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Porcine ear necrosis syndrome: A preliminary investigation of putative infectious agents in piglets and mycotoxins in feed

Weissenbacher-Lang, C., Voglmayr, T., Waxenecker, F., Hofstetter, U., Weissenböck, H., Hoelzle, K., Hoelzle, L.E., Welle, M., Ogris, M., Bruns, G., Ritzmann, M.
The veterinary journal 2012 v.194 no.3 pp. 392-397
Mycoplasma suis, Porcine circovirus-2, Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, Sarcoptes scabiei, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, antibodies, bacteriology, biopsy, blood serum, deoxynivalenol, ears, ergot alkaloids, farms, histopathology, in situ hybridization, necrosis, parasitology, pathogens, piglets, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, virology, zearalenone
The aim of this study was to identify the causative factors of porcine ear necrosis syndrome (PENS) in 72 pigs, 5.5–10weeks in age housed on nine farms. Biopsy samples of ear pinnae were collected from all piglets for bacteriology, histopathology and in situ hybridization for porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2). At the same time, serum samples were taken for serological analysis and viral PCR, and feed was sampled for mycotoxin analysis. The initial lesion of PENS seemed to be a focal epidermal necrosis. Streptococci were isolated from 44 and staphylococci from 36 pinnae. PCV2 could not be detected by in situ hybridization or qPCR. Seven piglets were positive for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, and one for Mycoplasma suis. One piglet had antibodies against Sarcoptes scabiei var. suis. No infectious agents were found in 15 samples. Positive virology and parasitology were often found alongside positive bacteriology. Deoxynivalenol, zearalenone and ergot alkaloids were detected in feed. The findings suggest that PENS is multifactorial in origin and that although infectious agents can be involved in the development of the syndrome they are not the exclusive triggering factor.