A free, comprehensive, diagnostic package has been launched this March to help pig farmers identify and tackle Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus.

Developed by MSD Animal Health UK, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, the free toolkit gives farms the opportunity to receive robust data detailing the PRRS status of their herd alongside bespoke advice on controlling and preventing the disease.

Dr Rubén Del Pozo Sacristán, technical manager for pigs at MSD Animal Health UK, is leading the programme, known as PRRS Check, which involves the collaboration with Sci-Tech laboratory and the APHA.

Explaining the reasoning behind the launch of PRRS Check, Dr Del Pozo Sacristán highlights the need to determine the PRRS status of a herd prior to designing an action plan to control the disease.

“PRRS virus is endemic in the UK with many farms likely to fall victim to the virus at some point during production. However, in order to control and prevent this disease, we need to ensure an awareness of the PRRS status of a herd is known and understood, hence the reason for creating PRRS Check.”

“As a result, we’ve launched our March PRRS Check Month initiative to support producers and the wider industry in combatting this challenging disease.”

“Following guidance provided by MSD Animal Health UK on the samples required, producers will work alongside their vet to collect blood and saliva samples from their herd. Completion of an online form covering aspects such as the farm background, clinical symptoms displayed in the pigs, and any vaccination programmes undertaken will also be required.

“The samples will be analysed in a laboratory following which MSD Animal Health technical team will provide an extensive report detailing the PRRS status of the herd. Working in collaboration with producers and their vets, appropriate and tailored advice will be given to each individual farm to help control the disease,” concludes Dr Del Pozo Sacristán.

The free toolkit can be accessed by all UK pig farms who meet the minimum pig number criteria – at least 250 sows, 2,500 piglets or 1,700 finishers. For more information, contact your MSD Animal Health account manager, or click here https://www.msd-animal-health-hub.co.uk/ahp/prrs-check.