Help is on the way for pork producers battling porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD).
A joint study with Iowa State University and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. in St. Joseph, Mo., has indicated other swine diseases play a key role in PCVAD occurrence and severity. The announcement was made during the World Pork Expo on June 8.
In addition to porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), other diseases such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), salmonella and influenza are usually part of any PCVAD outbreak, said John Kolb, senior manager for swine biologicals with Boehringer Ingelheim.
Kolb worked with ISU researcher Kent Schwartz on the Monitoring Assignment for Global Insight of Circovirus (MAGIC) study. About 60 farms were surveyed throughout 2006, he noted.
“About 72 percent of the pigs with PCVAD were infected with PRRS, while 58 percent had salmonella, 30 percent had influenza and 20 percent had mycoplasma,” he said. “The key appears to be the diseases that are present with the PCV2.”
Kolb said farms with at least twice the normal mortality were surveyed, adding they were located throughout the United States.
The MAGIC project also included herd-case information and animal diagnostics, including extensive serum and tissue sampling, and post-mortem examinations. All samples were evaluated by ISU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
“PRRS was really the big one. It is explosive in terms of a high-mortality rate in both the lab and the field,” Kolb said.
“We saw a very good response in a live vaccine at least four weeks ahead of exposure.
“I would caution producers not to forget about PRRS because it appears to be the key driver in PCVAD.”
In one case, Kolb said a producer who had only been marketing 70 percent of the pigs he sent to the finishing barn saw a 10 percent boost when he vaccinated for PRRS and salmonella.
When he also vaccinated for PCV2, he was able to market 95 percent of those pigs.
Kolb suggests vaccinating pigs for PCV2 at weaning or at about 3 weeks old. Vaccination not only benefits herd health but also weight gain, he added.
He cited an ISU study that showed PCV2-infected pigs that were vaccinated for PRRS had a significantly higher average daily gain and fewer lung lesions over animals not vaccinated for PRRS.
Kolb said it’s important for producers to work together with their veterinarians to come up with a solution.
“If you suspect something, get your veterinarian out to check them out and get the information to the lab,” he advised. “Don’t wait too long.”
Three vaccines for PCV2 are available, Kolb added.
“The amount of vaccine we have right now makes it hard to keep up with demand,” he said. “It should become more available in the near future.”