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Uterine vaccination could enhance worker safety

A novel approach to vaccinating sows, gilts and their piglets offers a new method of preventing disease that is safer for barn workers.

29 September 2019, at 9:30am

Researchers with VIDO-InterVac are exploring the effectiveness of administering vaccine directly into the uterus of the pig during artificial insemination.

ultrasound being performed on a pig

Speaking to Farmscape, Dr Heather Wilson, a research scientist with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan, says, because most of the important swine diseases impact reproduction or newborn piglets, the idea was to develop a vaccine to target the uterus to immunise the mother, who could then deliver passive immunity to her babies through her colostrum.

"If we can show administering a vaccine during artificial insemination, delivering it to the uterus, gives a very good immune response," Dr Wilson explains.

"If we can show people how safe it is, then we would hope to communicate that to the veterinarians, to the pig barns and maybe change the whole way that vaccination takes place for reproductive infectious diseases.

"Initially we are targeting the pig industry but we would like to look at any other animals that use AI.

"That could be some in the cattle industry, beef cattle, dairy and definitely turkey actually use quite a bit of AI so we'd look at expanding into those livestock species as well."

Dr Wilson says more trials are needed but initial results suggest vaccine administered to the uterus provides a strong antibody response with no negative effects on the semen, on the piglets or on their mothers.