This is not the time to relax bio-security in the hog industry despite the great work the entire industry has (is) doing to stop PED virus mostly at the border.
For many months producers would walk into their facilities hoping against hope they wouldn’t see sick baby pigs in the morning. This during a time when prices for their animals were record or near record highs. To have their piglets get the disease and go through the process of cleaning it up, basically eradicating the disease isn’t easy, and cost those producers at least one production cycle, if not more.
Dr. Megan Bergman, Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Officer expects swine barns in the province infected with Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea to be free of the infection within the next couple of months.
Manitoba identified its first case of PED in February 2014, and since then the deadly disease infected a total of five farms, including two sow sites and three finisher sites.
Dr. Bergman says so far strategies aimed at ridding the farms of the virus are quite successful.
“The strategies in use to eliminate PED from a farm are developed through consultation with herd veterinarians and information gathered from PED infected regions,” she said. “The affected herds and their vets have worked really closely with the CVO to implement the best strategy for their circumstances. Finisher operations are able to empty their barns, thoroughly clean and disinfect them and then test the barn to ensure that they’ve eliminated the virus prior to repopulation.”
Bergman says next they implement a testing strategy when they introduce healthy pigs to ensure that they don’t become infected with PED and that helps to determine they’ve actually eliminated the virus from the barn.
“It’s a bit more challenging when we’re dealing with things like sow barns,” said Bergman. “These facilities are not as easy to clean and disinfect and often you don’t end up in a scenario where you actually empty out the barn and so we have to find ways to be able to work with the producer to help him become disease free and also manage the farm at the same time.”
She says one of the strategies they use is to ensure the pigs on site in the farm develop immunity as quickly as possible.
That includes strategies such as back feeding and to also start to monitor those swine to make sure they can detect when they stop shedding that virus and the cycle of the virus is complete within the pigs in the barn,” she adds. “Once that happens then we can start moving forward with the cleaning and disinfection process room by room in those facilities so it does take time and a lot of dedication but our folks are working very hard to do that.”
Dr. Bergman says then they can evaluate naive pigs and piglets when they come into the barns so that they continue to maintain a negative status.  •
— By Harry Siemens