It may seem as if it’s all around you. So how can you control the threat of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome in your herd?
Max Rodibaugh, a Frankfort, Ind., veterinarian, offers a 10-step program to help steer your herd clear of PRRS.
Isolate breeding stock to keep PRRS from entering your herd whether replacement animals come onto the farm from an infected source herd or not.
Acclimatize incoming animals to pathogens in your operation by exposing them to fecal matter or cull sows.
Know the PRRS status of your herd. You may have to test 20 to 30 sows, 10 to 15 nursery pigs and 10 to 20 grow/finish pigs – if you’re not using a PRRS vaccine – to identify the status of your animals. Monitor at least once a year.
Determine the status of your seed-stock sources. Find out if they are using a vaccine or have diagnosed PRRS in their herds.
If you buy semen for artificial insemination, find out the PRRS status of the boars supplying the semen. The virus can enter through infected semen.
Do the diagnostics. When you suspect clinical signs, find out early what you are dealing with. That can minimize the disease’s effects on your herd.
Discuss vaccination options with your veterinarian. Vaccines aren’t always the answer, but they can be a useful tool.
Base decisions on facts. Research the situation and get an opinion from someone you trust. There is no single route that can ensure control of this disease.
Study pig flow patterns to see if you are discouraging or enhancing PRRS.
Take biosecurity precautions seriously. Follow through on a daily basis to make sure you’re doing everything to avoid this costly problem.