Everyone wants answers on ways to prevent porcine circovirus associated disease from entering their herds. Unfortunately, the answers are few and far between.

Experience and research will provide more answers, but for now the best approach is to use known herd-health protocols. Among the strategies that veterinarians cite are the 20 management practices that Francois Madec, a French veterinarian, created to address PCVAD.

Those steps include:

Farrowing:

  • Strict all-in/all-out pig flow. Empty manure storage, clean and disinfect facilities between pig groups.
  • Wash sows and treat for parasites before farrowing.
  • Cross-fostering—limit it to only the most necessary litters. Do it only within 24 hours of farrowing.

Post Weaning:

  • Place pigs in small groups in pens with solid partitions.
  • Empty pit; clean and disinfect rooms between pig groups; follow strict all-in/all-out flow.
  • Reduce stocking density (three pigs per square meter.)
  • Increase space at feeder (+7 cm per piglet.)
  • Improve air quality (NH3 less than 10 ppm; CO2 less than 0.15 percent.)
  • Improve temperature control in the facility— accommodate the pigs’ age, and be consistent.
  • Don’t mix pigs from different sources.

Grow/Finish:

  • Place pigs in small groups in pens with solid partitions.
  • Empty pit, clean and disinfect between groups; follow strict all-in/-all-out pig flow.
  • Don’t mix pig groups from the post-weaning pens.
  • Don’t mix pig groups from the finishing pens.
  • Reduce stocking density (+0.75 square meters per pig.)
  • Improve air quality and temperature in the facility.

Other

  • Implement an appropriate vaccination program for your herd.
  • Maintain sensible air and animal flow within buildings.
  • Provide strict hygiene between production practices such as tail and needle-teeth clipping, and medication injections.
  • Remove sick pigs early; move into hospital room or euthanize them.

If you suspect PCVAD presence, there’s more you need to investigate. The following practices were recommended to control the complex. These are adapted from Pat Halbur’s, DVM, and Tanja Opriessnig’s, DVM, from IowaStateUniversity, presentation at the 2006 American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Meeting.

Naturally, you should discuss these and other possible options with your veterinarian.

  • Ensure an accurate diagnosis. PCVAD can look like many other diseases. Confirmation requires your veterinarian’s guidance. Physical examination of the pigs, necropsies and laboratory confirmation of the infection and presence of porcine circovirus-2 (PCV-2) associated lesions are required.
  • Identify concurrent infections at the farm, site or system.
  • Eliminate or minimize porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome effects. Implement practices such as breeding herd stabilization, pig flow changes and/or vaccination.
  • Eliminate or minimize the effects of swine influenza virus co-infection. Such practices may include breeding herd and pig vaccination.
  • Determine if porcine parvovirus is present; if so, consider vaccinating growing pigs.
  • Minimize the effect of Mycoplasmal pneumonia. Consider vaccinating pigs and/or applying strategic-pulse medication.
  • Evaluate the use and timing of herd vaccinations. If herd evidence suggests an association between vaccination practices and PCVAD, re-evaluate the need and timing of those in use. Vaccination of pigs 5 to 7 weeks before PCVAD occurs is recommended. PCV-2 infection typically occurs in pigs 10 to 14 weeks old.
  • Treat bacterial co-infections, which means using the antimicrobials that target those co-infections.
  • Consider using vitamin E and selenium.
  • Consider using enhanced diets. Specifically, diets with increased plasma protein can help pigs that are slow to respond to treatment.
  • Remove pigs from the group that don’t respond to treatment.
  • Disinfect buildings and transport vehicles with products demonstrated to be effective against PCV-2.
  • Investigate the health status of pig sources. There is evidence that host susceptibility to PCVAD differs.
  • Implement segregated-early weaning practices and strict biosecurity protocols.