BPEX is to fund PCR testing of faeces or intestinal contents from outbreaks of diarrhoea in any age of pig on premises in England and Wales to increase the chances of early detection of PEDv.
The test will also be carried as a matter of routine out on samples submitted to AHVLA from pigs with diarrhoea for chargeable diagnostic testing.
The free tests can be accessed by vets, who are being asked to pool samples of faeces or small- or large-intestine material from up to five piglets for the testing process, which will be carried out at AHVLA’s Weybridge premises. The PEDv PCR results will be reported back to the submitting veterinary practice.
Typically, virulent porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) occurs as an explosive outbreak of rapidly spreading diarrhoea with reduced appetite and lethargy, sometimes with vomiting, affecting all ages of pig and often causing high mortality (30-100%) in sucking (preweaned) piglets in litters from all parities of sow.
The diarrhoea may be watery and piglets rapidly dehydrate. Piglets may be found dead before diarrhoea is noticed, especially on outdoor units. High mortality in sucking pigs would be an early signal of virulent PED, but the diarrhoea may resemble other causes of enteric disease in older pigs.
Diarrhoea due to virulent PEDv in weaned and older pigs is transient and pigs recover but intercurrent infections such as salmonellosis could mean that more prolonged diarrhoea or deaths are seen in growing pigs. A poor response to antimicrobial treatment would be expected in preweaned piglets.
NB: Updated on July 11 to reflect the fact PEDv testing will take place at Weybridge, not Bury St Edmunds.