NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
(306) 966-7151
WCVM, UofS, 52 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK

The effect of play on the resilience of pigs to PRRSv

Research Team:

  • PhD Student: Karolína Steinerová
  • Supervisor: Dr. Yolande Seddon
  • Project Members: Jennifer Brown – Prairie Swine Centre, Heather Wilson – VIDO, John Harding – WCVM University of Saskatchewan
  • Research Assistant: Yuanyue Wang

Funding Agency:

Project Timeline:

  • January 2023 – January 2024


Play is believed to be a joyful activity in animals, offering positive affective engagement, and as such will offer benefits for animal welfare. This is often seen in the behavioural spectrum with animals performing fewer damaging behaviours and engaging in more positive behaviours. Promoting a positive affective state could improve immunocompetency, supporting animals to be more resilient against disease.

Project Objectives:

  • To identify if pigs reared in an environment with regular play opportunities from birth develop greater resilience towards a disease challenge with a Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus (PRRSv) infection compared to control pigs without any play opportunities.

Value of this research:

Identifying if play can improve disease resilience of pigs provides evidence for the biological response to play, and demonstrates the value of supporting positive welfare states to improve pig welfare and performance.

What we discovered:

Research results are expected to be ready for dissemination in 2024.