Researchers Investigate Cause of Ear Tip Necrosis

Farmscape for May 12, 2021

Full Interview 14:28 Listen

Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine report progress in identifying the factors that cause ear tip necrosis.
Ear tip necrosis is a common condition that typically affects pigs after weaning were the tip of the ear turns necrotic leading to partial or complete loss of the ear and, while there have been multiple theories, the cause is unknown. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct professor with Utrecht University, says, using samples collected from infected pigs, scientists were able to replicate the initial lesions under a controlled environment for the first time.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
We seem to have a model at least to start exploring and looking deeper into this question. One of the findings we had is that in our lesions, what wee used for the inoculum, we could not identify any relevant viruses. We did not identify PCV2, we did not identify PRRS virus or any other relevant swine virus but we did identify a group of bacteria that could easily be suggested as pathogenic.
We don’t know if one of those alone is the main trigger here but there were different bacteria that we detected and they all seem to have the tools to initiate the lesion so that’s very exciting. We may be moving toward something here. It’s really a matter of exploring A, which one of those bacteria or what group of bacteria are required for these initial lesions and B, what other triggers are necessary to continue on with the disease so that it cornifies to the point that there is actual ear loss.

Dr. Costa acknowledges the animal health implications of ear necrosis is minimal and it doesn’t tend to impact performance but it has animal welfare implications that need to be addressed.

For more visit Farmscape.Ca. Bruce Cochrane.