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Raising pigs requires the right housing, diet and healthcare. Compared with other livestock, pigs are relatively low maintenance. They do well on rough feed and can thrive in smaller spaces.

Providing the pigs get the recommended vaccines, they are not as susceptible to diseases as other farm animals.

Worms and Lice

Pigs are often prone to worm infections so it is important to keep their housing area clean and free of moisture and manure. Rotating pigs through different pastures helps disrupt the worm's lifecycle. Contact North Canterbury Vets for pig protection against worms and lice.

Respiratory Disease

Pigs are at risk from Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae if they are kept in confined areas with a high stocking rate. Outdoor pigs on lifestyle blocks are less at risk.

We recommend a vaccination for piglets at one week old and booster 2 weeks later and pregnant sows 2-6 weeks before farrowing and re-vaccination 2 weeks prior to farrowing.

Neonatal Diarrhea

Enterotoxigenic e-coli can affect neonates (less than 4 days old). It does not provide effective protection against e-coli strains affecting weaned piglets or other causes of scours. Post weaning diarrhea is also common in piglets so if you buy in weaned piglets at this age then preventative treatment with an in-feed antibiotic at therapeutic doses will help to prevent clinical disease.

For previous unvaccinated sows and sows in their first pregnancy, we recommend Primary
1st: 8-10 weeks before farrowing
2nd 2-4 weeks before farrowing at an interval of 4-8 weeks between vaccinations.
Booster: In subsequent pregnancies, one dose 2-4 weeks before farrowing is required.

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic Manage is a parasitic disease of pigs characterised by intense skin irritation and damage. Sarcoptes scabei var suis is a host-specific mite that is spread from pig to pig by direct contact. Other hosts are unlikely sources of infection for pigs. Survival of the mites and eggs away from the host is limited to a short period only, although under optimum environmental conditions, they may persist for up to three weeks.

The mite burrows into the skin and lays eggs in tunnels within the skin. This causes severe irritation with the pig rubbing its body on any available surface continually. The ears are a particularly favoured site of infestation, leading to head shaking and secondary ear damage (haematomas). Middle ear damage can also result.

The skin may be reddened and the ears waxy, although secondary skin damage (cuts and abrasions) and infection are common. This form of the disease is mostly seen in young growing pigs between 8-12 weeks of age. As the disease progresses in the individual, chronic lesions will occur. Thick encrustations in the ears, behind the elbows and on the back legs are the most common signs with the whole skin generally discoloured and scurfy.

Contact North Canterbury Vets if you notice any forms of mange. The most effective treatment is injectable ivermectin.


Reproduced with permission thanks to Franklin Vets, Papakura

Our Clinics & Hours

North Canterbury Veterinary Clinics operates four clinics throughout the Hurunui region.