Subscribe
to our newsletter

and select which news you want to receive

You Should Know About These Diseases

microscope-chemistry

By Dr Peter Evans, SAPPO

This article serves to inform the reader of the basic common diseases found on pig farms. It is by no means meant to be a full list of diseases and definitely not as a reference for farmers to be able to treat their own herds.

Professional veterinary advice should be sought when one experiences health issues on farms.

Diseases in piggeries are divided into four categories based on age:

  • Diseases of adult animals (gilts, sows and boars).
  • Diseases of suckling piglets (pre-wean piglets).
  • Diseases of weaners (from weaning until 9-11 weeks of age i.e. when they are moved to grower houses).
  • Diseases of growers/finishers (9-11 weeks of age until marketed at 22-23 weeks of age).

Diseases of adult pigs

In broad terms one encounters repro-ductive diseases and urinary tract diseases in adult pigs, which are uncommon in younger pigs.

Discharges/Metritis

  • Caused by a wide variety of bacteria. Can be as a consequence of poor hygiene in the sow house, as a secondary problem from poor hygiene at mating/AI, poor timing of AI (especially too late) damage to the vagina or cervix during AI and sometimes as a primary infection. Discharges can also be found after farrowing due to poor hygiene related to “pulling” piglets out.
  • Symptoms include blood and or pus in the urine; poor appetite and sometimes fever. Especially if the kidney is affected, the illness can become severe with death as the result.
  • Treatment is effective if initiated early. Appropriate antibiotics recommended.
  • Prevention – hygiene, training of AI technicians and farrowing house attendants.

Urinary tract infections

  • Caused by a wide variety of bacteria. Can be as a consequence of poor hygiene in the sow house, as a secondary problem from poor hygiene at mating/AI and sometimes as a primary infection.
  • Symptoms include blood and or pus in the urine; poor appetite and sometimes fever. Especially if the kidney is affected, the illness can become severe with death as the result.
  • Treatment is effective if initiated early. Appropriate antibiotics recommended.
  • Prevention – hygiene, training of AI technicians.

Abortions

  • Caused by Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, general septicaemia conditions and sometimes mycotoxins in the feed. (Erysipelas is an important bacterial disease causing septicaemia and abortions). Spontaneous abortions also occur.
  • Symptoms: Abortion is seen. In early pregnancy often just a mucoid bloody discharge, which requires close inspection to see the embryos. If due to septicaemia, may lead to death.
  • Appropriate antibiotics recommended depending on the cause. Always cull a sow that aborts spontaneously – very high likelihood of re-occurrence.
  • Prevention: Vaccination of the females against Parvo, Lepto and Erysipleas. Ensure feed is free of mycotoxins, or include mycotoxin binders.

Sore feet

  • Caused mainly by poor floors, exacerbated by fighting between sows and overweight sows (I.e. a management disease).
  • Symptoms: Swollen joints, torn clays, bleeding clays, difficulty moving (lame), which progresses to a “downer” sow.
  • Treatment is effective if initiated early. Appropriate antibiotics recommended plus anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers.
  • Prevention: Good sow management and providing correct, hygienic, non-slip floors.

Abscesses

  • Caused mainly by unhygienic injections sometimes protruding objects in sow housing.
  • Symptoms: Large hard lump on skin, which later softens as the abscess “ripens”.
  • Ripened abscess should be drained. Appropriate antibiotics recommended plus wound treatment to opened abscess to prevent maggot infestation.
  • Prevention: Hygienic injection techniques – use a new/disinfected needle after every five sows when vaccinating, and a new/disinfected needle after every sick sow injected.

Acute deaths

  • Caused quite often by a Clostridial infection or acute bacterial infections; heart failure especially over-fat sows.
  • Symptoms: Dead within 12-24 hours after first observing they are off feed and sometimes without signs.
  • Aggressive antibiotic and supportive therapy.
  • Prevention: Depends on cause – seek professional advice if sow mortalities exceed 6% per annum.

Gastric ulcers

  • Can affect most age groups. Multifactorial causes: Factors which increase the fluidity of stomach content increases the risk for ulceration, risk factors include – type of grain, feed particle size, grinding vs rolling, interrupted feeding, season, concurrent disease, parturition.
  • Symptoms: Black tarry faeces, inappetance, anaemia. If do a post mortem find blood clot and ulcer in stomach.
  • Appropriate antibiotics and supportive treatment.
  • Prevention: Reduce risk factors. Often requires “experimentation” of best feed for a farm’s situation.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin