ThePigSite Quick Disease Guide
SymptomsThese depend on the severity of the condition.
- Often no symptoms.
In the less acute form:
- Pale skin.
- Grinding of the teeth due to stomach pain .
- Passing of dark faeces containing digested blood.
- Not eating.
- A tucked up appearance.
- Previously healthy animals are found dead and very pale.
- Previously healthy animals are found dead.
- The most striking sign is the paleness of the carcass due to internal haemorrhage.
- The affected pig is pale.
- Shows breathlessness.
- Grinding of the teeth.
- The passing of dark faeces containing digested blood is often a persistent symptom.
- Usually the temperature is normal.
- The pig has an intermittent appetite and may lose weight.
Causes / Contributing factors
There is usually more than one causal factor. They may include nutritional factors, management deficiencies that lead to stress, and infections.
- Low protein diets.
- Low fibre diets. (The introduction of straw reduces the incidence).
- High energy diets.
- High levels of wheat in excess of 55%.
- Deficiencies of vitamin E or selenium.
- Diets containing high levels of iron, copper or calcium.
- Diets low in zinc.
- Diets with high levels of unsaturated fats.
- Diets based on whey and skimmed milk.
- Size of feed particle - the more finely ground the meal the smaller becomes the particle size and the higher the incidence of ulcers. This is still the case if the feed is then pelleted.
- Pelleting feeds in itself increases the incidence. Feed meal.
- However, sometimes changing from pellets to meal itself causes problems. A compromise is to feed alternatively.
- Cereals with a high moisture content sometimes seem to contribute to ulcers.
- Rolling cereals as distinct from grinding them will often produce a dramatic drop in the incidence but the penalties of feed use have to be taken into consideration.
- Irregular feeding patterns and shortage of feeder space.
- Increased stocking densities and movement of pigs or any other undue stresses including poor stockmanship.
- Excessive aggression between sows.
- Poor management of sows in stalls and tethers.
- Noisy unsympathetic stockmanship in the farrowing rooms.
- Periods of starvation.
- Poor availability of food or water.
- Fluctuating environmental temperatures.
- There is a clear relationship between outbreaks of pneumonia and the incidence of gastric ulceration.
- Ulceration may occur following bacterial septicaemias such as those associated with erysipelas and swine fever.
- More common in certain genotypes.
DiagnosisThis is based on the clinical signs and post mortem lesions. A sample of faeces should be examined for the presence of blood and to eliminate parasites. An examination of stomachs at slaughter should be carried out.
Gastric ulcers must be differentiated from haemorrhage of the bowel, eperythrozoonosis, the red stomach worm Hyostrongylus rubidus and porcine enteropathy.