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PRRS: Execute and Monitor Preferred Solution

PRRS: Execute and Monitor Preferred Solution

When a swine disease strikes, you want helpful information immediately. Fortunately, there’s SOURCE, a systematic approach to disease control, prevention and management using a step-by-step process developed by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Once your solution options are clearly outline, you can determine which one(s) should be executed to help achieve your goal of controlling, eliminating or preventing porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) on your farm. This is the sixth and final step in the SOURCE process – “execute and monitor preferred solutions.”

Execution techniques

You have designed your solutions. Now it’s time to execute! Follow these strategies to best execute your solutions and meet your goal:

  1. Obtain team commitment to work toward the same solution.
    1. Clearly communicate the plan to all farm personnel.
    2. Emphasize why the plan, and each step in it, is important, and the importance of each team member’s role in achieving success.
    3. Provide any necessary and ongoing training.
  2. Develop metrics to track results. Communicate to the team what should happen and when it should happen. (Example: To monitor breeding-herd stability, your metrics would be negative PCR tests for PRRS in due-to-wean piglets.)
  3. Maintain team focus through consistent communication and collaboration. What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? What adjustments or changes should be made?
  4. Review the plan regularly with your herd veterinarian.

Monitoring tactics

You’ve done all this work, stated your herd goals, and implemented your solutions. Now it’s time to measure your success.


  • Ensure that you are not bringing negative/non-immune animals into a positive herd. Doing so can result in a chronic infection situation.
  • Ensure that replacement animals are being adequately prepared/acclimated for entry into your herd. Remember, the goal is to prepare your replacement gilts to be immune and non-infectious for entry into your PRRS-positive and stable breeding herd.
  • Measure the immune response in replacement animals two to three weeks after vaccination, and also monitor the status of girls just prior to entry into the breeding herd. Again, the goal is to be immune and non-infectious prior to entry into the breeding herd.
  • Routinely measure virus circulation in due-to-wean pigs via PRRS PCR testing to understand the PRRS status of your breeding herd.
  • Continue monitoring, working with your herd veterinarian, and following biosecurity protocols.


  • Only introduce PRRS-negative animals when the breeding herd is non-infectious (no evidence of resident PRRS virus circulation) and ready for introductions
  • Do not introduce PRRS-negative animals until you have had at least three negative environmental PCR tests, and at least three consecutive monthly negative animal tests (typically negative due-to-wean piglet PCR tests).
  • Continue monitoring, working with herd veterinarian, and following biosecurity protocols.


  • Always ensure that replacement gilts are truly naïve/negative.
  • Stay focused on biosecurity protocols, and ensure they are being followed.
  • Be keenly aware of PRRS status in your proximity.
  • Maintain diligent/disciplined focus on identifying and managing external biosecurity risks to prevent entry/introduction of PRRS virus.
  • Continue monitoring, working with herd veterinarian, and following biosecurity protocols.

Everyone can help

There’s no shame in being a PRRS-positive farm. It is critical that every stakeholder in the industry – farmers, veterinarians, feed suppliers, packers, transportation companies, etc. – understand how the virus is transmitted and their responsibilities to minimize its spread.

Communication is critical; as a pig producer, you can talk to all outside visitors (gas company, trash hauler, mail delivery, etc.), as well as surrounding farms, to know and understand where PRRS exists and how it spreads. With this knowledge, delivery routes can be modified and allied industry can focus its efforts.