Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) is one of the most damaging diseases in swine production globally resulting in major economic losses. PRRSv infects and replicates in macrophages found in lungs, placenta, and lymphoid organs. Clinical signs vary therefore from respiratory diseases in young pigs to reproductive disturbances in sows. In addition, PRRSv infection has an immunosuppressive effect, both on the innate and adaptive immune response, resulting in incomplete vaccine protection and increased susceptibility to secondary infections.

Predictive Indicators for Enhancing Pig Resilience

Animal resilience is the capacity of farm animals to be minimally affected by challenges that can cause disease and, when they are affected, to recover quickly. Resilient pigs are better able to cope with perturbations, including infectious agents, and to recover quickly from it, requiring less medicinal treatments. Promoting resilience in pigs is an approach to weaken the severity of infections, while maintaining or even improving animal performance. Ingrid van Dixhoorn recently defined indicators of resilience which could predict disease outcome. In pigs, a higher level of lymphocytes (naïve T helper cells and memory T cells) and granulocytes, as well as raised concentrations of natural antibodies were found as predicting indicators of resilience for the severity of co-infection.

Medium-Chain Fatty Acids: Enhancing Animal Resilience and Immunity in Swine Health

Providing MCFA through the diet have both direct and indirect effects on animal health and thereby are a good strategy to improve animal resilience on farm. MCFA have a strong direct antibacterial effect towards common pathogens in swine production, making them the perfect candidate for fighting secondary bacterial infections. Moreover, MCFA have immunomodulatory effects as they can directly interact with immune cells via G protein-coupled receptors. In recent experiments, we have shown that MCFA treatment of primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells led to a higher lymphocyte proliferation capacity. The ex vivo immune-boosting potential of MCFA was indeed confirmed in field trials: MCFA reduced PRRSv severity on farm. Moreover, in a controlled infection experiment, MCFA successfully reduced the prevalence of secondary infections like S. suis in PRRSv-challenged piglets.

To conclude, MCFA-based products can protect piglets during a PRRSv infection by a dual mode of action: fight off secondary infections and strengthen the immune system. Learn more about our MCFA-based portfolio to make your swine management practices more resilient, reduce PRRSv severity, and keep your herd healthy and productive.

References are available upon request.

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