New needle free vaccine for pig disease

A new intradermal vaccine has been introduced by MSD Animal Health for PCV2 (Porcine circovirus type 2), one of the major diseases affecting pig producers in Ireland and worldwide.

Maureen Prendergast, veterinary adviser with MSD Animal Health, said that intradermal vaccination represents a major advance for animal well-being and involves less stress and pain in pigs and less risk of transmitting disease between pigs caused by needles.

No needle disposal and improved personal safety are other benefits of needle-free injection techniques.

“This unique IDAL (Intradermal Application of Liquids) system is the most advanced method for vaccinating pigs, allowing needle-free vaccination.

With intradermal vaccines already available for M. hyo (Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae) and PRRSV (Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus), the launch of the PCV2 vaccine means that pig producers now have the most advanced vaccination method, currently available to deal with three of the most important diseases affecting their business.

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Figure 1: The IDAL Injector

“The new PCV2 vaccine, given at three weeks of age or older, controls viraemia and subclinical PCV2 during the critical finishing period. Its duration of immunity is 23 weeks after vaccination,” she added.

Prendergast gave details of field trials which showed that the new intradermal vaccine did not inhibit piglet growth during the nursery period and provided protection against PCV2 during the finishing period.

It also increased overall average daily weight gain, had a favourable safety profile and led to a reduction in pig mortality.2

“The new intradermal vaccine involves the administration of a low volume (0.2ml) dose which is one-tenth of the usual volume for intramuscular vaccinations against these diseases. It eliminates the risk of broken needles which can result in needle fragments remaining in the tissues, and reduced the severity and frequency of injection site reactions.

The one-piece injector is easy to use and a large number of pigs can be vaccinated proficiently with the right dose every time, thereby reducing labour and increasing efficiency,’’ said Maureen.

Prendergast said PCV2 is ubiquitous and the virus replicates in individual pigs. Infections can produce clinical signs such as weight loss or failure to grow, enlarged lymph nodes, difficulty breathing, diarrhoea, pale skin and jaundice.

“The new intradermal vaccine is licensed for the active immunisation of pigs to reduce viraemia, virus load in lungs and lymphoid tissue, and virus shedding caused by PCV2 infection. It will also reduce the loss of daily weight gain and mortality associated with PCV2 infection.

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Figure 2: Piglets being vaccinated with the IDAL Injector

An advantage of the new vaccine is that it can be given concurrently with the intradermal vaccine for M. hyo. This means that animals only need to be handled once to protect against two major pig pathogens,’’ she said.

Infection with the bacterium Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in pigs causes a disease of the airways called enzootic pneumonia. Affected pigs often have a cough and fail to thrive.

PRRSV, the third major threat in pigs, is a virus that causes a disease called porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). It causes reproductive failure in breeding stock and respiratory tract illness in young pigs.