Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea

Extension and Advisory Team
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea
A concern for everyone with pigs and anyone working with the
hog industry!
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) first showed up in North America
in May of 2013. Since that time it has spread across the USA to 23
states, and in late January of 2014, the first cases were identified in
PED is a highly contagious, deadly, pig virus that spreads rapidly from
one herd to another. It can cause up to 100% mortality in suckling
piglets, and very significant production losses in older pigs. The virus
appears to have originated in China and unfortunately the pig herds in
Nova Scotia and the rest of North America have no natural immunity
to this virus. There is no effective treatment. Once a herd is infected
there is little that can be done except wait it out and suffer huge
This disease is similar to TGE (Transmissible Gastroenteritis). The
virus is an aggressive strain causing widespread watery diarrhea in all
ages, and up to 100% mortality in nursing pigs. Other ages of pigs are
affected as well, although not as severely as nursing piglets.
A useful website for more information on PED can be found at
It is important to note that PED poses no human health concerns.
PED is spread via manure, through contact with sick pigs, from dirty
transport trucks and people with contaminated clothing or footwear.
The virus is able to survive very well in a cold, wet environment.
Although sunlight and heat will partially destroy it, freezing will not.
Wintertime spread of the virus is compounded by the ice and snow,
making truck clean-out even more critical.
“Be responsible. Help ensure that
the Nova Scotia pork industry is
protected from an outbreak of
Practice good biosecurity on your farm to protect
your livestock and your investment
In order to limit your herd’s exposure to the PED virus,
and protect your farm from this pathogen, you need
to consider improving your farm’s biosecurity. Good
biosecurity is the key to stopping the spread of this
disease. If you do not have a biosecurity program in
place, it is vital that you act today. The safety of your
pigs and your livelihood is at risk every second that
you delay acting.
Biosecurity information is available at the web sites:
Additional information and support is available from
Perennia by calling (902) 896- 0277.
b) Establish a controlled access zone (CAZ) around
your buildings with visual indicators and fences if
c) Establish a restricted access zone (RAZ) and allow only necessary personnel into the area.
d) Provide separate areas of access for farm equipment and service providers
e) Dedicate separate clothing and footwear for use
within the RAZ.
e) Respect one-way flow of traffic from most susceptible to least susceptible stock.
3) Ensure that you are purchasing replacement pigs
from a known supplier who will ensure the health
status of the pigs.
4) Do not allow an unwashed trailer or truck to back
up to the loading and unloading area at your barn.
Ensure that the transport vehicle is washed and disinfected.
Use a shuttle vehicle to allow truck to truck transfer of
pigs off farm. Ensure that the shuttle vehicle is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before it is re-used.
Protect your farm and the pork industry in Nova
5) Know the quality and source of all incoming feed
1) Monitor your pigs closely and report any unusual
diarrhea or pig mortality immediately to your veterinarian. If you do not have a regular vet, contact one
immediately and establish a working relationship with
them! If you believe you may have a potential case of
PED, either contact your vet (who has been given the
information and necessary Viral Transport Swabs to
take the appropriate samples), or contact the Animal
Health Laboratory (902)893-6540 and ask to speak to
either the Pathologist or Program Veterinarian. Testing of piglets with diarrhea and vomiting requires only
refrigerated fecal swabs in viral transport media, not
whole pigs sent to the lab.
6) Dead Stock Handling:
Sending whole animals to the laboratory for testing
is discouraged as there is risk of spreading the disease.
2) Farm access:
a) Implement strict biosecurity and ensure family, staff and visitors follow all procedures that you
a) Make sure that you have an accurate diagnosis
before disposal. Contact your vet.
b) Handle dead stock carefully, and dispose of it
in an appropriate manner (if possible, on farm).
The use of a dead stock hauler is discouraged
due to the risk of spreading the virus beyond the
farm. Since the majority of mortalities from the
PED virus are baby pigs and weaners, composting
is strongly encouraged. Burial is also acceptable if
done properly: within 24 hours, under a minimum
of 2 feet of soil, and at least 100 feet from a water
course. Incineration may be possible, but only by
permit from the Department of Environment.
c) Move dead stock at the end of the day to disposal area.
d) Wash and disinfect farm equipment/vehicles
used to transfer carcasses to the disposal site.
7) Cull Animals:
Do not send compromised animals and/or pigs showing clinical signs of PED through the cull market.
8) Processing:
a) For producers transporting their own pigs to
local abattoir facilities, use designated boots for
transport (that are not used in the barn) and
ensure that the truck and trailer is washed and
disinfected before it returns to the farm.
b) Do not send pigs showing clinical signs of PED
to the abattoir or slaughter plant until such time as
the industry can divert PED-positive pigs through
separate channels than PED-free herds.
Don’t assume that your farm will remain PED
-free! Act now to protect your herd.
For more information, contact:
Perennia Extension and Advisory Services Team
Tel: 1-866-606-4636
Email: [email protected]
Brad McCallum
Agri Commodity Management Association
Tel: (902) 893-2293
Email: [email protected]
Canadian Swine Health Board
Tel: (613) 230-4445
Email: [email protected]
Feb. 2014