Implement 10 steps to fight PRRSV in hogs

The onset of cold weather is not only prime time for people to catch colds, but is also when the likelihood of livestock, such as pigs, catching diseases increases, says Mark Whitney, swine specialist with University of Minnesota Extension.

Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome Virus is the most costly disease affecting the North American pig industry. It costs producers in the U.S. alone more than $1.5 million a day, Whitney says.

Key Points

Clean and dry the load-in and load-out areas on your farm.

Everyone entering the barn should wear clean clothing and boots.

Maintain a barrier between clean and dirty areas of the farm.


Although PRRSV happens year-round, Whitney says veterinarians and producers see the most infections during the cold-weather season. Remember the following:

PRRSV likes it cold and humid.

PRRSV survives well on equipment that is still wet and hasn’t been cleaned and dried.

PRRSV is a social beast and likes to visit you and your neighbor. Keep in mind that contaminated aerosols are an important source of virus, but transport equipment and introduction of contaminated materials are also very important sources.

Whitney offers this top 10 list for PRRSV prevention:

Clean, disinfect, dry and inspect all pig transport equipment prior to entering your farm.

Keep load-in and load-out areas clean and dry after each pig movement.

Ensure that all replacement animals enter through a quarantine unit and that they are tested prior to mixing them with your animals.

Keep doors locked when not in use and keep unnecessary visitors out.

Seal gaps and leaks in doors, cool cells and windows to decrease rodent entry.

Disinfect all materials entering your farm.

Ensure that all personnel either shower or change clothes and shoes prior to entering the farm,

Keep anteroom (lobby) of the farm and shower area clean and dry.

Maintain a barrier between the “clean” and “dirty” sides of the farm.

Dispose of dead pigs promptly and clean equipment after their disposal.

Whitney says to keep in mind that it is sometimes difficult to have a designated space (drying bay) to store trailers after washing in cold seasons. Freezing of outside trailers can occur, which neutralizes disinfectant efficacy.

“A little trick that Scott Dee, University of Minnesota, has shared and validated via testing is to mix your disinfectant in windshield washer fluid or a 10% propylene (not ethylene) glycol-to-water mix,” Whitney says. “Both preparations will allow disinfectants to work longer secondary to reduction of freezing.”

When evaluating disinfectants effective against PRRSV, the ratio of Synergize to diluent should be 1 ounce per gallon, he says. In regards to cost, the propylene glycol option is cheaper.

This article published in the January, 2011 edition of THE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.