Water Deprivation /Salt Poisoning


Causal agent

None.  Management mistake.  May be associated with salt (NaCl) levels in water in excess of 7000 ppm.


Age group

All.  Classically will be seen in the nursery


Clinical signs


Before water source restored

Often found with a couple of dead pigs


Pig dog sites, staring into space.  The pig will often have twitching which develops into a seizure every 5 minutes. Pigs may walk aimless and frequently fall over.  Pigs appear blind and may head press. 

Pigs may be very dirty especially if building hot.

Drinking supply off or at least inadequate.


Water source restored

Pigs crowd around drinkers.  Drinking can be excessive


Pigs suddenly fall over, tremor and fit.  Several pigs may die.


Water drinker dirty2

salmonellosis-Bonmi farm2001_0329_120760AB   Water salt poisoning


Drinker not working

Dead pig                                      Pigs crowding around drinker












Post-mortem Lesions



No gross lesions may be seen at postmortem




Histological examination of the brain

Demonstration of eosinophilic meningoencephalitis

NaCl concentrations in excess of 1800 ppm in wet brain

Water salt posionoing eosinophilia meningeoencephalitis spb



Restoration of the water supply – but slowly.

Corticosteriods may help to reduce brain swelling

Common differentials


Meningitis, Glässer’s Disease.  Aujeszky’s Disease, Classical Swine Fever, Oedema disease, Enterovirus and other viral infections.  Other poisons.