Post-weaning Illthrift Syndrome


Causal agent

None starvation. The piglets fail to learn to eat and drink post-weaning

Age group

Immediately post-weaning not dependent on weaning age but more common when piglets weaned before 17 days of age

Clinical signs


Severe emaciated weaners 10-15 days post-weaning

Weaners gaunt, dehydrated often incoordinated and lethargic

Affected weaners often exhibit signs of vice penile sucking, sham nursing

Other weaners look normal








Post-mortem Lesions


In the classical case the stomach and small intestines will be empty of food.

The stomach may be filled with fluid and possibly just straw (if housed on bedding)

However, the weaner may have just figured out how to eat.

Absence of body fat and the superficial inguinal lymph nodes may be more prominent

Liver may be pale

Histological changes in small intestine include villus atrophy and fusion

Stomach and intestines empty

Liver paler than normal




Small intestinal histology indicative of not eating



Improve management of the post-weaning period

Gruel feeding

Ensure that gruel feeding does not continue beyond day 5 post-weaning or a double weaning effect will occur

Examine pig flow and weaning age. Increase weaning age if possible

Feeding creep feed pre-weaning appears to have little impact on the progression of the condition


Common differentials


PMWS/PCVAD but normally occurs after 15 kg pigs with PMWS have learned to eat post-weaning