Pig producers are being encouraged to look at other options than just vaccinating sows when it comes to preventing circovirus (PCV2) in pig herds.

Research found that vaccinating piglets and sows not only improves growth rates in the growing and finishing stage but sows also witnessed increased litter size and more piglets weaned when sows were vaccinated.

In the growing stage, average daily gains were up 41g/day and 77g/day in the finishing stage with litter sizes increasing from 13 pigs in 2009 to 16.7 by 2011, with the average number of pigs weaned in the same period up 0.8.

Commenting on the disease at the Pig and Poultry Fair, Merial Animal Health’s vet advisor Brian Rice said: “Circovirus not only suppresses immunity making pigs susceptible to other diseases and reducing performance but it can also have significant effects on reproduction causing reduced fertility, abortions and stillbirths,” he said.

PCV2 FACTS
Since circovirus arrived in the UK in the late 1990’s it has cost the UK pig industry £64m
80% of producers vaccinate sows against PCV2
Vaccinating piglets improves uniformity of increases daily liveweight gains

“However, vaccinating both piglets and sows is undoubtedly the most effective way of preventing PCV2, but vaccinating just sows provides the best return on investment of the vaccine cost.”

Mr Rice also encouraged producers to consider vaccinating gilts as part of the protection against the virus. “The virus is everywhere and very few herds are negative to the virus with more than 80% of people vaccinating. So it’s even more important to take care with naïve gilts coming in to the herd who are at risk of PCV2 infection.

“By vaccinating gilts you are not only ensuring immunity is passed on to piglets but you are also safeguarding against reproductive problems,” he said.

For more on this topic

See all the reports from the British Pig and Poultry Fair 2012