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PMWS and PCVAD - is it still there in Europe?

North America is breaking down with Post-weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS), or as they like to call it Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD), in its acute form. In Europe, we have mainly passed this high mortality phase in weaners and growers and have entered the chronic phase of lower mortality, but often in more valuable finishing animals. How badly are we affected here in Europe?

North America is breaking down with Post-weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS), or as they like to call it Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD), in its acute form. In Europe, we have mainly passed this high mortality phase in weaners and growers and have entered the chronic phase of lower mortality, but often in more valuable finishing animals.

How badly are we affected here in Europe?

In the UK, we still have farms that are regularly losing 9% of pigs in the finishing stage. In pre-PMWS times, mortality was usually 1.5-2.5% in finishers from a variety of causes, so these farms are experiencing an approximate 7% mortality due to PMWS, which is substantial (€5-6/pig produced) but when modelled to include poorer growth and FCE, increases the cost to €15-16/pig. One of the problems in the UK is the large numbers of pigs that are finished in straw-based systems. These promote our 'welfare friendly' image but are potentially increase the spread of the infectious agent (PCV-2) and the infectious challenge.

In some farrow-to-finish farms we encounter a non-antibiotic-responsive 'viral' diarrhoea in growing pigs (8-12 weeks of age), which we associate with an earlier PCV-2 infection but generally the mortality is low. In our three-site-production systems, we see it mainly in the finishing sheds at 11-16 weeks of age, soon after introduction, when maternally derived antibodies have presumably gone. Housing type and production system appears to have a significant impact.

Recent trial work in Germany has shown that the challenge from PCV-2 occurred even later, at 20 weeks of age, not far from slaughter selection age, presumably due to slatted flooring and delayed exposure and challenge. Mortality was 2-3% but the associated loss is considerable at this stage almost €85-90 each pig that died or €2 to €3/pig produced.

When costs associated with poorer growth and feed conversion efficiency are included the cost is doubled to €4 to €5.5/pig.

What are other bloggers seeing in their countries, is PMWS / PCVAD still a problem?

8 comments

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    noni ward

    David we dont have it here in australia, but cant a vaccine be developed to help control this terrible disease in pigs. If it gets to australia it will wipe out some of the smaller producers and we dont want that to happen.
    Noni

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    clovis

    please how long do pigs live

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    David Burch

    Hi Noni, at last effective vaccines are on the horizon. In the EU we had a vaccine for sows which gave some protection for younger pigs, but in N. America they have introduced 3 vaccines, for 3 weeek old piglets and above and the early reports say they are highly effective and give lifelong protection for finishing pigs. It will be sometime before they are approved for use in Europe though.

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    David Burch

    Clovis, obviously pigs produced for meat are killed at 6 months of age but I have known sows have 13 litters so that is nearly 7 years. Any advances on that?

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    marco terreni

    PMWS has produced huge damages in many farms in Italy between the ending of the last century and the beginning of the new one. In farms that experienced outbreaks, nearly 50% of the pigs were affected and huge economic impact was experienced. In farm I personally followed, some 5% mortality on weekly basis was present, a lot of runts were identified every day and all the pigs were completely “indifferent” to any treatment. By that day a lot of biosecurity measures have been implemented and the Madec 20 points taking in serious care. In the following years we have seen a progressive decrease of the typical symptoms related to PMWS, with an increase of other forms, less severe, more related to presence of PCV2 in respiratory problems as well as other in enteric ones.
    Nowadays PMWS is not present with the same clinical and devastating impact we had but PCV2 if still identified in samples sent to labs from suspected farms.
    Actual impact on mortality seem to be less severe, with just some 5 to 10% farms that report about mortality rate superior to average.

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    Prof Thomas Blaha

    As for PMWS in Germany, the prevalence has drastically dropped (I think the real prevalence as well as the 'diagnosed' prevalence). I think there are two dactors for the decrease: 1. Veterinarians have learnt NOT to assign poor performance to PMWS but have started to diagnose better again. When a new syndrome is described, everybody sees it and stops diagnosing accurately the real reason for the symptoms. 2. Veterinarians and farmers have learned to understand that poor hygiene and poor management leads to supporting an otherwise almost harmless PCV2 infection, i.e. improving the husbandry conditions (more or less the 20 'Madec Points') the impact of PMWS is decreasing.

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    Jean-Philippe Gaspar

    Dear Dr Burch,
    Laboratoires Bonapp - France is involved for 40 years in homeopathic pharmaceuticals and plant extracts formulas to be incorporated into the feed.

    One of these plant extract premixes called Concentrate Eptibron S, has shown interesting results in difficult PMWS and PDNS conditions.
    Full technical information and trial results are available on request.
    With best regards
    JP Gaspar
    Tel : +34 93 540 02 08/+34 630 974 899
    e-mail : jp.gaspar@terra.es

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    Stephanie Dick

    We have the odd piglet that just does NOT grow. It eats, sleeps but just never grows. Is this PMWS and PCVAD?

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