The virus has similar symptoms as porcine epidemic diarrhea and can cause high mortality in piglets
By Jackie Clark
Swine health officials have identified another member of the coronavirus family that can impact piglets, sows, weaners, growers and finishing pigs in Ontario.
“On December 24th 2020, a positive PDCoV case had been confirmed in a finishing barn in Huron County,” Swine Health Ontario (SHO) officials said in an e-mail statement to Farms.com. PDCoV is porcine deltacoronavirus and belongs “to the same viral family as porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) and transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE). The symptoms of PDCoV are indistinguishable from those of PED or TGE, although tend to be less severe than PED.”
The virus can impact pigs differently depending on sex and age, though most can experience gastrointestinal distress.
“PDCoV damages the lining of the gut in swine, causing diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. It can cause piglet mortality in severe cases, but not to the same extent as that of PED,” according to the statement from SHO. Affected nursing piglets may appear skinny and experience high mortality, and sows may go off feed. Weaners and growers may also reduce feed intake along with “acute, watery diarrhea with no blood or mucus.”
The virus “can cause very mild clinical signs in finisher pigs. Any level of abnormal diarrhea, that may only last a few days. Do not expect any increase in mortality,” said SHO. “As long as animals have free access to water, fluid support and in some cases electrolytes clinical signs will typically subside in 7-10 days.”
For the case detected in Huron county “containment measures are in place and an elimination protocol has been designed,” said the SHO statement. “The veterinarian and producer are working closely.”
As of “March 2020, SHO took over monitoring activities for PED/PDCoV/TGE in the province in collaboration with the Ontario veterinarians and the Animal Health Lab. SHO will be reporting all cases on our website,” they added.
To protect their herds from PDCoV, producers should review biosecurity protocols and the importance of monitoring for clinical signs with farm employees, SHO officials said. Farmers should reiterate biosecurity protocols with all suppliers and contractors that visit their site, “ensure all trucks that are allowed on their farm are washed, disinfected and dried before arrival (and minimize) the need to pick up pigs from multiple locations.”
Veterinarians should be notified immediately of any abnormal clinicals signs.
When dealing with PDCoV “eradication will always be the goal,” said the statement from SHO. “There is no specific treatment to improve because it is a virus. Focus has to be placed on equal exposure across all animals on a farm and adequate closure of herd ensuring no new susceptible animals enter the herd.”
National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff. Des Moines, IA USA photo