Scientists believe they may have identified the mystery cause of “shaking piglets” – cases of which have been reported in Europe and abroad since the 1920s.

Scientists used a newly developed test to detected the previously unknown atypical porcine pestivirus.
Scientists used a newly developed test to detect the previously unknown atypical porcine pestivirus.

Researchers at the University Clinic for Swine, Institute of Virology, and Institute of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine at Vetmeduni in Vienna, Austria said they have proved, for the first time, symptoms of tremors and shaking in newborn piglets are not a sign the animals are cold, but rather that they are suffering from a specific viral infection.

New test

Using a newly developed test, the scientists detected a previously unknown virus – termed atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV) – in “shaking piglets”, making it possible to clearly diagnose the potentially fatal disease.

The virus remains in the animals for a long time following an infection and may also be transmitted sexually. The findings were published in the journal Veterinary Research.

Challenging early life

First author Lukas Schwarz, veterinary clinician at the University Clinic for Swine, said: “Depending on the severity of the shaking, congenital tremor presents a challenge for the piglets from the first minute of their life. The tremor can sometimes be so severe, the piglet is unable to properly suckle milk.

“Yet suckling is especially important for piglets in the first 24 hours after birth. Only mothers’ milk contains everything the animals need to survive. Without the first drink of mothers’ milk, piglets have a very low chance of survival.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

wpDiscuz

related content

Students from Edinburgh and Nottingham's vet schools have won plaudits from the British Veterinary Behaviour Association for their insights into the field of animal behaviour.

5 mins

Reducing antibiotic consumption in animals may not have any great benefits to human health, according to new research.

5 mins

Specialist veterinary virology, serology and DNA diagnostics company Biobest Laboratories is offering a new PCR test service for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV).

3 mins

Laura Muir, veterinary student and double European Athletics Indoor Champion, steps into the Examination Room for a chat with Holly Kernot.

10 mins

One of the UK’s most esteemed academic roles has been bestowed on a leading clinician scientist at The University of Edinburgh.

2 mins

Vets are to be given the chance to shape the way animal abuse is tackled by participating in a new survey that could bring the profession in line with its human medicine counterpart.

5 mins