Posts By :


pigs huddling

PIG VIRAL DISEASES, A list of the commonly diagnosed

PIG VIRAL DISEASES, A list of the commonly diagnosed 725 544 Sefa

As upcoming pig producers, the health of your animals plays a key role in the success of your farm. There are numerous viral diseases. However, today’s article focuses on some of the most common viral infections that you may encounter on your farm. Immediately alert your veterinarian when you suspect any of the underlisted diseases on your farm.

  1. African swine fever: a viral disease of the Asfaviridae family. Disease can cause 100% mortality in a herd.  
  2. Classical swine fever: This viral disease affects pigs of all ages and has similar signs to African Swine fever.  
  1. Vesicular stomatitis: The disease is transmitted usually via insects such as mosquitoes, sand flies and black flies. It is a zoonotic disease.
  2. Aujeszky’s disease: It is a nervous disease of pigs. High mortalities can be recorded in piglets.
  3. Foot-and-mouth disease: Signs include lameness as well as blisters on the snout, feet, and tongue.  
  4. The Nipah virus: It affects the respiratory and central nervous system of pigs. The condition is known as “Barking Pig Syndrome” or Porcine Respiratory Encephalitic Syndrome (PRES).  It is a zoonotic disease
  5. The Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS):  It is caused by an RNA virus of the Arteriviridae family. Signs include respiratory distress, stillbirths, and late term abortions.
  6. Swine pox: It belongs to the Poxviridae family. It is characterised by vesicular lesions on the flanks, ears, and abdomen.  
  7. Porcine parvovirus infection: One of the major reproductive diseases in pigs. Signs include mummified foetuses, decreased litter size and stillbirth.   
  8. The Swine vesicular disease: it is caused by an enterovirus belonging to the Picornaviridae family. The disease can easily be confused with foot and mouth disease and vesicular stomatitis.

Abscesses in pigs and how to deal with it.

Abscesses in pigs and how to deal with it. 653 758 Sefa

An abscess is a cavity filled with pus and dead cell material, usually due to inflammations caused by bacteria. The bacterium has access to the body when there is a break in the skin or via external orifices (openings). All pigs are susceptible to this condition. Abscesses are usually walled off from the rest of the body tissues. The bacterium can be circulated through the blood stream to establish new abscesses elsewhere in the body. Most abscesses in pigs develop near the skin surface. Abscesses have a raised or swollen appearance with fluid content when aspirated. Pigs with abscesses presented for slaughter could be condemned during inspection. It is important to identify and treat abscesses as soon as they are noted.


  • Trauma to the body from: fights, sharp objects, teeth removal and tail biting
  • Infections caused by Streptococcus spp and Staphylococcus spp such as Greasy pig disease. Abscesses can also arise from secondary infections following other conditions such as swine pox and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)
  • Poorly administered injections
  • Abscesses may develop around joints following fractures

Clinical signs

  • Swellings on the body with swollen sites often filled with pus or blood
  • Pain/discomfort
  • Possibly emaciation and death.
  • Ulcerations on the skin
  • Lameness (particularly spinal abscesses and those found around the joints and limbs)


Treatment aims at draining pus from the affected area and preventing spread of the infection. Sometimes draining occurs naturally when the abscess bursts. Others may require lancing (surgically opening to drain). Kindly seek medical attention (visit your Vet for assistance).  Treatment may include topical penicillin/ oxytetracycline/amoxicillin based ointments and systemic medications for about 3-5 days.


  • Ensure sharp objects are removed from the pig pens and its surroundings
  • Ensure pigs are not crowded in pens and separate aggressive ones to avoid fights
  • Long-acting antibiotic injections given at the time of damage will often prevent infection.
  • Avoid anything that would stress or cause discomfort to the pigs
  • Ensure medications, especially injectables are administered by veterinary professionals and instructions provided on medication must be adhered to

Pig vice behavior and how to mitigate it.

Pig vice behavior and how to mitigate it. 720 490 Sefa

Vices in pigs refers to a group of abnormal behaviors in pigs including biting, chewing and sucking of the vulva, tail, ears, flanks and navels, usually as a result of stress. The sows will tend to bite vulva especially during the late stages of pregnancy and it can be a major problem in loosely housed sows and poorly managed housing systems, which may end up in the loss of lives of valuable sows and piglets.


  • High stocking densities in pens / Overcrowding
  • Genetic predispositions (some breeds of pigs are more aggressive than others)
  • Poorly nourished (under-fed) pigs
  • Poor housing structures (narrow and thin pens)
  • Inadequate drinkers and feed distributors
  • Swollen vulva. The vulva is a highly vascularized tissue. The swollen vulva attracts more attacks and bites from the pigs especially if it is big which worsens the condition
  • Harsh weather conditions such as cold weathers

Clinical signs

  • Lacerations or cuts with blood on the skin and nose
  • Blood stains within the yard or pen
  • Mild to severe bleeding with damage to the vulva
  • Death
  • Scarred tissues at the vulval region which affects farrowing (still births, tearing of the vulva)


  • Increase the feed intake (particularly for underfed pigs)
  • Make available enough feeders and drinkers to avoid bullying and aggression. Feeders and drinkers should be evenly spaced
  • Maintain sizeable or small numbers of sows in a pen
  • Remove the offending sow(s) in the pen
  • Structure of pens should be wide and not narrow and long
  • Increase the salt levels to 0.9% per ton
  • Pregnant sows should be moved to a new pen with more floor area


Affected sows should be quickly isolated and kept in a separate pen.

Contact your Vet for assistance.

