PCV3 in the Swine Herd: What Can Be Done Today?

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

Was it a blessing or a curse to serve as the veterinarian to one of the first farms to discover a high incidence rate of porcine circovirus Type 3 (PCV3), questions Chris Sievers, DVM? PCV3 was first identified in U.S. swine herds in 2016 and has been baffling the industry since.

PCV3 has been associated with reproductive failure, increased mummified and stillborn fetuses, which results in decreased litter size. Although there are still many unknowns about this virus, Sievers, a veterinarian with Swine Vet Center, offered his thoughts on what producers can do when it comes to this fairly new disease at Carthage’s 29th Annual Swine Health and Production Conference.

1. First, find out if PCV3 is present in your herd.
Use diagnostics to determine if you have PCV3 in your flow, he advises. Identify if you have issues with mummies or conception rates. If so, do a complete mummy workup and send in samples of processing fluids, serum and nursery tissues to your diagnostic lab.

2. If PCV3 is present at a high level, consider using a vaccine.
Sievers says he used Merck’s Sequivity platform, a RP vaccine, on approximately 10 herds with high levels of PCV3 and clinical disease. He says the general protocol has been whole herd administration – 2 doses, 3 weeks apart and continued in gilts. 

On a 4,400 commercial sow farm that Sievers works closely with, they have been testing pigs weekly for eight months since administering the vaccine. 

“The vaccine did a good job of stabilizing the herd for PCV3. Unfortunately, that herd still has 5% mummies and that is what we were targeting. However, the herd has been stabilized and we are not finding PCV3 in mummy workups. We’ve had only two positive tests out of the last five months of sampling processing fluids that were positive for PCV3.”

Although he's not sure if it’s related, he says nursery performance and specifically average daily gain have improved. 

“Continued diagnostics and work-ups will be done on PCV3 to understand its role as a potential pathogen in swine,” Sievers says.

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