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PRRS: Understanding Risks

PRRS: Understanding Risks

When a swine disease strikes, you want helpful information immediately. Fortunately, there’s SOURCE, a systematic approach to disease control, prevention and management using a step-by-step process developed by Boehringer Ingelheim.

It is important to understand all the risks you and your operation face against PRRS – “understand risks” is the third step in the SOURCE process. Today’s pig industry is highly mobile. Pigs are moved from farm to farm, barn to barn, and even across state lines. The better you understand the risks, the better you can take steps to reduce or eliminate them.

Below is a series of questions about potential PRRS risk areas on your farm. Review the questions with your veterinarian and he/she ccan help you determine your level of risk and help you develop a customized plan for reducing PRRS risk in the future.

  • Restate your goals; do you want to eliminate, diminish or prevent PED?
  • Do you only cross-foster piglets when treat space is needed?
  • Do you move all pigs out of the farrowing room at the same time (e.g., no moving pigs/sows between rooms, no holding pigs back at weaning)?
  • Do you leave two to three days for cleaning and disinfecting after piglets are moved out?
  • Do you change needles and gloves and disinfect processing equipment between every litter?
  • Do you conduct feedback of weak-born, aborted or stillborn fetuses or manure to gestating females?
  • Do you wash and disinfect hallways post-weaning prior to loading farrowing rooms?
  • Do you have an ongoing immunity (e.g., vaccination, exposure) and virus transmission management plan in place?
  • If yes, do you use vaccine?
  • If yes, do you use live virus inoculation (LVI)?
  • Are your replacement animals PRRS-positive, -negative or is their status unknown?
  • Is there a quarantine/isolation period for incoming replacement gilts/animals?
  • If yes, how long?
  • Do you have a written biosecurity plan with protocols?
  • Do you perform biosecurity audits?
  • Yes. If so how often?
  • Do you have shower-in/shower-out facilities?
  • Do you have a designated area for contaminated clothing, boots, supplies and other materials?
  • Have you established a Line of Separation (also known as the “clean/dirty line”; marks inside of farm from outside of farm) on your farm?
  • Does vehicular traffic coming on and off your farm – including load-out and feed trucks -  adhere to the Line of Separation and biosecurity protocols?
  • Do you have an established protocol for disinfecting market hog vehicles?
  • Do you use dedicated trailers for movement of pigs (e.g., replacement gilt trailers, weaned-pig trailers, cull animal trailers)?
  • Do you clean and maintain the dedicated trailers using all applicable biosecurity protocols?
  • Are all vehicles sanitized if they cross the Line of Separation, both prior to arriving and after departure?
  • All movement of pigs on and off the farm has been accurately recorded.
  • When disinfecting, hot water and an effective virucidal disinfectant are used, and adequate drying time is allowed.
  • Do you have pig neighbors in close proximity (i.e., located 4 miles away or less)?
  • Do you purchase semen from boar studs that have tested negative for PRRS and regularly monitor their PRRS status?
  • Do you disinfect all incoming farm supplies (a minimum of two hours contact time prior to introduction)?
  • Do you have a room specified for disinfection and drying (D&D room)?
  • Is there an insect or rodent control plan in place?
  • Is equipment or tools used to move or store manure disinfected immediately after use?
  • When using an outside manure hauler, which of the following protocols are strictly followed? (Check all that apply.)
  • Is there a proper Animal Disposal Unit on the farm?
  • Do you have an air filtration system on your farm?
  • If you answered yes to the previous question
    • Do you have a “double door” entry/exit system, including an exhaust fan?
    • Have you identified and sealed all potential air leaks (e.g., cracks in the building or around windows, doors, shutters, fans)?
  • Do you share any equipment, vehicles or other materials with neighboring farms?
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