Get to grips with PRRS, says top pig vet

UK - Field experience by the Garth Partnership in the UK has clearly demonstrated the valuable role of using killed PRRS vaccine for sows and gilts, particularly in restocking situations, reports Brian Rice at Merial Animal Health. The vaccine has also proved highly effective in containing the disease within breeding herds by boosting/stabilising levels of immunity, and limiting circulation of the virus.
calendar icon 19 December 2003
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"Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS) can have a severe negative economic impact on herd performance, as well as making management substantially more difficult," emphasises Neville Kingston, senior partner in the Beeford-based practice. "However, with close attention to detail and the correct veterinary advice, it is possible to get on top of this increasing problem. Farms that have done so have recorded substantial improvements in conception rates and litter size, as well as in the quality and uniformity of piglets born.

"During challenging times, producers naturally ask us to demonstrate the economic value of what we do for their businesses. Within the Garth Veterinary Partnership we firmly believe that the advice we give and the veterinary medicines we prescribe provide measurable economic improvements.

"PRRS is responsible for huge economic losses within the UK pig industry as a result of respiratory disorders in growing/fattening pigs and reduced reproductive performance in breeding herds. It is therefore vital to utilise correct management and available veterinary medicines to minimise its impact."

Since its discovery 10 years ago, PRRS has been the focus of enormous professional interest and research. Consequently, scientists know a great deal about the epidemiology of this virulent virus.

PRRS can spread from the sow to the piglets during pregnancy or during the first few days after farrowing. The adverse effects on herd management include increased culling rate, disruption of batch management systems, early farrowing and increased medication requirement in sows/piglets during lactation. The disease can also result from direct contact if pigs are mixed post-weaning or at the beginning of the fattening period, the effects being a severe reduction in herd productivity and uniformity.

Minimising and controlling the problem relies on adopting an individual farm approach to hygiene and management combined with the correct use of vaccines. During the past decade, Merial Animal Health has been at the forefront of research in this area. Introduced during 2001, PROGRESSIS® killed PRRS vaccine has produced consistently good results, in both laboratory investigations and field trials. Vaccination with PROGRESSIS has been shown to improve the clinical picture in breeding herds adversely affected by PRRS, with no risk of shedding vaccine virus. By boosting and homogenising the immunity of the breeding herd and helping to limit the circulation of the virus, it also helps to re-establish regular patterns of farm management.

Further information

For more information on PRRS (Blue Ear) Click Here For detailed information on PROGRESSIS Click Here For more information on Merial Click Here For more information on Garth Partnership Click Here (under construction) Source: Merial Animal Health - 17th December 2003

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