Livestock

Sunburn and Heatstroke in Pigs

Light coated pigs in particular can suffer from sunburn and all pigs can suffer, and die, from heatstroke. As natural forest dwellers, pigs are not terribly well adapted to living in hot, sunny conditions, although some breeds cope better than others. Because they can only sweat through their snouts, pigs are not good at regulating their body temperature so we have to manage their environment to protect them.

A good, wet wallow and plenty shade will help to prevent both problems in outdoor pigs. If pigs are being kept indoors, good ventilation is absolutely essential. Even on mild days, with high humidity, indoor pigs can succumb to heatstroke.

The symptoms of heatstroke are distress, trembling, increased breathing rate (panting), vomiting and diarrhoea and increased body temperature. If your pig has heatstroke, you must act quickly but NEVER throw cold water over it, as the shock may cause a heart attack. Try to get it to the wallow, where the cool mud will help. A fine spray of water may help as will a fan to move the air around. As always, prevention is better than cure.

Shower for pigsYour pigs will appreciate a cold shower on hot days

Sunburn is usually seen on the snout and ears but can occur elsewhere, such as along the back. In severe cases, there may be blistering. Applications of sun cream can be used as a preventative and Aloe gel or calamine can help soothe burned skin.

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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