Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome can be devastating, it cans cost some producers hundreds of thousands of dollars and put others out of business. A new same-day PRRS testing service from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine can help producers verify that breeding boars test negative for the disease. It will help detect and control PRRS more quickly.

The U of M is the first veterinary diagnostic lab in the nation to provide high-volume, same-day turnaround. The service came in response to requests from Minnesota boar-stud operations that need to prove that their boar semen has tested negative for PRRS virus.

The next-day service is significantly faster than the three to four days previously required to perform the test. The service is available to boar-stud operations nationwide.

“PRRS virus is shed in boar semen even before there are clinical signs, so boar-stud operations need evidence that the product they ship to buyers has been tested and found negative for PRRS virus,” says Jim Collins, DVM, PhD, director of the U of M veterinary diagnostic lab. “Boar semen must be shipped fresh, so every hour a shipment is delayed results in some degradation.”

PRRS is the No. 1 infectious disease affecting the swine industry, causing stillbirths, low-birth weight, premature birth, pneumonia and death. The disease spreads rapidly, and while there’s still much to learn about its transmission, researchers do know that it’s transmitted in boar semen and from hog-to-hog contact.

“When producers asked us in December for faster results, we immediately revamped our PRRS testing service,” says Jeffery Klausner, DVM and dean of U of M’s college of veterinary medicine.

Two components make the same-day service possible:

  • First, the veterinary diagnostic lab modified the delivery time so samples arrive earlier, and it adjusted staffing to accommodate working well into the evening.
  • Second, the lab’s online-result reporting service was enhanced. Rather than wait for a written or faxed report, customers can retrieve results within eight hours through the VDL’s secure Web site. Using a unique password, they access the report, print it and have the option of enclosing it with the semen shipment for the buyer’s review.

This online reporting service lets producers and veterinarians view individual test results or to retrospectively view results from all the samples they’ve submitted.

“Our Web site provides real-time test results along with links to key treatment information 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Collins. “We’re committed to converting diagnostic data into information that veterinarians and producers can use to act more quickly and better manage their operations.”

For more information, go to www.cvm.umn.edu

University of Minnesota, School of Veterinary Medicine.