PRRS 101

PRRS or Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome is a commonly known disease through out the United States as well as many other countries. PRRS is a virus that first appeared in the United States in 1980. PRRS has been a costly virus that has been detrimental to large swine operations across the country and can lead to the termination of smaller operations.


-Sows that are dry or not lactating

-appetite loss, elevated temperature in the body by 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit, late term abortions, ears turning a shade of blue (why some call it blue er disease), some sows will farrow four weeks early, return to heat after 21 days, coughing or wheezing

-Sows that are farrowing

-Lack of appetite, milk production low or mastitis, 2-3 day early farrowing, lethargic, respiratory problems, large numbers are mummified pigs, stillborn deaths increase to thirty percent or higher, weak young pigs, the longer the sow has 002_boerderij-image-1473428had the virus while pregnant will increase mortality rate of the young.


-Feces that are contaminated with the virus, nasal mucous, saliva, any buildings that are constantly used will hold the virus at a higher level (a big problem is in the heated nurseries, moving pigs from place to place, it can be transmitted by air up to two miles away, equipment, boots/clothes, vehicles, animal vectors, artifical insemination if boar is positive.

The older pig populations will shed the virus for less time than younger pigs. Older pigs will shed the virus for fourteen days or roughly two weeks while the younger population may shed the virus for months at a time.


There are no treatments for the PRRS virus in modern technology. Like other viral infections though it will weaken the immune system allowing secondary infections to occur. Once you have identified and confirmed PRRS in your herd you can start to treat with antibiotics to head off your secondary infect
ion threats. Most time sows that have been infected build up an immunity to it and even if the virus continues to circulate, through studies, it shows that there are not many that get reinfected and not as large of outbreaks.


Today there are two tests you can use to see if your herd has a trace of PRRS or not. The two tests are called PCR and ELISA. The ELISA test on a small population is not always as accurate and can give false feedback. To use this test you need to find samples from at least a doIngelvacPRRS_MLV_VacBottleBoxzen to two dozen mature pigs. Once you have identified that there is a PRRS outbreak in your herd PCR testing on individual pigs can be done to show evidence of viral DNA. All the tests done are by taking simple blood tests. Even if you do not have PRRS you are not out of deep water yet. Any herd is susceptible at any time. Yes, bio security plays a huge roll in preventing the contamination of your herd and the healthier the herd the better off you are but that does not guarantee anything nowadays. With modern technology and medicine we have the opportunity to vaccinate pigs for PRRS. If you find you have an outbreak try to isolate those pigs in a off site building. The last thing is to try and buy seed stock from PRRS free herds.


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