If you own or work on a pig farm, then you need to know how to prevent and manage disease outbreaks. You don’t want your hard-working animals to become ill, and end up costing you thousands of naira. This article contains some tips shared by Dr Victor Agbajelola and will provide you with valuable insight on diseases in pigs and how to prevent them from reaching your pig pen or a commercial farm.
As a pig farmer, the health and wellbeing of your animals are very important and must be properly looked after, to ensure that overall profit is maximised. Measuring the health indices of your pigs is one of the most important ways to prevent disease occurrence. As a matter of fact, the prevention level is the most convenient and safe means of reducing losses in livestock production.
For instance, pigs can be infected with several preventable internal parasites, skin infections and other bacterial and viral diseases, which can, in turn, result in poor growth and even death.
Few signs to observe in a pig that is most likely to be sick include the following: dull eyes, overall dullness, loss of appetite, sluggishness, rough body coat, constipation or diarrhoea and withdrawal.
To prevent pigs from these infections, it is important to deworm young or newly acquired pigs once a month, and adult pigs once in two months. Most of these dewormers can be purchased here and here.
Skin infection is also another devastating disease condition which can be caused by the bite of ticks, mites and lice feeding on their skin. Mange resulting from bites of mites on the head, ears, legs and tails will ultimately spread all over the body, causing the pigs to keep scratching their bodies all day, thereby reducing feed intake and continuous damage to the architecture of the skin.
Other diseases like piglet diarrhoea, salmonellosis, mastitis etc can be treated when it occurs in consultation with our veterinarian at Afrimash.
Some of the important infectious diseases of pigs in Nigeria include:
- Classical swine fever or Hog cholera is a highly devastating viral infection of pigs. It is highly contagious and the signs to look out for in infected pigs include the following; multiple red spots on the surface of the skin of the pigs, incoordination, and partial or complete paralysis. Ensure adequate biosecurity measures on the farm; limit exposure to your farm and practice disinfection practices as often as possible.
- Respiratory disorder/ Pneumonia: This is considered a bacterial infection and is frequently caused by Pasteurella sp. Signs to look out for include dullness, weakness, high fever, coughing and sneezing, breathing problems and nasal discharges. Appropriate antibiotics can be used for treating the condition.
- Diarrhoea in pigs (Colibacillosis): This disease affects young pigs and is the leading cause of neonatal mortalities, caused by a pathogenic strain of Escherichia coli in piglets. Signs of infection include diarrhoea, weakness and inability to stand up.
Proper sanitation and adequate feeding with colostrum confer immunity on the pigs.
Oral rehydration therapy along with antibiotics is useful for the treatment of the affected piglets.
Other managemental practices
- Removal of sick or infected animals. When signs of disease presence are noticed it is important that unproductive animals are isolated and kept out of the flock to prevent disease spread.
- Castration of Piglets: Due to the prolific nature of pigs, the presence of too many male piglets on the farm is not necessary, hence most of the males that are unfit for breeding should be castrated just after weaning and fattened for eventual sale for meat purposes.
So, to recap our discussion on the diseases that plague pig production, there are actually some good practices we can adopt to prevent and manage these disease outbreaks. Their cures vary as well as their symptoms, but one thing is certain – these practices should be a priority of pig farms everywhere.
Do you have any other management practices you use on your pig farm? Share with us in the comment section below.