“The ready-to-use combination vaccine has meant significant labour saving advantages. On top of that, my pigs are performing better.”
This is the verdict of Cork pig producer Dick Kingston on the ready-to-use combination vaccine that protects against two of the most serious diseases in pigs.
The innovative vaccine, Porcilis PCV M Hyo, was launched by MSD Animal Health in 2015. It protects against PCV2 (Porcine circovirus type 2) and M. hyo (Mycoplasma hypopneumoniae) both of which can have devastating effects on health, performance and profitability in pig production.
A 2ml intramuscular dose of the vaccine given to pigs at three weeks of age gives protection against PCV2 for 22 weeks and against M. hyo for 21 weeks. This takes pigs through the critical growing and finishing period.Dick Kingston, who runs a 350-sow integrated unit at Dunmanway, Co Cork, has been using Porcilis PCV M Hyo for the past six months.
“We were using two separate vaccines before this. With this ready-to-use vaccine, vaccination time is cut in half without impacting on performance. This has taken around five hours per week off our labour load, which is huge. The fact that we are handling pigs less and injecting less means much lower stress, which is obviously great for welfare and performance,” he said.
Of further economic significance, Dick has seen live weight gain of pigs in the finisher house increase by around 7% since the introduction of the combined vaccination regime. Average daily gain has gone from 900g/day to 960g/day in the fattener house.
Dick uses specially chosen genetics on his farm and says he gets fantastic results. Litter size is an impressive 13.7 pigs born alive and weaning rate at four weeks of age is 12.1 pigs/sow.
Porcilis PCV M Hyo is the first vaccine of its kind to be approved in Europe and has been hailed by European farmers as a major breakthrough in the fight against two of the most serious disease threats in pigs.
“M. hyo causes pneumonia while PCV2 severely suppresses the immune system of pigs. Combined infection of these two pathogens has a major impact on health leading to reduced weight gain and considerable losses in pigs,” said Maureen Prendergast, veterinary adviser with MSD Animal Health.
“PCV2 is such a ubiquitous virus that up to 100% of pigs can be positive to the disease. Severe infection can result in mortality of up to 80%. Even apparently healthy pigs suffer from poor performance. Infected pigs are susceptible to other diseases. The efficacy of vaccination programmes may also be reduced.
“M. hyo is the primary initiator of enzootic pneumonia, a widespread and chronic disease in pig herds. If not controlled, it can become endemic. It is also frequently complicated by other mycoplasmas, bacteria and viruses that can increase the severity of the disease,” added Maureen.