The Symptoms and Treatment for Coccidiosis in Pet Pigs
The symptoms of Coccidiosis in pet pigs are similar to those of the
bacterial infection E. coli. But Coccidiosis is in fact not a bacterium
like E. coli but a parasite (worm) that infects cells in the
intestinal tract. The parasite damages the walls of the pig's
intestines, and usually secondary bacterial and/or viral
infections also develop, and it is these that often kill the pig.
Coccidiosis can be diagnosed as three different types of
Coccidiosis parasites called Isospora, Eimeria and
Cryptosporidia. It is contagious but is usually only seen in
piglets and occasionally in boars that have been moved into an
infected pen that was not properly sanitized. It is in fact the
sows that are the carriers of the parasite and they pass it along
to the piglets, most often through their feces if the pens are
not cleaned daily. Some breeders have the veterinarian treat sows
before they become pregnant, as a preventative measure.
It is important to take good care of your pigs and keep your pig
breeding area scrupulously clean so that this type of parasite
does not infect your piglets. Unfortunately this parasite is not
easily killed and does not respond well to antibiotics.
Prevention is really the only cure, because once symptoms are
seen there not much to be done. You should still contact your
veterinarian, however, as he may have a new treatment or advice
that may help.
Coccidiosis shows up in piglets at about a week and a half to
three weeks old. Its symptom is diarrhea. The piglet's stool will
be of varying degrees of yellow to yellow-grey, green, to rust
colored depending upon the severity of the condition. If a piglet
has Coccidiosis you will need to move the piglet to a separate
area from the other pigs and keep it warm, dry and clean. Provide
the piglet with a clean creep area to forage around in.
The only effective treatment you can offer is to give the piglet
as much electrolyte fluid as you can. The parasite is not easily
killed and the piglet most likely will have to fight it off with
its own immune system. Piglets that get this parasite often
simply waste away and die of dehydration.
Piglets that get this disease have usually been penned in
unsanitary conditions where the pen is not often cleaned. Proper
cleaning and hygiene is critical to keeping your pig healthy,
especially when they are young. Coccidiosis infection is a direct
result of poor cleaning and hygiene.
Be aware that poor cleaning of pens and unsanitary conditions can
kill and most certainly spread disease and parasites. Take care
to properly sanitize an area before you move a sow and her
piglets into it. Provide proper and thorough daily cleaning of
the pen and remove all feces, so as to not allow the spread of
parasites and disease. Keep flies down, and don't creep feed on
the floor until the piglets are at least three weeks old. No
animal in captivity should be made to live in its own feces -
including a pig.
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