Chase Cerbin, Staff Writer (ccerbin@wwc)
The virus that was spreading among the grower pigs at the Warren Wilson Farm appears to be contained.
“A couple [of the grower pigs] started getting sick,” said senior Kelsey Chandler, a member of the Pig Crew at the farm.
“They had swollen eyelids and they were weak. They had a loss of appetite, they lost weight and they were having diarrhea.”
A grower pig is a weaned pig. A grower pig will eventually be slaughtered and turned into meat. Warren Wilson has 40 grower pigs from a variety of litters. This makes them more susceptible to viruses.
Once the crew noticed that the grower pigs were getting sick, they immediately began isolating them from the rest of the group.
“Out of out of our 40 pigs, we had eight get sick or die,” said Chandler. “We had a vet come in and try to give them antibiotics, but that did not work. Nothing seemed to be working.”
The farm sent pigs to a lab for testing, but at first, no definite diagnoses could be made. The veterinarians did find many stomach ulcers, but that is common.
“[On Dec. 2,] we got our first conclusive results back the lab,” said Chandler. “The pigs had circovirus.”
Circoviruses are a family of viruses: porcine circovirus type two, PCV2, is a specific strain which is known to infect and cause disease in pigs. There is no vaccine for it yet.
According to the National Pork Board and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, “circovirus associated diseases of swine are of increasing concern to producers around the world. Much remains unknown concerning the transmission, pathogenesis, epidemiology, and control of risk factors involved in the expression of circovirus.”
Luckily, the virus plaguing the Warren Wilson farm seems to have been contained.
“We have it pretty much under control now,” said Chandler. “It is pretty common for it to come in an outbreak like we saw, but we think it is on the decline.”
The farm does not expect this outbreak to affect meat sales.