Greasy Pig Disease (Exudative Epidermitis) in Pigs
Whenever your pig gets a cut or abrasion it is possible for
your pig to get Greasy Pig Disease. This disease is caused
by bacteria called Staphylococcus hyicus invading the wound
and infecting it. This particular bacterium produces toxins
that damage the kidneys and liver. It usually only occurs in
one pig or piglet. Piglets are more susceptible to infection
and disease and so are in more danger, but Greasy Pig
Disease can occur in more of your pigs if the infected pig
or piglet is not separated from the other pigs and treated.
The disease is described as Greasy Pig Disease because the
wound oozes fluids and the skin around the wound becomes
inflamed. Infection most often occurs right after the sow
gives birth. The piglets may become infected with it shortly
after birth because the sharp eyeteeth damage their cheeks
while they are competing for the sow's teats, or the knees
get scraped while trying to suckle. Once a piglet is
infected they are only given a fifty percent chance of
survival. And once the liver is damaged the piglet will die
regardless of treatment.
Here is what you need to look out for:
* Localized areas of infection that are small and dark in
color around the legs or face, where the skin has become
abraded or damaged.
* The skin on the belly and between the flanks becomes brown
* The skin of the pig becomes flaky, dry and greasy. It is
more localized to the wound if the sow passed along some of
her developed immunity to the bacteria to the piglet.
The disease can occur as soon as two or three days after
weaning from the sow and in severe cases the skin becomes
black. When it is this severe most likely the pig will die.
You can take a sterile wipe and take off the scab and wipe
deeply into the wound in what looks to be the infected area.
Put the wipe in a sterile bag and get it to a lab to be
tested ASAP so that you can properly treat the pig.
The only way to treat this disease is with antibiotics that
are safe for pigs. You can also apply topical antibiotics to
the wound itself to speed the healing process. If you piglet
becomes dehydrated, administer electrolytes, a little every
fifteen minutes, until your piglet become re-hydrated.
The best way to prevent this disease in pigs is to be
vigilant and check them over regularly. Immediately treat
with a topical antibiotic any areas that you see abraded or
cut and if an infection develops take the pig to the
veterinarian immediately for a check up. Your veterinarian
will probably prescribe antibiotics to be taken daily for
five days or until the infection clears. If an infection
does not clear up, take the pig back to the veterinarian as
soon as possible.
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