PCV2 Vaccine Gets Green Light in UK

By Sam Walton, Pig World. Circovac, Merial's PCV2 vaccine, will reach the UK in September. Citing increased vitality, improved growth rate, lower mortality and better feed conversion, its manufacturer says the two-jab vaccine should give a ten to one return on cost
calendar icon 6 August 2007
clock icon 4 minute read

Merial's PCV2 vaccine Circovac will be generally available in the United Kingdom this September.

It is an oil-based, killed vaccine; 2ml is injected deeply into a sow's neck at six weeks and again at three weeks before farrowing.

Gilts should receive an injection when they go into quarantine on arrival at the farm, followed by a booster Jab three weeks later.

French vets consider it is also important to vaccinate the boars with an initial jab, and another four weeks later, then every six months.

The vaccine needs to be re-constituted on the farm immediately before use, by mixing the contents of two vials together. The vaccine should be kept at 2-8 degrees and be injected cold.

PCV2 is a stable resistant virus that is plentiful in the environment and circulates earlier and easier in herds with clinical signs of PMWS.


Results have shown the new vaccine is having an effect on other diseases that could have roots in the PCV2 virus.

One example, though it won't apply on all farms, is ileitis, where a farm has not used any treatment for the disease for six months.

Circovac is administered by mixing two vials together just before use and injecting deeply into the sow's neck at six and three weeks before farrowing.

A quarter of sows in France and a large number in Germany have been vaccinated with Circovac.

Merial says the increased vitality of the pigs, improved growth rate, lower mortality and better feed conversion, give a re- turn on cost of 10 to 1.

This does not include any benefit from extra numbers born through higher conception rates.

All users found the more viable piglets were able to suckle earlier and acquire the benefit of their required 200gms of colostrums at the right time.

Vets representing over 2,000 farms, with sow numbers ranging 60-900 a holding, have fed information into the Merial Circovac trials programme. Farrowing rates on some farms are reported to have increased 70-92 percent.


The vets have repeatedly stressed that parvo and PRRS must also be controlled. One vet was adamant that parvo, which can work in synergy with PCV2, should be treated three, or preferably even four times a year, as should PRRS.

This philosophy may go some way to explaining why French producers achieve higher productivity than most of their British counterparts.

Producers who filled in questionnaires for Merial cited absence of scours, more even batches, lower mortality, lower vet costs, increased feed intake, improved food conversion ratio, higher conception rates and more piglets born, as advantages they found from using Circovac.

One vet stressed the importance of keeping the vaccine in recommended conditions. And ideally we should use a new needle for every sow. He assured me it would pay off.

He would also like to see not just one farm in an area vaccinate, but as many as possible at one time. Ideally, and this of course will not happen, we should have global vaccination.

I visited a typical Brittany family farm of 200 sows where the vaccine has been used. The farm had been plagued with run-of-the-mill health problems seen on so many farms.

It had moved to three-week batching and introduced a Circovac programme, abiding strictly with the manufacturer's recommendations.

It had been thought a de-pop, re-pop would be necessary, but following use of the new vaccine this has been shelved for the time being.

I was struck by the large litters, many of 15. The genetics used are Naimi P76, a French hybrid, reputedly with some Chinese genes, and boars of a Large White, Duroc, Pietrain mixture.

A parvo-PRRS regime is in place. The pigs are now more viable. There is an absence of scours and more even growth in the weaners and growers.

Clearly the new vaccine will have an impact on pig production in Britain. But, as ever, it won't be a cure-all for poor management.

July 2007 - As published in Pig World, July 2007.

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