In recent years, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED) has become a major concern for swine producers. Canada had its first case of PED confirmed in Ontario in 2014, and since then, there have been cases in Manitoba, Quebec as well in Prince Edward Islands (Canadian food inspection agency, 2017). With the introduction of this virus to Canada, it is important for swine producers to implement strict protocol to prevent the spread of this disease. Additionally, it would be beneficial for producers to know what the PED virus is and what it does, what symptoms to watch for and the subsequent treatment measures that need to be taken.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus is a member of the coronavirus family and it infects the lining within the pig’s small intestine (Davison, 2014). PED is spread by “oral fecal route” which is shed by the infected pig and it ends up in their manure (Davison, 2014). It can only be transmitted through pigs, not from human to pig or pig to humans (Canadian food inspection agency, 2017). Once the infected pig defecates, it will come in contact with another pig’s snout or mouth (Davison, 2014). The virus can spread many different ways such as orally, through contaminated trucks , contaminated foot ware, birds, clothing, wild life, fields, vehicles, transportation of manure, and applying manure (Gerald May, 2013). Contaminated trucks are one of the most common ways it gets spread around, the disease can get picked up at a few different locations such as slaughter plants, gathering yards and farms (Gerald May, 2013). The Virus does extremely well in cold climates, the virus will linger all over the surface even once the manure is fully removed from the barn or truck and trailer (Davison, 2014). There are two types of PED virus. PED type 1 only affects wiener and growing pigs and PED type 2 affects all ages of pigs such as piglets and sows (The pig site). PED virus can live and survive at a low temperature for a very long time but is a lot less forbearance to alkali, and acid at increased temperatures (Pig progress).
Farrow to finished pigs are all at risk of this horrendous disease (Kent Schwartz, 2013). This disease will spread very rapidly through a heard of pigs (Boehringer Ingelheim, 2017). Symptoms of sows include watery diarrhea, loose feces, vomiting and limited feed consumption (Boehringer Ingelheim, 2017). In Weaner and grower pig’s, symptoms include watery green diarrhea with no blood or mucus, vomiting, and low feed consumption (Boehringer Ingelheim, 2017). In piglet’s, symptoms include diarrhea, dehydration, malnourishment and very high mortality rates (Boehringer Ingelheim, 2017). This disease has a 100% morbidity rate within 10 days (The pig site). The mortality rate for piglets can be substantially high at around 40% and usually symptoms can be seen within 15-24 hours and could potentially last up to 3 days (Boehringer Ingelheim, 2017). Piglets have a high mortality rate because they have more susceptible cells, Immature homeostasis, and osmotic pressures from undigested milk (Kent Schwartz, 2013). Larger pigs have lower mortality rates as they can usually fight the disease (The pig site). Some secondary signs of PED in swine is metabolic acidosis, and villous blunting in the small intestine (Pospischil, 2002).
Unfortunately, there are no treatments for the PED virus. But once the pigs get this disease there is a many different solutions the farmer can try and do to aid the recovery of the infected herd. Such as, feeding them all electrolytes and making sure there is fresh water available to all the pigs (Pig progress). Also, making sure the piglets are warm, hydrated and giving them a milk substitute will increase the overall health of the piglet because the affected sows milk production will decrease (Pig progress). To get immunity of PED in a pig barn you must infect the entire barn with the disease, this means the farmer should spread feces around the barn or put an infected pig in an uninfected pen to spread the virus (Pig progress). Once the entire barn is infected and all the pigs are immune, the disease usually spontaneously disappears (The pig site). Biosecurity is one of the main factors in reducing the risk of getting PED in the farmers barn. Some ways to prevent the virus from infecting the swine heard is to wash and disinfected the barn when its empty, making sure employees are showering each time they enter and exit the facility, and preventing organic material from outside entering the facility (The pig site). Also, providing disposable overalls, boot covers, and gloves will help decrease the spread of this virus, and be sure to remove all disposables after exiting an infected pen/barn (Ms schippers). Washing and disinfecting the inside and outside of your barn and all your equipment such as tractors, farm trucks, and field equipment is crucial to prevent this disease from spreading to a new heard of pigs/piglets (The pig site). Another way you can prevent this disease in a heard is to feed the pigs different types of supplements and add vitamins into the feed ration. This will help strengthen the pig’s immunity and help the pig fight this virus (The pig site). If a neighbouring farm gets PED, you must take extra precautions on the farm to ensure it wont spread to the farmers swine. Do not share any equipment, do not enter the property of the diseased herd and avoid the road that the farm is located on. But, it is also very important that farmers keep in contact with the farmer that has the infected herd (The pig site).
In conclusion, it is important for swine producers to implement strict protocols and biosecurity measures on their farm to prevent the spread of this disease. This will maximize the overall welfare of the pigs and profits of the farmer. Knowing what the PED virus is and what it does, the symptoms, the prevention and treatment measures that need to be taken are all very important factors of ensuring you have a healthy swine herd that is profitable.
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