Pig Diseases and Parasites
Enteritis is inflammation of the small intestine, usually caused by eating or drinking substances that are contaminated with bacteria or viruses. Most breeders will vaccinate sows against enteritis prior to farrowing, which will protect the piglets.
Erysipelas is a bacterial disease carried by wild birds, rodents and other wild animals. Most breeders vaccinate breeding stock to give a measure of protection to piglets. The most noticeable symptom of the disease is sudden, raised diamond shaped patches on the skin. If any of your pigs display this symptom, contact your vet immediately.
Lice and mange
Signs of infection include excessive scratching and scurfy areas on the head and ears (mange). If you look closely, you will be able to see lice if present. Lice powders and mange washes are available – treat all the pigs and clean and treat pig houses to prevent reinfection. Some wormers also treat for external parasites.
Scour is probably the most common disease in young piglets. It’s not really a disease itself, but a symptom of some kind of gut infection, usually E.Coli. It is usually a problem in very young piglets and can be quickly fatal as the animal dehydrates. Scouring can also cause damage to the gut wall, which means that the animal, although it recovers, may not thrive and grow well.
Breeders will often vaccinate their sows against scour and this protects the piglets, but do check with the seller. Don’t buy piglets from a litter that shows any signs of scour. If some are showing symptoms, chances are all are infected.
Good hygiene and minimising stress will help to prevent infection but if any of your pigs show symptoms of scour, call your vet immediately.
Small-Scale Outdoor Pig Breeding Wendy Scudamore
Pig Ailments: Recognition and Treatment Mark White
Know Your Pigs Jack Byard
Pigs for the Freezer: A Guide to Small-Scale Production Linda McDonald-Brown
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- British Saddleback at the RBST
- Berkshire Pig Breeders' Club
- Duroc Pigs at the BPA
- Tamworth Pig Breeders' Club
- British Lop Pig Society