Monday, July 15, 2024
Pigs

Pig Diseases and their Management

Once pig diseases affects a pig herd, the impact on the economics of pig production in terms of the cost of control and decreased productivity can be enormous. The first priority must therefore always be to try to prevent the occurrence of disease.

Thus many of the management procedures are aimed at disease prevention or at mitigating the effects of those diseases that cannot be prevented.

With skilled management, combined with well-designed housing and sound nutrition, an overall strategy to minimize the possibility of disease attack can be formulated.

Local pig breeds are often more resistant to diseases. The most common problem with keeping any sort of pig in free-range or semi-intensive systems is not disease, but controlling infestation by worms or other parasites.

In intensive pig-keeping systems, disease is a greater risk because many animals are kept together in a small space.

Infectious diseases spread easily and quickly among the animals. In intensive systems commercial breeds are often used and these tend to be less resistant to disease.

Intensive pig production is a financial undertaking. Diseases can lead to production shortfalls (slower growth rates or loss of animals) and a loss of income for the farmer.

In these circumstances it is essential to take all necessary measures to prevent diseases and treat the animals if they get sick, as long as the costs of treatment do not exceed the expected loss of income.

In free-range and sometimes in semi-intensive systems, farmers do not generally have money to spend on medical treatment.

Also, the pigs are probably not their only source of income. In such cases a drop in production may be considered less important, and farmers may wish to calculate whether the benefits of saving the sick animal and protecting the others justify the cost of treatment.

In terms of prevention, if there is a high risk of an infectious disease occurring, animals can be vaccinated to reduce the risk of losing them all if a disease breaks out. There are no vaccines for all diseases.

For example, there is not yet a vaccine against African Swine Fever (ASF). This disease affects local and commercial breeds of pigs equally. In fact, free-range pigs make the disease spread more quickly because they move around more than pigs kept in a limited space.

Parasites

Parasites are defined as organisms which live on and obtain food from the body of another, known as the host.

They may live on the exterior of the pig, when they are known as external parasites or within the internal tissues and organs when they are known as internal parasites.

Parasites will seldom result in the death of the host except in the case of massive infestations or if the host is also stressed in other ways.

1. External Parasites

These mainly cause irritation to the skin surface, often leading to wounds and an increased susceptibility to other infections. The most common external parasites are mange-mites, ticks, lice, fleas and flies.

Control: Regular treatment either dipping or spraying with suitable acaricides/anti mange medication, regular spraying of pigs and their quarters and chronic cases to be culled.

2. Internal Parasites

These include round worms, tape worms and lung worms. The control of these parasites includes breaking the life cycle i.e. regularly moving range pigs on to fresh grounds.

Frequent removal of faeces in housed pigs. Breeding pigs should be routinely dosed with broad spectrum anti- helminthes and young stock dosed after weaning. Also, preventing pigs access to human faeces is particularly important in controlling tape worms.

Infectious Diseases

1. African Swine Fever (ASF)

This is a viral infection. Prevent direct contact between domestic and wild pigs. No vaccine, no treatment thus far for this disease. There should be strict prevention of movement of pigs, personal and vehicles between pig farms.

Do not feed pigs with uncooked garbage from hotel this may contain the virus. In case of outbreak of ASF, bury or burn the carcasses, disinfect house with strong disinfectants. Rest the house for three months.

2. Foot and Mouth Disease

Most contagious of all known viral diseases. There is no cure. If outbreak occurs in nearby farms, pigs can be vaccinated. Vaccinate with the right antivirus.

3. Swine Erysipelas

Caused by a bacterium that lies in the soil. Treatment is effective with right antibiotics and should be timely. Excellent vaccines are available. Routine vaccination programme is recommended to prevent infection.

4. Anthrax

An acute, and often fatal bacterial disease which often cause mortality in humans. There is effective vaccine against the disease. If the disease is suspected carcass should not be open as this releases infective spores. Infected carcass should be buried at sufficient depth to prevent transmission of the spores.

5. Enteritis (Inflammation of the Intestine)

This is a condition that can be caused by a variety of micro-organisms or inappropriate feed. It is characterized by some of the following symptoms: loss of energy and interest, high temperature, loss of appetite, diarrhoea (sometimes bloody) and weight loss.

Pig Diseases

If the problem is food-related, starve the animal and give only clean water for one or two days. After that, gradually increase the feed to normal levels. The cause of the problem may be a sudden change in diet, in which case the same procedure should be followed. Common intestinal problems are listed here:

Read Also : Different Breeds of Swine (Pigs)

6. Clostridium enterotoxaemia

This usually occurs in piglets that are one to five days old. There is no good treatment. The sows can be vaccinated, so that the piglets build up antibodies through the sows’ milk. The piglets can also be given injections of ampi/amoxycilline.

7. Tetanus

Tetanus bacteria can develop if a deep closed wound is incurred from rusty metal (standing on a rusty nail for example). The animals finally die as a result of severe cramps. There is no treatment.

8. Mastitis

This affects the tissue of the udder and can result in permanent damage, so that breeding pigs can no longer be used. Infection can be avoided to a degree by good hygiene. If mastitis is noticed, the sow must be injected with antibiotics and oxytocin as soon as possible.

