DISEASE PREVENTION

See biosecurity notes for pet pigs

 

Vaccination

Some diseases can be prevented by regular vaccination together with routine annual or six-monthly boosters.  These diseases include:

 

For all pigs:

Erysipelas:  An initial course of two injections, followed by a six-monthly booster will prevent the appearance of this disease.  Vaccination against this disease is a must for all pig pets, especially those kept outdoors.  Unfortunately the vaccine does not protect against lameness associated with Erysipelas.


Rabies:  The vaccines are not licensed for pigs.  However, it is recommended every 3 years as it will reduce the risk of the pig spreading Rabies.  Note this does not minimize any investigation into a pig which bites.

 

Leptospirosis:  If the pig attends shows and is petted by children, having annual Leptospirosis vaccine may be considered to reduce the risk of zoonotic transmission of Leptospirosis.

 

For breeding gilts and sows:

Parvovirus: This causes very small litters to be born, together with several mummified piglets.  Again, the disease can be prevented by regular vaccination.  Ensure the vaccine is completed before the gilt is bred for the first time.

 

Piglet enteritis

Six and 3 weeks before farrowing, vaccinate the pregnant sow against E. coli.  This can be fatal for piglets less than 10 days of age.   However, this disease is generally only seen with very large groups of piglets and failure of management to provide individual piglet care, or when the air temperature and humidity fluctuate too widely for the newly-born piglets.

 

Other diseases

There are numerous other vaccines available.   These should be considered when pet pigs are kept in groups larger than 6.  Most of these vaccines are to protect growing pigs.  Adult pigs (over 18 months of age) generally only require Erysipelas.

 

Diarrhoea (Scours)

This commonly occurs with overfeeding, especially just after weaning time and also if the piglets are weaned too early.  As a rule of thumb, it is better to allow piglets to continue to suck their mums for 5-8 weeks, whilst at the same time eating the same food as the sow, which will encourage the piglets to eat whilst she is eating.  If diarrhea is present in all piglets in the litter, then you need to call your vet for advice because there are also infectious causes of diarrhea which may require antibiotic therapy.

 

Worming

Pigs that live outdoors and pigs that are exercised outside need to be dosed for worms every 4-6 months.  The decision when to dose can be helped by taking a fresh dung sample to the vet, who will examine it for worm eggs and decide which is the best treatment to use and when to use it.

Worms strongyle eggs

A worm egg

 

 

Pneumonia

This infection of the lungs will occur usually in housed pigs when they are subjected to cold draughts or rapid changes in environmental temperature and if the pigs are allowed to sleep on damp, wet or cold floors.  The pig will have a high temperature and you will need to call your vet to give it some antibiotics. 

 

Feet maintenance

pig a 07

pig a 26

A pen with nice clear dry straw – but not abrasive surface.  This pig’s feet will get very little wear.

A pen which includes an area of gravel – this pig’s feet will require little maintenance if the pig exercises.

 

 

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