Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Feed carried PED to P.E.I.

Officials believe that the single case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) on Prince Edward Island developed from feed that contained imported blood plasma.

The same is apparently not true for the single case of PEDv in Manitoba.

Feed from Grand Valley Fortifiers at Cambridge is now thought to be the main source of the virus in Ontario where the toll now is 21 farms.

The 21st case turned up this week in Wentworth-Hamilton.

There are some Ontario farms that probably picked up the virus from another source, such as a contaminated livestock truck.

Grand Valley moved immediately to alert its customers and to stop using the spray-dried blood plasma from the United States in formulating its nursery-pig rations.

Dr, Doug McDougald of South West Veterinary Service in Stratford, and a leading member of the Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board and the Ontario Pork Industry Council, says that now that the feed source has been eliminated, he believes the virus can be contained across Ontario.

Not so in the United States where there have been about 3,000 farms infected since the first case in April, claiming more than one million piglets and affecting the North American hog market prices.

The virus is still in Ontario, so it will be in the manure of trucks hauling infected pigs to market. Until all those hogs have been slaughtered and the province is clear of the virus, high-level biosecurity protocols will be required to contain the highly-contagious and deadly disease.

When it shows up in a sow barn or nursery pig operation, it typically kills all the piglets. Older pigs can survive after a period of severe diarrhea and vomiting.

One of the most effective, but expensive and difficult, biosecurity measures is thoroughly washing, disinfecting and drying livestock-hauling trailers and trucks. There aren’t enough facilities in Ontario to wash all hog-hauling livestock trailers, but more are being built with help from the provincial and federal governments.

The governments are also offering subsidies to hog farmers so they can step up biosecurity, such as well-separated facilities for disposing of pigs that die of the disease. 

Deadstock-hauling livestock trucks are supposed to avoid any contact with healthy hog barns and staff which means pickup bins should be well away from the barn and staff should approach from the opposite side of deadstock pickup trucks and staff.

The disease survives well in cold weather, meaning the unseasonably cold weather now has increased the challenges of containing the virus.