Zoetis has awarded research grants to Suidae Health and Production and to Iowa State University (ISU) to discover solutions that can help improve control of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in breeding and farrowing herds. 

“We were interested in proposals that help discover novel approaches for optimizing the immune response of sows and gilts to help control PEDv,” said Steve Sornsen, DVM, MS, senior director, Veterinary Business Solutions, Zoetis. “We’re pleased to collaborate with well-experienced veterinarians representing academic and production interests. The outcome of these projects should provide insights into new PEDv control methods that can be incorporated into current production systems for the industry.”

The two proposals were selected by a cross-functional group of Zoetis colleagues among a group of eight finalists. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2015.

Suidae Health and Production, a swine veterinary practice with three locations across Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, will use its grant in the amount of $98,000 to study the efficacy of vaccination in boosting the immune response to PED virus in both naïve sows and previously exposed sows. Results will be compared to naïve sows that receive a placebo.

“I’m very excited to serve the swine community with research and development efforts to help control PEDv,” said Trevor Schwartz, DVM, Suidae Health and Production. “I’m thankful for Zoetis’ commitment to increasing the information available to veterinarians and producers.”


The $59,000 grant awarded to ISU extends the partnership between school researchers and Zoetis on multiple projects related to PED virus management.

“Losses in breeding herds chronically affected by PEDv can be devastating,” said Derald Holtkamp, DVM, MS, assistant professor, ISU. “The source of the problem in these chronically affected herds appears to be an imbalance between immunity passed onto the piglets and the viral load of PEDv in the environment.” 

University researchers will measure the effectiveness of the conditionally licensed PED vaccine  from Zoetis in helping to reduce PED virus incidence on chronically affected breeding farms by studying the effect of the killed vaccine on immunological parameters in terms of both sow and colostral immunity.

“Our goal is to then determine if we can measure and predict PEDv immunity and if that immunity improves productivity in a chronically affected breeding herd,” added Chris Rademacher, DVM, swine extension veterinarian, ISU.

Cases of PED virus have been confirmed in at least 33 states, and about 30 percent of farms report a reoccurrence within a year of an initial outbreak. After reaching 12-month lows for new cases of PED virus in the middle of October 2014, reports of new cases increased in December as colder weather moved in.