Additional Skin Conditions


Pityriasis rosea

A genetic condition which suddenly appears in pigs 10-60 kg.  The animal presents with scabby lesions over its body, in particular the ventral abdomen.  The lesions are often in rings with a red raised edge and a blanched centre.  With time the lesions may grow and coalesce.  The pig is not ill and grows normally, although looks quite alarming.  No treatment is necessary.   Rarely does the condition present by the time of slaughter.  It is wise not to breed from afflicted animals.

Skin pyriasis rosea

Pig Pox (Swine Pox)

Associated with a pox virus.  This is generally seen as small circular scabs 10-20 mm in size.  Occasionally small vesicles may be seen.  The disease is probably widespread on most farms.  Can occur as a herd epidemic problem.  The pigs recover in 10 days.  Provide skin disinfectant washes to control secondary infections.  Improve basic pen hygiene.

swine pox au 7


The pigs show characteristic round light brown gradually spreading circular lesions on their bodies. Healing can take several weeks.  They otherwise demonstrate no undue clinical signs.  If treatments, is necessary then wash pigs with skin disinfectant or in a herd situation consider the use of antifungal antimicrobials such as griseofulvin may be used.

Skin ring worm

Epitheliogenesis imperfecta

Pigs are born with a portion of their skin is missing.  Assuming the lesion is not too extensive treat with skin disinfectants and the lesion will progressively heal.  Even the pig shown healed with only a scar area visible by the time of slaughter.

Skin epetheliogenesis imperfecta

Dermatitis parakeratosis

Classically associated with zinc deficiency or calcium excess.  Problems generally arise because of a feed mixing problem, particularly on home mill and mix units.  The pigs present with a variety of behaviour changes from nibbling excessive vice and pica with licking of the walls and floors.  The skin breaks out into a proliferative dermatitis resembling greasy pig disease.  The legs can be particularly affected.  The condition is generally seen in a large group of pigs all on the same feed.  Treatment is through providing a properly balanced feed.



Pigs are prone to subcutaneous abscesses which can be very large – containing 6 litres of purulent material for example.  The abscess can be released once the contents are fluid, which is assessed by inserting a clean needle into the softest part of the lump and drawing back with a 10 ml syringe to reveal a yellow creamy liquid.  If the abscess contents are fluid, release using a cross-       cut at the bottom of the abscess, not at the point.  It is essential that the skin wound does not heal too fast as the abscess will reappear.  The cut at the bottom allows adequate drainage; no pocket of abscess should be left.  Flush with running water 2-3 times daily.  If necessary inject with routine antibiotics to reduce secondary infection.  In the early stages of an abscess, possibly injecting with lincomycin may clear the infection.  Review causes of fighting among stock to try and eliminate the cause of the abscess.  However, pigs will fight when housed together and abscessation is an inevitable consequence.

Following oil based vaccination a granuloma may appear in the neck.  There is no specific treatment possible.  Review your injection technique and hygiene.

Skin fighting and abscesses adultThis sow has been severely beaten by her pen mates and the cuts have become infected with multiple abscesses evident.  Treatment in such cases is futile and euthanasia is preferred.

Legs hip abscess

A large abscess in the hip region

Flaky skin

It is not unusual for adults to present with dry flaky skin.  Mange as a cause should be ruled out by treatment.  If the flaky skin presents a problem, to the owner generally more than the pig, wash the pig with a skin disinfectant.  Add cooking oil/olive oil to the pig’s diet to increase the fat content which will be expressed on the skin.  Several pet pig diets are quite basic, to reduce calories, to reduce pigs putting on too much weight and to keep costs down and thus are short in essential oils.

Mange chronic tail head

Scaly skin on the tail head which was associated with chronic mange

Thrombocytopaenic purpura


Seen only in young piglets from 3 to 10 days of age.   Due to sow’s colostrum contains antibodies to the piglet’s platelets.  Piglets present with death which on close examination reveal small haemorrhages on the skin.  Post-mortem examination reveals small haemorrhages throughout the carcase (as shown in the photograph).  Remove surviving piglets to another sow.