14 January 2000

Double pig plagues

TWO pig diseases, both with devastating financial consequences, appear to be on the increase.

Both diseases – porcine dermatitis nephropathy syndrome (PDNS) and post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PWMS) – have been escalating in recent months, says a report in Vet Record.

Reports suggest an upsurge in cases of PDNS in breeder/finisher units in south east England. But problems with this disease are two-fold, it says. It is not only the disease itself, which can lead to 10% post-weaning mortality, but its clinical similarities with swine fever which are causing concern.

Independent vet consultant Tony Andrews says it is impossible to differentiate between the two and samples must be sent off for diagnosis because swine fever is notifiable.

This means a farm has to be shut down until results establish the diseases character. "While the disease is investigated, a fattening unit will be unable to sell pigs for a week or so, before results are known." This can have a devastating financial impact, he adds.

The other disease – PMWS – is described by Vet Record as a new condition which also seems to be emerging in south east England. "We dont know how common it is. Vets are just not on farms as much as they were because pig units are in meltdown," says Dr Andrews.

However, it is clear PMWS causes devastating economic impact in affected herds. It is normally contracted by pigs between six and 12 weeks of age causing high mortality in litters and weight loss in piglets.

&#8226 See FW next week for a full report.