Pig Diseases, their Prevention and Control

How to tell that a pig is in bad health

  • General signs: dullness, loss of appetite, labored or rapid breathing, sudden deaths, loss of weight, low weight gain and fever usually manifested by shivering of the pig.
  • Signs expressed on the skin: reddening of the skin or skin discoloration, loss of hair and hardening of some parts of the skin, itching and cracking of the skin.
  • Other signs: lameness, cough, abnormal nasal discharges, diarrhea with a putrid smell, abnormal content and color of feces and abortions.

Common diseases of pigs

Pig diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, protozoa, nutritional deficiencies, poisonous substances, internal and external parasites.

  • Bacterial diseases include swine erysipelas, swine dysentery, infectious poly-arthritis etc.
  • Viral and mycoplasma diseases include African swine fever, swine influenza, enzootic pneumonia of pigs, vesicular exanthema of swine, transmissible gastroenteritis etc.
  • Helminthiasis as a health problem in pigs is mainly caused by worms like the lungworm, ascaris worm etc.
  • Nutritional diseases include piglet anemia, parakeratosis etc.
  • External parasitic infections include mange, lice, jiggers etc.

Disease prevention and control

  • Housing and ventilation

The house should facilitate proper cleaning, disinfection and maintenance of sanitary conditions. Good ventilation is essential in disease control and air must move through the building such that foul air is replaced with fresh air.

  • Proper manure disposal

Disease causing agents may be contained in urine, feces, exhalation and nose and mouth discharges. These may act as media for growth of disease causing agents. Excrement must be removed frequently from the immediate surroundings. Manure may be heaped so that the heat generated kills the parasites and microbes. It is recommended that manure be kept in a covered concrete pit and the manure in the put sprayed with insecticides to inhibit development of disease causing organisms and flies.

  • Pigs kept on pasture should be rotated in the paddocks

Rotation on pasture will disrupt the life cycle of many disease causing agents as these agents are sometimes specific for certain hosts. Pastures may be rotated between different species.

  • Provide suitable feed and water containers
  • Isolate new animals
  • Dispose of dead pigs properly
  • Use of disinfectants
  • Hire a veterinarian doctor
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