There are a number of swine diseases of national importance that can affect the health of pigs and their productivity. The two most common swine diseases in the United States are Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD). PRRS is an infectious viral disease that affects the reproductive and respiratory systems of pigs. It causes stillbirths, abortions, infertility, as well as severe respiratory symptoms such as coughing and labored breathing in adult pigs. PCVAD is a virus-associated disease caused by either porcine circovirus type 1 or type 2. It is characterized by clinical signs like anorexia, depression, depression of growth rate, increased mortality rate, pneumonia-like lesions in the lungs, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), jaundice (yellow discoloration in skin), lymphoid depletion (decrease in number of white blood cells), enlargement of lymph nodes, and edema (swelling) around joints.
Both PRRS and PCVAD are highly contagious among pigs at any age or stage of development. There is currently no vaccine available to prevent these diseases. Management strategies include vaccinating sows against PRRS prior to breeding, reducing stressors on animals, improving hygiene protocols in housing facilities, increasing biosecurity measures to reduce transmission from other farms or wildlife sources, limiting contact with sick animals or those that have come into contact with them, providing proper nutrition and vaccinations when appropriate. Additionally, using separate housing for infected animals is important to reduce spread within herds. Treatments for both diseases include antibiotics to reduce secondary bacterial infections as well as supportive care to restore healthy pig physiology including electrolyte supplementation as needed. In summary, understanding these two common swine diseases and taking preventive measures can help farmers keep their herd healthy and productive.
Visit the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website below to learn more about swine diseases of national importance.