PED still spreading — slowly

Another Ontario case | Veterinarians encouraged by limited spread of hog virus

The number of porcine epidemic diarrhea cases found on Canadian hog operations rose to 27 Feb. 28 with the confirmation of another case in Ontario.

Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Quebec have each confirmed one case, and each of those is considered to be contained. The bulk of cases are in Ontario.

Industry veterinarians monitoring the deadly virus are encouraged by the limited spread.

Strict biosecurity works, Dr. Chris Byra of the Canadian Swine Intelligence Network said in a Feb. 28 conference call.

“Now we’re at the stage where we’re going to say, ‘OK, how do we make these farms go negative.’ ”

Transmission through a porcine plasma feed ingredient continues to be the prevailing view on how PED entered Canada. It is the same strain prevalent in the United States, where it has killed millions of piglets and is now considered endemic.

Dr. Sue Burlatschenko of Goshen Ridge Veterinary Services in Ontario said the initial cases of PED occurred on farms with excellent biosecurity, so she was puzzled about transmission.

Investigation revealed feed as the common link between most of the infected barns, though not all operations that received the now-recalled feed have contracted PED.

“What’s interesting to me in all of this is certainly the feed pellets went out to a large number of herds in Ontario.

“I think 130 some herds received the pellets, so not everybody that received pellets and were feeding them was breaking with PED,” Burlatschenko said.

All piglets died within the first two weeks on the 500 sow farrow to finish operation that had the first case, said Burlatschenko.

The same has occurred on other farms infected with the virus.

Dr. Dan Hurnik of the Atlantic Veterinary College said biosecurity was also high in the single Prince Edward Island case. The strain was the same as that found in Ontario, and the link with feed is assumed.

He said the virus killed piglets in the barn, and all sows got sick and recovered after two weeks. Feeder animals experienced diarrhea and also recovered.

No pigs had been shipped from the infected barn as of Feb. 28, but that was to occur soon in a dedicated shipment.

“The goal will be to try and eliminate the virus,” said Hurnik.

There are no plans to depopulate the herd, but natural exposure to the virus will be followed by rigorous sanitation. He said “sentinel pigs,” which have never been exposed to PED, may then be brought in to see if the virus has been eradicated.

  • Jeanette

    Why are those little pigs scrouged in so tight? It doesn’t look humane to me.

    • http://n/a john Fefchak

      Jeanette, I call it one of the many evils of factory farming.