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Iron toxicity (Vitamin E Deficiency)

Iron toxicity occurs when the sow and her piglets are deficient in vitamin E. Iron dextran injections become toxic and cause severe muscle reactions at the injection site.


  • The piglets become acutely lame, stiff and the affected muscles swell.
  • The piglets develop heavy breathing and look pale.
  • Anaemic.
  • Death occurs within 24 hours.
  • None
Weaners & Growers
  • Rare

Causes / Contributing factors

  • Vitamin E deficiency in the sow occurs when fats in the diet become rancid or cereals or corn have fermented and spoiled and the vitamin E is destroyed. Piglets are then born deficient
  • Poor quality iron dextran will predispose.


A history of acute lameness within 12 hours of iron injection, often with high mortality. Swellings at the sire of injection.

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.