Our hypothesis was that pigs that develop post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) are detectable from an early age with signs of weight loss and other clinical and serological abnormalities. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the temporally varying and fixed events linked with the clinical incidence of PMWS by comparing affected and unaffected pigs in a cohort of 178 male piglets. Piglets were enrolled at birth and examined each week. Samples of blood were collected at regular intervals. The exposures measured were porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) antibody titres in all 178 and PCV2 antigen in a subset of 75 piglets. We also observed piglet health and measured their weight, and a post-mortem examination was performed by an external laboratory on all pigs between 6 and 14 weeks of age that died. From the cohort, 14 (8%) pigs died from PMWS and 4% from other causes. A further 37 pigs between 6 and 14 weeks of age died from PMWS (30) and ileitis and other causes (7). PMWS was only apparent in pigs from 1 to 2 weeks before death when they wasted rapidly. There were no other characteristic clinical signs and no obvious gross clinical lesions post-mortem. There was no strong link with PCV2 antibody throughout life but PCV2 antigen level was higher from 4 to 6 weeks of age in pigs that died from PMWS compared with pigs that died from other causes
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