Effect of Drinking Water Distribution System Design on Antimicrobial Delivery to Pigs
Asia Pacific Centre for Animal Health, Melbourne Veterinary School, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, and National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
Melbourne Veterinary School, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ana M. Sahagun and Raquel Diez
Received: 24 June 2021
Revised: 6 August 2021
Accepted: 7 August 2021
Published: 10 August 2021
The piped water system in buildings that house growing pigs is used on many farms for short periods to medicate pigs with antimicrobials, in order to keep them healthy and productive. However, the effect that the design of a building’s water system has on antimicrobial delivery to pigs in pens throughout the building is not known. Thus, we tracked the antimicrobial concentration in water available to pigs at four drinkers during four in-water dosing events, each conducted with looped water systems differing in their design. We found that the water system’s design and the pigs’ water usage and drinking patterns had a large influence on water flow and, therefore, the amount of antimicrobial delivered to pigs in each pen over time. We discovered that by using a circulator pump in a building’s looped water system, all pigs within a building could be delivered the same antimicrobial concentration in water over time. We also showed how a hydraulic modelling tool can be used to predict the antimicrobial concentration at drinkers over time in a specific building during a dosing event. This provides an opportunity to compare alternative in-water dosing schedules for pigs in a given building and select the one likely to be the most effective.