Viet swine farmers need access to better diagnostics

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Proper diagnosis is key to addressing diseases in farm operations, however, many swine farmers in Vietnam need better access to diagnostics.

It is not always for lack of facilities. Many Vietnamese swine farmers seek laboratory tests or veterinary services to diagnose their pigs when disease strikes. This even though they admit the benefits of diagnostic tests and professional services in helping them treat the pigs correctly.

Old habits

Nguyen Phuong, a hog farmer from Ho Chi Minh City, told Asian Agribiz that when he sees symptoms of illness in his pigs, he depends on his experiences rather than test or seek veterinary services to diagnose and treat the animals. He is representative of many independent pig farmers in the country.

“I’ve been raising pigs for over 20 years. I understand my pigs and most of the time, I know what to do,” he said.

Vietnamese farmers often turn to experience to treat their pigs rather than seek veterinary services or diagnostic tests.

If there is a health problem on his farm, his first step is to reduce the temperature of the animals. Then he goes to the local veterinary drug stores to buy medicine for the pigs.

“Just like in human health, when we get sick, we go to the local pharmacy shops to get medicines,” he explained.

“When the medicine is not effective, that is when I will turn to veterinary consultants for clinical diagnosis and also laboratory tests if the situation gets worse,” he added.

Challenges with local lab services

Mr Phuong explained that one of the obstacles to his seeking laboratory tests is the duration of the testing process.

“Maybe there are too many customers, and the laboratory’s capacity cannot handle them all, but we often wait too long for the results. If we wait for them to give us the results, the situation at the farm might have already gotten worse,” he said.

Mr Phuong added that when the results arrive, he does not fully understand them. He needs to consult with professionals for interpretation and solutions, further lengthening the process.

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Regional Correspondent and Assistant Editor Asian Pork Magazine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Covid-19 and the African swine fever had double impact on Asia’s pig sector and Ha Thu wrote a changing industry in, ‘Trends in Southeast Asia’s pig industry amid dual crisis’.