Erysipelas In Mini Pigs

Erysipelas is a common illness in mini pigs and although you can take steps to help avoid it, all the preventative steps still may not prevent all cases.


What is Erysipelas?
The scientific name is Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae its caused by a bacteria that is throughout the world where pigs inhabit. This bacteria is carried by birds and causes diseases in sheep and poultry, humans can contract it although its rare (the pigsite) . The most common carrier is pigs themselves, it lives on the pigs tonsils in about 20% of the pig population. When pigs are moved or there is an environmental stressor then pigs are more likely to catch it. Once the pig has caught the disease they are then immune. I have seen one case here and no other pigs affected. It was in my oldest girl who is quite shy and low in the pecking order.
Her symptoms were pretty typical:
  • Some have high fevers of 105-108 and others show no fever.
  • They appear to be stiff when walking.
  • Reluctant to stand.
  • Pink, purple and sometimes diamond shape bumps appear on the body.
  • Some pigs show no signs until they pass.
On my sow she is black with black skin, until I suspected that she had erysipelas no rash was apparent, then I just noticed small areas that were patchy and rough.
If you suspect your pig has erysipelas its best to get your pig to the vet as soon as you can, the sooner the treatment the better chances of survival. The disease responds well to penicillin based drugs. With my girl she was reluctant to rise, so we syringed a yogurt slurry for nutrition and pedialyte for hydration every few hours and just kept her comfortable, it took approximately 3 days for her to rise on her own and begin drinking again, I didn’t leave the farm for those 3 days.
Keeping the pigs area clean and free of stress. Vaccinating breeding herds. Keeping birds out of feed.

Reprinted with permission. ©Anita Jacobson, Just Mini Pigs FB Group

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