PRRS Vaccinations in Nursery a Success

US - Vaccinating nursery pigs for PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome) could pay off, according to a Nebraska veterinarian.
calendar icon 25 August 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

John Waddell, a veterinarian from Sutton, Nebraska, said a three-year study indicates an improvement in efficiency and a decrease in death rates in vaccinated pigs, reports Iowa Farmer.

Mr Waddell, who worked with researchers from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. on the project, revealed the findings during the World Pork Expo here June 5.

He said pigs were vaccinated at weaning.

"We wondered if that was the right time to vaccinate," Mr Waddell said, adding PRRS costs producers more than $13 per head for losses in the nursery and finishing stages. He said 88 percent of the costs associated with PRRS occur in the growing stage.

During 2005, the first year of the study, pigs from a PRRS-infected herd were vaccinated with a modified-live vaccine right after weaning or at about 3 weeks old. Mr Waddell said more than 600,000 pigs were involved in the study.

Mortality rates in the nursery were greatly reduced, he said adding performance also was better than that in non-vaccinated, PRRS-positive herds.

Mortality rates dropped from 3.04 per cent in the non-vaccinated nurseries to 2.65 per cent in vaccinated nurseries.

Pigs from the vaccinated herd weighed almost a pound more when leaving the nursery than non-vaccinated pigs.

In 2006, Mr Waddell and his team vaccinated all nursery pigs, including pigs from PRRS-positive and PRRS-negative sow herds. He said the results were similar to those in the 2005 study.

"What we saw was a very stable performance in the second year," he said.

By vaccinating all pigs, he noted flow through the nursery was improved because pigs could be commingled.

By vaccinating all pigs, Mr Waddell added producers could likely reduce costs associated with PRRS by 80 per cent.

No pigs in the study were vaccinated for circovirus, he said.

"I think by reducing PRRS, we were able to avoid that," Mr Waddell said.

Reid Phillips, a veterinarian and technical manager for respiratory products for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, said the study illustrates the importance of a PRRS-vaccination program.

Along with a vaccination program, Mr Phillips added other factors, such as biosecurity and pig management, are "an important part of a comprehensive approach that producers can implement to more effectively manage the disease and improve the overall health of pigs within the nursery and grow-finish phases of production."

Further Reading

- Find out more information on PRRS by clicking here.
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