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Torsion of the Stomach and the Intestines

Torsion of the stomach or the small intestine is a main cause of sudden death in adult breeding stock. The twist can involve the stomach, the spleen, part of the liver or the intestine.


  • Uncommon but symptoms as in sow.
  • Bloated abdomen.
  • Blue skin.
  • Sudden death: Often within 2 3 hours of feeding..
  • Anaemia.
Weaners & Growers
  • Usually none but sudden death.
  • Grossly distended abdomen.
  • The carcass is fresh but the pig is very pale.

Causes / Contributing factors

  • Deaths are usually sporadic although they can be of significance where, for example, whey is being fed and bloat occurs.
  • Over-feeding and abnormal fermentation of the contents of both the small and large intestine result in gas formation, increased pressure and torsion.
  • Prolonged over excitement at feeding may predispose.
  • Overeating liquid feed.
  • Large amounts of feed eaten during lactation will predispose.


Post-mortem examination shows the small and large intestines heavily congested and full of blood. The intestinal tract in the pig is suspended from a common point and this makes it liable to rotate and twist.

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.