Pigs Can Get Parvo, Too!
Pigs Can Get Parvo, Too!
Did you know that pigs can get Parvo, too? However, unlike the virus that affects dogs, the Parvovirus that infects pigs, known as the Porcine Parvovirus or PPV, causes a condition called infectious infertility. PPV is an incredibly tough virus and is considered one of the leading causes of small litters and stillbirths in pigs.
The robust nature of PPV allows it to survive in the environment longer than most Parvoviruses and it’s almost always certain to be present in large herds. It’s for that reason that pig owners mainly focus on managing the infection rather than getting rid of it.
How Does It Spread?
Just like the Canine Parvovirus, the Porcine Parvovirus is shed in the feces and bodily secretion of infected pigs. Pigs that have the virus remain contagious for up to two weeks following initial infection. Most of the time, healthy pigs contract the virus from the sick ones through snout-to-snout contact or during mating. However, an infected mother pig can also pass PPV to her offspring through the placenta at any point in her pregnancy. The virus may infect some, or all, of her babies.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Infection?
Since PPV infection typically has no outward signs and symptoms, it’s almost impossible to determine whether or not they’re infected just by looking at them. Most pig owners are only able to spot an infection after a pig has given birth. Pigs that have the virus will either have a small litter or give birth to mummified piglets. It’s also possible for infected pigs to test positive for pregnancy but fail to produce offspring. That can happen if a pregnant pig becomes infected too early in the pregnancy. In rare cases, abortions may happen.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Generally, immunofluorescent microscopy is often initially done to check for any PPV antigens in the lungs of mummified fetuses that are less than 16 centimeters long. Larger fetuses can’t be used since they may have already developed antibodies that can interfere with the results of the procedure.
Hemagglutination and hemagglutination inhibition tests can also be used to identify and isolate the virus. However, these processes are more difficult and time-consuming compared to the first one, so both diagnostic procedures are rarely done.
Another way to diagnose PPV infection in pigs is serology. The procedure uses the blood sera, which are the proteins that separate from the blood when coagulated, of stillborn or young live pigs to identify the presence of the virus.
How Is It Treated?
Unfortunately, there’s no available treatment for PPV infection in pigs. The only way to control infection is through management and prevention. The good thing is, pigs that have been exposed to the virus will remain immune to it for the rest of their lives.
How Can It Be Prevented?
PPV infection in herds can be prevented through routine vaccination of new gilts and boars that would be entering the breeding herd. On top of that, it’s also advised that all pigs get boosters every year for added protection. However, female pigs that have been exposed to the virus before can fight off the infection even without routine vaccination.
If you currently have an unvaccinated herd and notice signs of PPV infection in some of the pigs, it’s best to get them checked for the virus. You should also get the rest of the pigs vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent the virus from spreading to the entire herd. In these cases, it’s very important to act fast since it takes the vaccine 10 days to take full effect.