Surveillance for PCV2 virus as a cause of reproductive failure is to increase, the Vet Lab Agency (VLA) says.
The hearts of stillborn or aborted pigs submitted to the agency will be examined for myocarditis, the lesion caused by PCV2 in the heart of the developing pig foetus. When myocarditis is detected, more tests will be carried out to determine whether PCV2 is the cause.
Previously in cases of abortion and stillbirths, the VLA looked for a variety of causes, but checking for myocarditis, which can be associated with PCV2, has not always been included, says VLA vet investigation officer, Susanna Williamson.
“Data from the field and research show that PCV2 can be transmitted to the pig foetus, and may, in previously naïve gilts and sows, cause piglets to be aborted or stillborn with myocarditis lesions.”
Although PCV2 has not yet been diagnosed as a cause of reproductive failure, the increased surveillance should help paint a clearer picture of the role it plays in porcine reproductive failure, adds Ms Williamson.
She urges farmers to submit cases from sporadic outbreaks and not just large outbreaks, which are more likely associated with infectious disease. “Submission of abortions and stillbirths from sporadic cases or where there are more chronic problems can also be useful in investigating whether certain infectious diseases are playing a role, such as PRRSV and PCV2.”
UK studies have also shown that vaccinating sows against PCV2 has had reproductive benefits, and the surveillance should help give a better understanding of the importance of vaccinating sows and gilts, adds Merial Animal Health’s, Ricardo Neto.