Dale McCarty , manager at Advantage Pork, prepares a three-way PCV2, M.hyo, PRRS vaccine for administration. He feels the combination vaccines save time and are easier on both pigs and people.
Dale McCarty , manager at Advantage Pork, prepares a three-way PCV2, M.hyo, PRRS vaccine for administration. He feels the combination vaccines save time and are easier on both pigs and people.

Editor's note: The following article was featured in the July/August issue of PorkNetwork magazine.

The PRRS Area Regional Control program provided the foundation for disease management. The pilot projects originally included “elimination,” but producers didn’t want the vaccine taken away – it was an important addition to the toolbox.

“The original PRRS strain that was most prevalent is no longer in the area,” explains Dr. Noel Garbes with Bethany Swine Health Services (BSHS) in Sycamore, Ill. “We continue to encourage producers to vaccinate for PRRS, but want them to do it correctly in terms of timing, dosage, etc.” he says.  Managed farms were averaging about 26 pigs per sow per year at the beginning of the control program, but the BSHS veterinarians began seeing lower death losses and higher overall growth rates.

“We’ve learned all these strategies for controlling PRRS and now we have them for PEDv,” says Garbes. “We’re proactively using the same approach with other diseases, like influenza A virus, which has become worse than PRRS. It’s a constant but we feel that controlling and managing it in the sow herd helps break the downstream disease cycle.”

Garbes says they start on the multiplier level with mycoplasma- and PRRS-negative gilts, then they vaccinate with a single circovirus-mycoplasma combination vaccine. “On the sow farms we use 3FLEX (Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.) – our managers appreciate its efficacy and ease, in addition to of use   fewer steps in the vaccination process.”

“In the farrowing crate, we’re putting off vaccinating for PRRS until close to weaning,” says Mike Schelkopf with BSHS. “We’re learning that the fewer times we handle the pigs, the better.”

Dale McCartyhas been the manager at Advantage Pork, LLC for 17 years, since the unit was built. It was a 2,400-sow unit that has expanded to 2,800 sows when gilts were moved off-site for breeding. He really likes combination vaccines for several reasons. First, they help eliminate confusion (no more asking which pigs were administered which vaccine). “It’s a labor savings, it improves biosecurity because we’re not moving from pen to pen as frequently, and it decreases handling pressure because we’re using one needle instead of three. It’s less stress for the pigs and the people.

“Ordering one box is a lot easier than ordering three separate products – it’s incredible what you have to order every month for an operation of this size,” he adds.

For more articles and features from the July/August issue of PorkNetwork, click here.