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What the pet owner

should know about

Hypoglycemia in Pigs

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Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a very serious condition and if
it is a problem in one piglet in a litter it will usually cause
the death of more than one young piglet in the litter. It is
heart-breaking to see the piglets begin to starve to death when
the sow's milk is inferior or simply never comes in. But there is
a way to help the piglets and maybe even improve the sow's milk
quality so that the piglets' health improves and they survive.

Inferior milk from the sow is usually caused by a shortage of
protein in the sow's diet. While this problem should have been
corrected even before the sow was bred, even after she has
farrowed, improving the quality of the commercial hog feed that
you are feeding the sow to a better quality with more protein may
fix the problem. You should also feed the sow more fresh
vegetables and some fruit.

The symptoms of the sow's not having good enough milk become
apparent when the milk looks watery and is more yellow than white
with milk fat. The piglets will grow weak and lethargic and even
the sow may be weak and lethargic. You must keep an eye on all
sows and their piglets because this kind of problem is something
that isn't easy to catch until it is too late and will certainly
cause the death of one or more of the piglets.

If the sow isn't giving any milk at all you can try to improve
her diet while supplementing the piglets with formula. Piglet
formula can either be fed through an eye dropper if they are very
small or by dipping a twisted corner of a towel into the milk
substitute and then letting the piglet suck the milk out of the
towel. If the piglets are older than two weeks you can actually
give them a bottle of the formula. Be sure to keep the ratio of
formula to water the same each time you feed so that the piglets
do not get diarrhea, which is deadly in its own right.

If the sow has inferior quality milk, while improving her diet
you can give the piglets formula or a dextrose solution until the
sow's milk improves.

Gilts should be taken to a veterinarian before they is bred in
order to make sure that the teats are all able to function. A
veterinarian check up before the gilt is bred will eliminate a
lot of issues, and your vet can advise you about any special
needs your sow may have.

Hypoglycemia in any small newly born animal is deadly. Be sure to
check the sow and the piglets often so that you can catch any
sign of a sickness or disease in order to prevent the death of
the sow or the piglets. Remember that you are your pigs'
caregiver and they are dependent on you for their lives.

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