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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
Pig Health & Disease / Pig Welfare
on April 18, 2012

Vaccinating all pigs against porcine circovirus could have benefits

Abortions down, farrowing up among vaccinated gilts, according to research

Veterinarians and producers in the pig industry should consider vaccinating the whole herd for porcine circovirus type 2, PCV2, not just piglets, according to Merial Animal Health’s Veterinary Adviser Brian Rice.

Research was conducted in France on two groups of gilts — 165 that were not vaccinated against PCV2 and 165 that were vaccinated with Circovac1 — and a number of key measurements demonstrated the benefits of PCV2 vaccination. Return to oestrus was nearly three times as likely among the non-vaccinated gilts compared to the vaccinated ones, at 5.1 percent versus 1.8 percent. Abortions were reduced by roughly half among the vaccinated gilts, at 3.6 percent compared to 7.3 percent, and the percentage farrowing was nearly 7 percent higher among vaccinated gilts (90.5 percent against 83.9 percent).

“For sows, as well as gilts, PCV2 vaccination has a number of clear economic benefits," said Rice. "Piglets born from vaccinated sows have a higher birthweight and continue to grow quicker, resulting in fewer days to slaughter. Vaccinated sows also have a better reproductive performance. Research carried out in the UK showed that vaccinated sows produced almost one extra piglet per litter. In light of all the current evidence, vets and producers need to consider a strategy for PCV2 vaccination which takes into account the whole herd, including sows and gilts, not just piglets."

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