Three pig diseases to watch for

Three diseases affecting finishing hogs - Senecavirus A (SVA), porcine sapelovirus and erysipelas - have undergone changes over the past year that warrant attention, according to Dr. Aaron Lower at Carthage Veterinary Service.

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Three diseases affecting finishing hogs – Senecavirus A (SVA), porcine sapelovirus and erysipelas – have undergone changes over the past year that warrant attention, according to Dr. Aaron Lower at Carthage Veterinary Service.

“We’ve been sporadically identifying all three of these over the past year,” he said. “Generally, the economic impact has been minimal, but the risk is relatively high with all three.”

SVA “isn’t a large-impact disease, but it is very disruptive to you and your packer,” he said. It appears to be in decline and most outbreaks occur between July and November.

“My belief is these pigs show up with lesions when we put them under a lot of stress – heat stress and marketing stress,” he said. “This makes us wonder if the virus may be more widespread than we thought; it just takes a certain set of co-infections or stressors to show up as a clinical virus.”

Until he saw porcine sapelovirus, Lower said he didn’t believe the neurological virus existed. It is real, however, and on the increase, though still very low in incidence.

“The virus is found in both healthy and diseased animals,” Lower said. “Identification of the virus doesn’t mean you will have clinical signs. When it moves to clinical cases, you will see diarrhea, stillborns, mummies.”

The virus also can cause neurological damage including a complete loss of body movement.

Once they start on this progression he said they all die.

“They don’t respond to treatment and all must be euthanized.

Lower recommends obtaining a diagnosis using one of the euthanized pigs.

“There’s a lot to learn on this virus,” he said.

Erysipelas cases have started increasing in number, he said.

“Because we don’t see much erysipelas, a lot of [pig] flows don’t vaccinate in grow-finish because they haven’t been able to justify it.”

The key to minimizing the impact of erysipelas and other finishing diseases is early identification followed by fast treatment.

“Make sure you’ve got it identified correctly and communicate with your team and packers with respect to the clinical descriptions and the problem,” Lower said.

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