July to September) – 17 November 2020

Messages from the report

We are adding value to the CWSHIN surveillance system. The CQA (Canadian Quality Assurance program) provided an additional source of data. Therefore, we are happy to report that over 80% of premises with CQA were served by practices participating in CWSHIN.

To add value to the laboratory data and benefit from the work that has been done, a new descriptive analysis has been added to our toolbox. These analyses are a work in progress and this quarter we focused on Streptococcus and Rotavirus.

Streptococcus suis and other Streptococcus are a common problem. We have seen an increased identification of Streptococcus suis by subtyping. However, it is not clear why? Therefore, we will continue to investigate.

Clinically, Rotavirus was reported to be an increasing problem because the virus is common and available vaccines may be ineffective. The problem may be that the vaccine is based on type A Rotavirus, but other types (B &C) seems to be spreading.

A “black pig event” (discolouring of the skin) was seen in a finishing barn and the pigs recovered. The combined expertise on the call mentioned that such very rare events have been caused by Clostridium septicum or seen after mixing animals or handling pigs. Black pig events are eligible for rule-out ASF testing at provincial laboratories. So, call your practitioner if you see discolouring of skin.

An uptick in shakers (trembling, shaking in newborns) appeared suddenly in gilt litters. Little is known about this condition so you can help us get a better understanding of shakers by calling your practitioner when you see trembling and shaking in newborns.

Practical tips from the report

The Flu-season in both people and swine has started and to protect swine workers from influenza masks can be worn in barns.

If you see discolouring of the skin (black pig) – call your practitioner.

You can help us get a better understanding of shakers by calling your practitioner when you see trembling and shaking in newborns.

The African Swine Fever (ASF) rule-out testing at laboratories across Canada has started.

Click here for more information on CanSpotASF.

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The CWSHIN Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from each of the western pork boards, with the western provincial agriculture ministries holding ex-officio status. The Manager of CWSHIN reports to the Board and oversees all of the organization’s activities. Within the organization, there are two working groups providing additional leadership and guidance: the Quarterly Team and the Scientific Technical Group.

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Dr. Jette Christensen DVM, PhD, joined CWSHIN in April 2018.

Dr. Christensen has 30 years of experience in all phases of national animal health monitoring, surveillance and disease control programs gained from field work in Denmark and Canada, including:

  • General veterinary practice as one of two veterinarians serving more than 110 swine producers
  • National animal surveillance in Denmark with: Danish veterinary Service (veterinary authority); Danish Bacon and Meat Council (national swine industry); Veterinary Laboratory (national reference laboratory)
  • National surveillance in Canada with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) from 2001-2017
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