Researchers Track the Movement of PRRS from the Sow to the Fetus

Farmscape for October 2, 2020

Full Interview 18:29 Listen

Research being conducted by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine is shedding new light on the mechanisms that result in the loss of fetuses among sows infected by the virus responsible for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome. Scientists with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are looking at the effect of pathogens that infect the uterus of the sow, focussing on Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, on both the sow and her offspring. Dr. Carol Malgarin, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD candidate with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, explains pregnant gilts were inoculated with PRRS at day 85 of gestation and the pathogen was tracked as it moved to their offspring.

Clip-Dr. Carol Malgarin-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
We started to euthanize and collect samples in different timepoints after the inoculation, so we had five different timepoints.
With that we saw the pathway that this virus was crossing and getting from the mother to the fetus. We saw that the first fetal sample that was positive for the virus was the serum, so from the blood of the fetus, by five days post infection. For the mother the endometrium and placenta are already infected by two days post infection so that was faster than we were expecting but it shows that the virus does infect first the endometrial tissues then the placenta and then goes to the fetal serum then it goes to the fetal thymus and there is where the virus really increases its replication and makes home in the fetus.

Dr. Malgarin says the information gathered through this research will be used primarily by scientists as they develop new strategies to reduce the losses associated with PRRS.

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