While looking over some of the headlines from the past week, it occurs to me that most pork producers are probably only one disease outbreak away from developing a healthy appreciation for their local vet school or veterinary diagnostic laboratory. As a child, I remember watching in complete fascination when our vet would come to our farm to “post” (conduct a postmortem) on a pig. I also remember hearing phrases like, “We’ll know more after we send this sample to Brookings.” South Dakota pork producers like my father have been lucky to have a resource such as the South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, located in Brookings, SD, at their disposal over the years.
Pork producers can rest assured that veterinary diagnostic labs and veterinary schools are still working awfully hard on their behalf. If you need further convincing, then take a look at some of the top headlines on our http://nationalhogfarmer.com/ website. One popular story this week announces the news that Kyoung-Jin Yoon, DVM, a professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State University, led a successful effort to develop a new diagnostic test for porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus. Previously, the virus could be detected only in acute cases while it was still reproducing and infecting a host pig. Unfortunately, those tests could give a false negative if the pig had stopped shedding the disease or if shedding had become intermittent.
The new test, called an immunofluorescence antibody or indirect fluorescent antibody assay is conducted using blood samples from pigs and will allow veterinarians and producers to know if a pig has ever had the disease in the past and whether it’s shedding the virus or not. It’s the first test that can detect PED virus antibodies. Learn more details from the story, “Iowa State Develops New PEDV Diagnostic Test.”
More good news from veterinary researchers in Ohio can be found in the article, “Innovative PRRS Vaccine Offers Protection, Safety.” A new porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) vaccine, developed by Ohio State University (OSU) researchers, uses biodegradable nanoparticles to deliver an inactivated virus intranasally.
Unlike the current live vaccines used to prevent PRRS, the new vaccine uses an inactivated virus to eliminate adverse reactions in pigs, such as abortion, sick piglets and further spread of the disease, said Renukaradhya (Aradhya) Gourapura, an associate professor in OSU's Food Animal Health Research Program (FAHRP), part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). Learn more by reading the story here.
At the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, approximately 150 PRRS viruses are sequenced every month as part of an ongoing effort to provide pork producers with information about the variations of PRRS virus types over time. Recently, the researchers have documented an apparent slowing in the evolution of the virus. Read more about this discovery at http://nationalhogfarmer.com/health/prrs-virus-evolution-slows.
These are just a few examples from the news in recent days. As battle lines are drawn in the war against pathogens such as the PED virus, some of the finest minds in the veterinary profession are working together on behalf of U.S. pork producers. I think it’s time for a pork industry shout-out to our animal health warriors. Thanks for your support!
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