The grapes of wrath a case study on post weaning multi systemic wasting syndrome
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The Grapes of Wrath: A Case Study on Post Weaning Multi-systemic Wasting Syndrome. Jennifer Richter, Laura Talaga, Courtney Low, Vi Nguyen , Morgan Tannenbaum, Erin Burton. Signs of a Healthy Piglet. Active & alert, with bright eyes and curious. Body temperature of 102.5° F Sleek haircoat

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The Grapes of Wrath: A Case Study on Post Weaning Multi-systemic Wasting Syndrome

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The Grapes of Wrath:A Case Study on Post Weaning Multi-systemic Wasting Syndrome

Jennifer Richter, Laura Talaga, Courtney Low,

Vi Nguyen , Morgan Tannenbaum, Erin Burton

Signs of a Healthy Piglet

  • Active & alert, with bright eyes and curious.

  • Body temperature of 102.5° F

  • Sleek haircoat

  • Tightly curled tails

  • Clean and dry

  • Strong appetite &

    weight gain

Healthy Piglet Weaning

  • Average Wean Age: 20-22 days

  • Average Wean Weight: 13-14 lbs

  • Growth during 1st week post weaning:

    • Pigs that grow 0.5 lb per day the 1st week of weaning were 17 lbs heavier at market

Feeding Post Weaning Piglets

  • First 7 days post weaning: critical period

  • Important to remember extreme nutritional changes occur at weaning!

  • Creep feeding recommended

    • Stimulates pig to eat (appetite) & helps find feed

    • Scatter 1lb feed per 30 heads on mat 4-6x daily

  • Gruel Feeding

    • Pigs having trouble starting

      on dry feed

      (water + commercial feed)

Managing Healthy Post Weaning Piglets

  • Water intake is critical

    • 1 nipple for 10 pigs or 1 bowl/trough per 20 pigs

    • Height of nipple: shoulder height of smallest piglet

  • Zone Heating

    • provides 82 0 F

    • Pigs lay 1 ½ “deep” =

      lie touching each other w/

      heads on neighbors flank

Identifying SICK piglets: careful observation is the key

Signs to look for:

  • Rough hair coat or fuzzy appearance

  • Sucked in flanks. Obvious empty belly.

  • Depressed or lethargic. Head down or droopy. Ears laid back. Laying along the gate.

  • Not active or competing. Feed refusal.

  • Lameness. Piling.

  • Temperature > 102°F (38.8°C)

Sucked in flanks and stomach is a good indication the pig has not been eating.

  • Some pigs have rough hair coats which is typical 3-6 days post wean but bellies are round indicating that pigs are on feed and doing well.

Our Case

  • Homer Zuckerman’s Famous Pig Farm

  • Reports in the last 2 months:

    • 14 emaciated

    • 6 dead

  • Age range: 3-6 months old

Clinical Signs

  • Wasting

  • Enlarged lymph nodes (inguinal)

  • Ill thrift

  • Rough hair coat

  • Pale skin

  • Dyspnea

  • Icterus

  • Diarrhea


  • PMWS

    Post Weaning Multi-systemic Wasting Syndrome

  • PRRS

    Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome

  • Swine Influenza

  • Mycoplasma

  • Porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (PDNS)

PMWS and related PCVAD’s

  • PMWS aka Severe Systemic Porcine Circovirus 2 infection

  • One of many PCV2 associated diseases


Granulomatous enteritis

Reproductive failure

Porcine respiratory disease complex

Porcine dermatitis and nephropathy

PMWS Effects

Pregnant sows in

1st or 2nd trimester

Post weaning piglets 4-14 weeks


  • Direct: feces, respiratory secretions, urine.

  • Fecal-oral or oro-nasal route.

  • Hematogenous dissemination

  • Ubiquitous in swine herds worldwide:

    • Natural protection; early antigen exposure

    • Most infections subclinical

      • only 10-30% clinical

    • Maternal antibody protection

    • to piglets from exposed sows

  • Clinical Signs

    Weight loss/muscle wasting,dyspnea, enlarged lymph nodes, jaundice, pallor and ill thrift

    Sows:Abortion or fetal resorption,


    PMWS: complex and multi-factorial Dz

    • Pathogenesis and cellular tropisms remain unknown

      • Replication in monocytic cell lines = granulomatous lesions ???

    • PCV2 is necessary, but co-factors are more significant in development of PMWS.


