Diarrhoea in pigs is a major cause of poor performance and death. Piglet diarrhoea, or scours, most often occurs in piglets and newly weaned pigs. When considering potential causes, it’s important to look at both environmental and nutritional factors, focusing on sanitation, pathogen control and proper nutrition.
Signs of piglet diarrhoea
- Watery stool
- Loss of body weight
- Poor appetite
- Diarrhoea scoring guide
A diarrhoea scoring guide can help you to monitor the overall health of your herd. If pigs have a faecal score of greater than 2.5 for more than five days, they are unhealthy and require attention.
Causes of diarrhoea in piglets
Many pathogens can contribute to diarrhoea, including:
- Parasites, such as coccidia, roundworms and whipworms
- Viral pathogens, like porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), rotavirus types A, B and C, and even porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome (PRRS)
- Bacterial causes, such as E. coli, Salmonella and, occasionally, Clostridium perfringens or C. difficile
The stress of weaning can often trigger an enteric challenge in the nursery, allowing these organisms to negatively affect piglets. Good herd and shed management are imperative in order to minimise exposure risk. This may include sanitising and disinfecting between every group entering the facility, especially if previous groups have faced a challenge.
Preventing piglet diarrhoea
- Wash and sanitise nursery facilities between groups
- Feed colostrum
- Sanitise feed and water equipment
- Develop a proper biosecurity protocol that all employees can follow
- House sick piglets in a separate pen so they can receive more intensive care, which will help them get back to a full feed intake
There are many factors to consider when evaluating the cause and treatment of diarrhoea in a group of recently weaned pigs. Be careful not to fall into the trap of missing all of the influencing factors. Otherwise, a small challenge could quickly become a crisis. Ask questions, make sure the environment is correct for the pigs’ group size and weight, get your veterinarian and nutritionist involved, and make sure to record successes and failures as you go.
Alltech Lienert has several solutions available to support gut health in your piglets, ensuring optimised growth and performance.
BLUEPRINT® CREEP FEEDS
Blueprint Creep® is a safe and commercially proven feeding program for piglets to thrive and reach their genetic potential.
pHortify™ is a combination of gut health technologies, specifically developed to help pigs reach their full growth potential and can be used during all phases of production, to ensure gut integrity, performance and profitability.
ACID-PAK® 4-WAY WS 2X
Acid-Pak® 4-Way WS 2X is a unique technology designed to lower water pH in order to
maintain optimum conditions for digestion in the stomach and small intestine, supporting optimal gut health during critical periods in a pig’s life.
Contact your local Alltech Lienert representative or call 1800 649 231 for more information on these products and to grab your free copy of our piglet faecal scoring poster.