PEDv Guidelines for Pet Pigs
Dr John Carr
A pet pig over a month old will show signs of having uncontrolled diarrhea and vomiting for about three days, but then would start to recover quickly. While the signs are quite severe, it is unlikely for the pet pig to die from this virus. However, as with a lot of viruses the very young and very old are more likely to become very sick and other conditions may be exacerbated. Piglets less than 10 days of age are likely to die.
Once infected the pig will be immune for at least one year and possibly longer. If your adult pet pig shows signs of vomiting and diarrhea please contact your veterinarian for a treatment plan.
PED is present in many parts of the world and individual pigs kept at home are not a high-risk population. It should be considered like Norovirus in people, with good care, electrolytes, antidiarrheal treatments and love, the pig will feel pretty rotten but in a day or so will start to pull through.
At this point there is little we can do to stop the virus. There is a vaccine in the States, which you could try, but vaccines I have tried elsewhere have been of limited value.
However, if one of the pet pigs is pregnant and will not farrow for 3 weeks, she must be put with the sick pig and become sick herself, so that she can pass on the immunity in her milk. This will then protect her babies.
Vomiting and diarrhea suddenly in most of the pigs will raise alarms that the household may have Porcine Epide
mic Diarrhea virus.
Background history. This virus was first recognized in England in 1971 – I saw my first case when I was only 13 in 1972 and can still remember it well! There are two main types of PED – type 2 affects all pigs including piglets. It is likely there are many other – and these may have been in the States for many years. This current virus is very similar to a Chinese virus that has been causing problems in China for 2 years. It is out of control within the States and is likely to have to go through the population after which it will settle down. PED in England now is a none event, we get a few positive pigs a year. However, the immunity between strains is very poor and the Europeans are obviously concerned that the virus in the States may cross the Atlantic.
PED is a Coronavirus – because down the microscope it looks like the sun.
The PED virus down the electronmicroscope and a drawing of the main viral structures
The PED virus causes no problems in people or children.
We have a range of similar viruses which are associated
with the common cold.
While PEDv is quite resistant – the virus can live 2 weeks in the environment, it is also easily killed with soaps for example. So washing you hands before and after playing with the pigs is always a good biosecurity measure. Wash you boots in soaps and kee
p general hygiene good are all commonsense advice. Rescue places are most at risk because they have old and often compromised pigs which all need our help.
Keep dirty footwear away from our pigs