Controlling swine respiratory diseases, such as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCV2) and mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. hyo), is one of the key challenges for pig producers and veterinarians.

During the 2012 World Pork Expo, pig experts discussed the impacts of these diseases, the latest research and effective ways to manage respiratory diseases on modern pig farms. Dr. John Waddell, DMV, professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., discussed the economic impacts of respiratory diseases on pig farms. “These diseases have drastic economic impacts on the swine industry; the PRRS virus alone is estimated to cost the U.S. swine industry $664 million annually,” said Waddell who suggested using a five-step process to help manage respiratory diseases:

  1. Identify desired goals
  2. Determine current status of farm
  3. Understand current constraints
  4. Develop solution options
  5. Implement and monitor preferred solutions  

“Managing these respiratory diseases is critical for pig producers and there is not one solution that fits for all the respiratory diseases," said Waddell. "Implementing a five-step animal health model can lead to increased awareness of specific pathogens involved in respiratory disease issues within a system. The five-step process also allows for the proper intervention to be implemented to best control the problem within a specific system."

Dr. Darin Madson, DVM, assistant professor of pathology at the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, presented the latest research findings on PCV2 In-Utero Transfer Results in Viremic Neonates and the role of pig vaccination. Madson said that PCV2 infection can manifest as reproductive failure or be subclinical fetal infection. In-utero PCV2 infections are more common than clinical reproductive disease. “Research indicates that dam vaccination decreases reproductive disease, in-utero infection and secretion of virus through milk and colostrums,” said Madson. “Also, research shows dam vaccination improves herd reproductive parameters, piglet weaning weights and has an effect on nursery/growth-finish mortality.”