9. Brucellosis

This causes abortion in female animals and infection of the reproductive organs in the male animal.

Sterility may result. Although treatment with antibiotics is sometimes possible for females, it is better to dispose of infected animals.

The boars should be carefully controlled because the germs from the boar can be transmitted without the boar himself being ill.

10. Trypanosomiasis

This is transmitted by the tsetse fly. The infected animals are feverish, lack appetite and breathe very fast.

Prevention is only possible by eradicating the fly from the region. Pig breeding is therefore almost impossible in tsetse infested areas. Long acting drugs could be used to protect the pigs.

11. Pneumonia

Pneumonia may be caused by bacteria, viruses (usually by both at the same time) or parasites (lung worms and intestinal worms that have found their way into the lung).

The condition is made worse by keeping too many pigs in a small space, low temperatures, draughts, insufficient air humidity, and dusty surroundings.

The illness is more common in the rainy season and at this time the pigs should have dry and draught-free conditions. The animals start coughing, especially after exertion and when roused, and they breathe with convulsions.

Their growth is retarded. If viruses and bacteria are the cause, treatment is by antibiotics (streptomycin-penicillin, tetracycline). Ripercol R or Ivermectine is used if lung worms are involved.

12. Weil’s Disease (Leptospirosis)

This disease is marked by sudden abortion by a number of sows, usually towards the end of their pregnancy. The piglets are often different in size. Sometimes very weak piglets are born at the normal time.

After the abortion there is no loss of fertility in the sows, and the disease dies out of its own accord within a few months.

During a leptospirosis epidemic, abortions can be prevented by giving all the pregnant sows two injections of dihydrostreptomycine in doses of 25mg/kg body weight, with an interval of one week in between each injection.

Feed-Related Diseases

Some diseases are related to nutritional disorders which could be either due to absence are feeding too much of a particular nutrient. Some of these disorders are described below;

1. Anaemia (Iron deficiency)

This is an important problem, especially for young piglets kept indoors. The piglets become very pale a few weeks after birth and their growth slows down. The cause is an iron deficiency in the mother’s milk.

This can be prevented by putting iron-rich soil (mud from the ditches, forest soil) in the pen every day, giving the pigs something to root in. This soil should not have been in contact with pigs previously, and it must not carry worms.

Give soil from the very first week. Very young pigs (0-3 days old) can be given an injection of iron dextran if it is available. This is commonly done in (semi-) intensive systems.

Read Also : Management Practices in Pig Production

Wood ash may also be put in the pen. Wood ash will not provide iron, but it provides other minerals such as calcium and phosphorus which are important for the growth of the piglets’ bones.

2. Constipation

Constipated sows should have a 60 g dose of linseed oil in their feed every day. If this does not help, give 60 g of Epsom salts and the sow should be made to take exercise.

Other Problems

1. Sunstroke

This is cause by too much sun. The skin gets burned and pigs feel pain. White skinned pigs are most susceptible to sunstroke, and their skin turns red.

To prevent this, make sure there is enough shade available. An effective treatment is to bath its head in cold water. If possible, give it some brandy or whisky with a teaspoon. Make sure it has shade.

2. Skinor Leg Problems

2a) Wounds or Injuries

The main causes are either housing if there are sharp edges or fighting especially in overcrowded conditions.

In order to prevent this happening the housing should be improved, avoid overcrowding and keep different ages of pigs separate.

For treatment use antibiotic injections for three to five days, clean/disinfect wound and use ointment.

2b) Arthritis (Swollen Joints)

This is cause by bacteria and the symptoms include one or more leg joints seriously swollen. The pig limps, feels a lot of pain and has fever (often a body temp. > 40 °C).

For prevention, disinfect umbilical cords, smooth floors. Treatment includes the use of antibiotic injections for 5 days.

In summary, the impact of a disease in a pig herd, in terms of the cost of control and decreased productivity can be enormous. The first priority must therefore always be to try to prevent the occurrence of disease.

Thus many of the management procedures are aimed at disease prevention or at mitigating the effects of those diseases that cannot be prevented.

Parasites are defined as organisms which live on and obtain food from the body of another, known as the host.

They may live on the exterior of the pig, when they are known as external parasites (ecto-parasites) or within the internal tissues and organs when they are known as internal parasites (endo parasites).

Parasites will seldom result in the death of the host except in the case of massive infestations or if the host is also stressed in other ways.

Examples of ecto-parasites include mange mites, ticks, lice, fleas and flies. While examples of endo parasites include round worms and tape worms.

Examples of infectious diseases of viral origin include African swine fever and foot-and mouth disease.

Examples of infectious diseases of bacterial origin include Swine erysipelas and anthrax disease. Examples of non-infectious diseases include abscesses and gastric ulcers.

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Agric4Profits

Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with several years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. Agric4Profits.com - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. WealthinWastes.com - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

2 thoughts on “Pig Diseases and their Management

  • Emmanuel Mangel

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you present. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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    • Agric4Profits

      Thank you so much and we are glad that you find our article very helpful

      Reply

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