Early dosing with approved vaccines could reduce mortality rates for porcine circovirus associated diseases, says Tom Gillespie, DVM, Renssalaer Swine Service, Rensselaer, Ind.

“The vaccines are very, very good at reducing the mortality issue,” he says. Porcine circovirus type-2 virus is the main driver in PCVAD, says John Kolb, DVM, senior manager of swine biologicals at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.

“You may also see things like Salmonella, Mycoplasma, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome and other viruses come and go, but the one that is always there is PCV2,” Kolb says.

PCVAD symptoms can include pneumonia, dermatitis, loss of appetite and failure to grow quickly. “The reproductive form is the most difficult to diagnose,” Gillespie says. “It’s very subtle. There can be abortions; there can be weak pigs at birth. To diagnose that aspect we need to find the virus and lesions on the heart in the developing fetuses. You find it over time.”

Today, in the United States, PCVAD typically strikes finishing pigs. “It’s almost always in finishers, though occasionally in the nursery,” Kolb notes.

Three vaccines are available for use in young pigs; one is by Fort Dodge Animal Health and one by BIVI. The third vaccine, by Intervet, has a conditional license in the United States.

“These companies have geared up pretty quickly,” in responding to the disease, Gillespie notes. “Now, they just have to produce enough vaccine.” The demand for the vaccine has been high, which has kept the supply tight.

Vaccines, which are for use in pigs from to 4 weeks old, have proven effective in helping stem disease spread. 

Gillespie notes that PCVAD-driven losses not only surface in the form of higher mortality, but also in lost dollars for market hogs. That’s significant, he says. “Especially if the producer didn’t have a high mortality rate, we often find their pigs are just lighter at market age.” That part of the disease is getting a closer look these days.

The National Pork Board offers producers a free, printable brochure, available at www.pork.org, which provides a rundown of symptoms, as well as some management practices producers can use to prevent PCVAD spread.