Pro Tips for Powerful Scour Prevention

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Rein in rotavirus while staying sapovirus savvy

Rotaviruses continue to be a widespread cause of diarrhea and production losses in suckling and post-weaning pigs.  Recently, however, another type of virus – porcine sapovirus, has also been shown to cause diarrhea in suckling pigs. Both viruses can cause diarrhea-related production losses of as much as 0.5 to 2 pounds at weaning.1,2 We continue to learn alongside our customers and academic partners about the genetic diversity of porcine sapoviruses and rotaviruses and their impacts on swine production.

Further complicating the clinical picture, rotaviruses and sapoviruses can be present on a farm together. A recent presentation at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual conference showed that rotavirus and sapovirus, when present on the farm at the same time, tend to cause clinical diarrhea at different age ranges during the pre-weaning period.3 Rotavirus diarrhea frequently appears in the early nursing phase, followed by sapovirus diarrhea during mid-lactation. Our recent podcast provides a clinical snapshot of sapovirus on the farm level, and points out the resemblance of sapovirus diarrhea to both rotavirus and to the diarrhea caused by coccidiosis, as both sapovirus and coccidiosis can appear on the farm as loose, pasty stools in the affected pigs.

Take control – don’t let scours sap the potential out of your pigs

Prevention is crucial and Merck Animal Health is here to help. If scours are present, it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the right path forward. Whether the cause of diarrhea is determined to be sapovirus, rotavirus, or perhaps both, our team can analyze the sequence information using the SEQUIVITY® Dashboard and create a vaccine solution tailored to your herd’s specific needs.

The Dashboard technology uses genetic sequences to analyze the diversity of the virus as well as location of different strains. This tool aids the veterinarian in the selection of the most relevant rotavirus or sapovirus strains for inclusion in prescription vaccines.

To learn more about SEQUIVITY and to find answers to your herd health challenges, visit SEQUIVITY.com or contact your local Merck Animal Health sales representative.

1 Shen H, Zhang J, Gauger PC, et al. Genetic characterization of porcine sapoviruses isolated from pigs during a diarrhea outbreak in Iowa, 2019. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 2021 Mar. DOI: 10.1111/tbed.14087.

2 Anderson AV, Madigan J, Holtkamp D, et al. Evaluating natural planned exposure protocols on rotavirus shedding patterns in gilts and the impact on their suckling pigs. AASV 2018; 64-66.

3 Anderson AV, Burton B. Determination of porcine sapovirus prevalence and clinical correlation in suckling pigs. 2021 AASV Annual Meeting Student Presentation.