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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Animal Science

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Published Version

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Translational Animal Science





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Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus is a major swine virus that causes reproductive impairment in sows, as well as respiratory disease, reduction in growth rates, and mortalities in all ages of pigs. The objective of this study was to quantify the impact PRRS has on grower-finisher pig feed efficiency and tissue accretion rates. Thirty PRRS naïve, littermate pairs of maternal line Choice Genetics gilts (33.6 ± 0.58 kg BW) were selected and pairs split across 2 barns consisting of 5 pens (n = 6 pigs/pen per barn). Pigs in both barns were fed corn-soybean-DDGS diets ad libitum. All pigs in one barn were inoculated (CHAL) via an i.m. injection of a live PRRS strain isolated from the region (0 d post inoculation, dpi), while pigs in the other barn were given a saline control injection (CONT). Pig performance (ADG, ADFI, G:F) was assessed from 35 kg BW until each group reached market BW (128 kg). Additionally, longitudinal apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) and body composition was assessed using Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) post inoculation (dpi) to estimate lean, protein, fat and bone accretion rates. Serological data from CHAL pigs showed that PRRS titers peaked 7 dpi and these pigs seroconverted by 35 dpi. According to both genomic and protein PRRS titers, CONT pigs were naïve to CHAL throughout the study. The PRRS infection reduced (P < 0.001) ATTD of dry matter, energy and nitrogen by 3 to 5% at 21 dpi and the reduction in ATTD persisted after 65 dpi. Compared to the CONT, CHAL pigs had decreased ADG (0.89 vs. 0.80 kg/d, P < 0.001), ADFI (2.05 vs. 1.93 kg/d, P < 0.001), and G:F (0.44 vs. 0.41 kg/d, P < 0.001) over the entire test period. The CHAL pigs also had attenuated DXA predicted whole body accretion of lean (547 vs. 633 g/d, P = 0.001), protein (109 vs. 126 g/d, P = 0.001) and fat (169 vs. 205 g/d, P = 0.001) compared to their CONT counterparts from dpi 0 to 80. Based on carcass data at slaughter (and consistent with the DXA data), CHAL pigs had leaner carcasses and reduced yields. These data clearly demonstrate that PRRS infection reduces digestibility, feed efficiency and protein accretion rates in grower-finisher pigs.


This article is published as Schweer, W., K. Schwartz, J. F. Patience, L. Karriker, C. Sparks, M. Weaver, M. Fitzsimmons, Thomas E. Burkey, and N. K. Gabler. "Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus reduces feed efficiency, digestibility, and lean tissue accretion in grow-finish pigs." Translational Animal Science 1, no. 4 (2017): 480-488. DOI: 10.2527/tas2017.0054. Posted with permission.

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American Society of Animal Science



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