    1. Co-infections

    • + PPV

    • + PRRS

    • + Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae

      2. Management Factors:

      Co-mingling, diet change, pathogen exposure and separation of piglets from sows

    • Challenge and suppress pig’s immune system

      3. Immunostimulation (?):

    • Concurrent vax + PVC2 exposure = enhanced severity of clinical disease

    Gross pathologic findings of PMWS

    Kidney and liver: variable; diffusely scattered white foci

    Gross pathologic findings of PMWS

    Lung- non-collapsable and palpably firm

    Gross pathologic findings of PMWS

    Lymph node- enlarged; granulomatous


    Histopathologic findings of PMWS

    Lungs: interstitial pneumonia with lymphohistiocytic infiltrate

    Lymph node: multinucleated giant cells, histiocytic infiltrates; lymphoid cell depletion

    Histopathologic findings of PMWS

    “The Grapes of Wrath”- characteristic botryoid inclusion bodies in lymph nodes, tonsils and Peyer’s patches

    Diagnosis of PMWS

    • 1) Clinical signs in weaned pigs

      • wasting and dyspnea.

    • 2) Gross- or histo- pathological findings

      • interstitial pneumonia

      • granulomatous lesions,

      • botryoid inclusion bodies

      • lympho-histiocytic infiltrates

    • 3) Demonstration of the presence of PCV2 in the lesions

      • Immunohistochemistry

      • In-situ hybridization

    Control of PMWS

    • Good management practices

      • Semen from insemination centers vs. on-farm

    • Control of co-infections

      • PRRS

      • Parvo

    • PCV2 vaccines


    • IntervetCircumvent™ PCV (US and Canada)

      • Healthy pigs 3 weeks and older

      • 2 IM injections 3 weeks apart

    • Fort Dodge Suvaxyn PCV2® One Dose (US)

      • PCV1-2 Chimera

      • Healthy pigs 4 weeks and older

      • 1 single dose IM

    • BoehringerIngleheimIngelvac® CircoFLEX™ (US and Canada)

      • Healthy pigs 3 weeks and older

      • 1 singe dose IM

    • MerialCircovac® (Europe and Canada)

      • Primary Vaccination

        • 2 injections 3-4 weeks apart at least 2 weeks before mating

      • Revaccination

        • 1 injection at each gestation at least 2-4 weeks before farrowing

      • Healthy female breeding age pigs

    Benefits of vaccination

    • Reduced mortality rate and morbidity

      • Decreased mortality before weaning after vaccination of sows

      • Decreased mortality in fourth month of life after vaccination of piglets

    • Reduced PCV2 viremia and viral load

    • Reduction in clinical signs and co-infections associated with PMWS

    • Improved productivity

      • Greater average daily weight gain

      • Greater carcass weight at slaughter

    Herd Management

    • The basic principle of herd management with pigs is to Reduce STRESS!

      • Handle with care, gentleness and patience

      • Check herd daily on a strict schedule

      • Walk though pens once a day

      • ID sick pigs right away and move them to a separate pen

    Herd Management Options

    • All In/ All Out

    • Continuous Flow

    All In/ All Out

    • Pigs of the same size or age are housed together in order to decrease the opportunity for diseases to spread

    AI/ AO



    • Disease spread is easier to contain

    • Pigs are less stressed when the remain within familiar social groups

    • Cleaning & disinfecting achievable between groups

    • Must have adequate space

    • Space is less efficiently allocated

    Continuous Flow

    • Animals are added to the group as the are old enough or large enough

    • These animal may be in different stages of development

    Continuous Flow



    • Space is used efficiently

    • Pigs of various immunocompetence are placed together

    • Frequent social group changes

    • Cleaning & Disinfecting between groups is not feasible

    Special thanks to:

    Dr Gyimah

    Dr Castillo

    Dr Wallace


    • Early Pig Care Manual. PIC. Hendersonville, TN. 2009

    • Harding JCS, Clark EG. Recognizing and diagnosing PostweaningMultisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS). Swine health and production. Vol. 5, number 5.




    • Swine Production. 15 March, 2011.


    • “Chapter 1: Management practices and animal husbandry.” Swine Care Handbook. 2002. 15 March 2011.







  • Krokowka S, Ellis JA, Meehan B, Kennedy S, McNeilly and Allan G. Viral Wasting Syndrome of Swine: Experimental Reproduction of PMWS in Gnotobiotic Swine by Coinfection with PCV2 and PPV. SAGE Journals online.

    • http: //

  • "ScienceDirect - Preventive Veterinary Medicine : Risk factors for porcine post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) in 149 French farrow-to-finish herds." ScienceDirect - Home . N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2011. <


  • Tucker AW. Porcine multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS): a review. The Pig Journal. April 2006.

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