A study from Denmark has confirmed previous findings that vaccinating with Circovac can improve the reproductive performance of sows by up to one piglet per litter. Presented at Merial’s Swine Forum in Budapest, the research also showed that a vaccination programme to control PCV2 can help to reduce antibiotic use.
Dr Dorte Risum from the Porcus Swine Practice in Denmark presented the findings of a study on a 220-sow farm that had Mycoplasma but no PRRS or AP. In the autumn of 2009, problems were experienced with discharge post-farrowing, and there was an increase in the number of stillbirths from 1.4 to 2.0 per litter. The number of live births remained unchanged at 14.9 per litter.
Improved post-farrowing management and treatment with penicillin solved the discharge problem, but didn’t have any effect on the number of live or stillbirths. In the same period, despite high growth rates, weaners became less uniform in size and antimicrobials were being increasingly used to try to address these health issues.
Blood samples were negative for PRRS and Leptospirosis. PCV2 was suspected and it was decided to vaccinate all sows and gilts against PCV2 with Circovac, a two-shot vaccine approved for sow and gilt vaccination. Sows were vaccinated six and three weeks prior to farrowing, while gilts were vaccinated with Circovac six and three weeks prior to breeding.
After vaccination, the live-born rates rose from 14.9 to 15.8, and stillbirths reduced from 2.0 to 1.5 per litter. When piglets from vaccinated sows were weaned, they were more even in size and as a consequence the use of antimicrobials declined.
Merial Animal Health’s head of large animal business, Findlay MacBean, said the results from the study were consistent with similar studies carried out in the UK that demonstrated vaccinating sows against PCV2 could result in an extra piglet per sow per litter.