The sow’s condition will be assessed by a vet and given medications as well as possibly prepare her for surgery.

Iron toxicity, a common Poisoning problem in Piglets and how to mitigate it

Iron toxicity, a common Poisoning problem in Piglets and how to mitigate it 610 464 Sefa

Iron injections or iron dextran shots are usually administered to piglets between the first and seventh day of birth. This corrects the development of iron deficiency in piglets, which results in anaemia. Piglets are usually born with low iron reserves and the sows’ milk unfortunately is low in iron. During pregnancy, some sows or gilts become deficient in Vitamin E and/or selenium (which aids in preventing iron toxicity). This results in the birth of piglets deficient in Vitamin E and Selenium and it subsequently poses a threat for such piglets who receive iron injections. The enzymes which metabolise the iron cannot function leading to the accumulation and subsequent toxicity of iron in the body.

Clinical signs

  • The affected piglet is lame with dark swelling around injection site. About 50% or more of the litter die within a few hours.


  • Whilst inferior quality iron dextran poses a threat to piglets, deficiency of selenium and vitamin E is a major concern.
  • Once vitamin E or selenium deficiency has been diagnosed, piglets should be injected with vitamin E/selenium according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Sows within the last month of pregnancy should be injected with vitamin E. At least two weeks before farrowing.

Control and Prevention

  • Excessive oxidation of feed as a result of poor storage of cereals, or the accumulation of moisture in feed troughs which have not been cleaned out is the most common cause of low vitamin E status.
  • Always check the sources and storage facilities of all feed grains and ensure feed troughs are regularly cleaned out

Coccidiosis in pigs – an under diagnosed cause of porcine diarrhoea

Coccidiosis in pigs – an under diagnosed cause of porcine diarrhoea 720 567 Sefa


Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease affecting the digestive system of pigs. Although all growth stages of pigs can be affected by this disease, piglets are most susceptible to this condition. the protozoa Eimeria spp, Isospora spp and Cryptosporidia spp causes Coccidiosis in pigs and can produce oocyst which is shed through the faeces of an infected pig. 

The shed oocyst is the primary source of infection. Once in a conducive environment, the oocyst undergoes development to be infective when ingested by an animal. In the intestines of an infected animal, further development and multiplication of the parasite occurs resulting in the production of several oocysts which are subsequently shed again in the faeces, contaminating the environment. This process of reproduction of the parasite in the walls of the intestines destroy and erode the intestinal lining, preventing proper nutrient and fluid absorption. This leads to diarrhoea, loss of weight, and death.  In housing facilities where proper sanitary and biosecurity protocols are not adhered to, the parasite spreads rapidly. Warm and moist environments also facilitate the multiplication of the parasite, especially in farrowing pens and litter crates


– Foul smelling diarrhoea. Consistency and colour may vary from yellow to grey, green or bloody, depending on severity of the damage to the intestinal lining.

– Dehydration as a result of severe loss of fluids

– Undersized or underweight piglets

– Mortalities (this occurs especially with secondary infections caused by bacteria or viruses)


Establishing an effective hygiene program for your farm is key in preventing this disease.

– Use disinfectants (Ammonium compound/Bleach/oo-cide) to thoroughly clean the housing facility

– Keep the pen as dry as possible and litter in the pens should be changed frequently.

– Farrowing pens should be thoroughly disinfected and aired before sow farrows

– Cleaning of pens should be done daily. The order should be from uninfected pens to infected pens. Also, pens of younger animals should be cleaned first before moving to pens of older animals.  

– farmers must keep Creep Feed in feeders which can easily be used by piglets and not on the floor

– farmers should properly disposed off fecal waste from farm and not close to farm.



As upcoming pig producers, the health of your animals plays a key role in the success of your farm. There are numerous bacterial diseases. However, today’s article focuses on some of the most common bacterial infections that you may encounter on your farm. Immediately alert your veterinarian when you come across similar signs of diseases listed below.

  1. Swine dysentery is caused by the spiral shaped bacterium, Brachyspira hyodysenteriae. It causes severe inflammation in the large intestine, producing bloody and mucoid diarrhoea.
  2. Erysipelas is mainly found in growing and adult pigs. It produces unique diamond shaped skin lesions with severe joint pains and inappetence.  
  3. Exudative Dermatitis also known as Greasy Pig disease, is caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus hyicus. Pigs housed in poor hygienic conditions, with poor ventilation, or having cuts on the skin are susceptible to this disease.
  4. Leptospirosis is a severe reproductive disease caused by Leptospira spp.
  5. Colibacillosis is caused by E.coli and mostly affects young piglets, the most of which come down with severe diarrhoea.
  6. Postpartum Agalactia Syndrome causes inflammation of the udder and the reproductive tract leading to reduced or no milk production.
  7. Actinobacillosis caused by the bacterium Actinobacillus suis, Actinobacillus pleuroneumoniae or Actinobacillus equuli causes severe respiratory infections with signs such as pneumonia, tremors and arthritis.
  8. Atrophic Rhinitis is a contagious disease caused by Pasteurella multocida. It leads to inflammation of the nasal tissues and shortening of the snout or upper jaw.
  9. Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease with clinical signs such as abortion, lameness and orchitis.
  10. Streptococcus Infection caused by Streptococcus suis is one of the major causes of meningitis in pigs. Spread of infection is mostly related to hygiene.
  11. Salmonellosis is caused by Salmonella choleraesuis and Salmonella typhimurium. Signs of disease include coughing, fever and diarrhoea which may be foul smelling.
  12. Clostridum Infection caused by Clostridium perfringens causes severe diarrhoea and high mortalities in young pigs.