Iron Deficiency Anaemia


Causal agent

Iron deficiency


Age group

3 to 6 weeks.  Sows deficient may produce stillborn piglets


Clinical signs



Pale pigs which are hairy, particularly in the nursery


Reduced feed intake and weight gain



Increase in other conditions – diarrhoea, Glässer’s for example


Pigs may demonstrate laboured breathing





Increased stillborn rates in iron deficiency in the diet


Post-mortem Lesions



Anaemia with thin watery blood.  Possibly enlarged fatty liver with ascities



Sow milk naturally deficient in iron.  Pigs born normal and goes into an iron deficiency crisis by 2-3 weeks of suckling iron deficient milk




Reduced haemogloblin level less than 70g/l – normal 90g/l

Response to treatment

Check sow iron levels – less than 9 mmol/l



Ensure iron injections correct – 100-200 mg injection within first week post-farrowing

Check when the iron is being administered

Ensure Vit E levels in the sows – can result in iron toxicity problems

Note there is generally no need to provide supplemental iron to outdoor reared pigs.

Common differentials


Gastric ulcers, Ileitis.