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Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED)

See also chapter 12.

(440) PED is a virus infection of the small intestine. It cycles sometimes in weaned pigs in herds which have become immune because the protection of the maternal IgA disappears after weaning. The process of continual infection maintains the virus on the farm. The disease is characterised by a sudden profuse watery diarrhoea that will last for 3 to 4 days and occurs when pigs are moved into environments where older pigs have succumbed to the disease, shed the virus and recovered. When the virus is first introduced on to the farm there is a rapid spread of diarrhoea across all breeding and growing pigs with almost 100% morbidity within 5 to 10 days. The incubation period is 2 to 4 days. Type 1 virus causes diarrhoea in growing pigs and adults only, but the type 2 virus causes diarrhoea in piglets as well

Clinical signs

There is an acute watery diarrhoea and no evidence of blood or mucus. In breeding finishing farms disease is usually sporadic, however PED is common where weaners are continually entering finishing only operations. Groups of pigs become infected when they reach a certain age and as they enter a building where infection is endemic. Mortality is usually low but morbidity can be high.

Diagnosis

This is based on the history, clinical symptoms and examinations of faeces samples for evidence of porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus by ELISA tests or electron microscopy.

Post-mortem examination of dead pigs and laboratory tests on the small intestine may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Similar diseases

TGE could give a similar picture and live affected pigs are best submitted to a laboratory for differential tests.

Treatment

  • The growing pig normally recovers without treatment unless there are secondary infections. In such cases antibiotics in the water or preventative medication in-feed maybe required.
  • Use neomycin, apramycin, framycetin or trimethoprim/sulpha. Sometimes a good response is obtained with either lincomycin or tiamulin depending on the secondary bacteria present.
  • Specific treatment is of no value since this is a virus infection.
Management control and prevention
  • The disease may occasionally become endemic in finishing units as new weaners are introduced onto the farm. Under such circumstances it is necessary to break the cycle by stopping purchasing for three weeks or utilising segregated disease control methods. (See chapter 3).
  • All-in all-out procedures with disinfection will often break the cycle.
  • The virus is easily killed by phenolic, chlorine or iodine based disinfectants or peroxides.

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