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Thrombocytopaenic Purpura, Bleeding

This is an uncommon condition seen only in young piglets from approximately 7 to 21 days of age. Disease commences 7 to 10 days after the intake of colostrum.

The piglet dies through the failure of normal blood clotting mechanisms. The disease is very sporadic but up to half the litter may be affected.


  • Clinical signs can be sudden.
  • Good pigs found dead.
  • Look closely at the skin of these and you will see haemorrhages and blue areas wherever there has been bruising, teeth marks or trauma.
  • Haemorrhages are evident throughout all body tissues.
Sows, Weaners & Growers
  • N/A

Causes / Contributing factors

  • It arises when the sows colostrum contains antibodies that destroy the piglets blood platelets (thrombocytes) which are responsible for the clotting of blood.
  • The immune system of the sow during the period of pregnancy recognises the platelets as foreign protein and produces antibodies against them.
  • The formation of these antibodies is also related to the boar that is used.


Seek veterinary advice and post-mortem examinations. Can be confused with swine fever.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to find out more about this disease, including treatment, management control and prevention information. The top link is the main article on this disease.