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(287) Salmonella bacteria are widespread in human and animal populations. Some of them cause food poisoning in man or disease (salmonellosis) in animals. Salmonellosis is mainly a problem in the growing pig. The organisms are found in the intestine including sows and they are excreted for long periods of time with little or no disease. Salmonella in the gut of the pig can contaminate carcasses during the slaughter process and their presence creates potential public health risks.

There are two types commonly found in the pig, Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella choleraesuis. Salmonella derby is also fairly common in some regions. Other so called exotic types may also be detected without causing disease. Infection is usually by mouth from contaminated faeces and the sow may continue to shed the organism for several months.

Disease is dose dependent, that is, a minimum number of organisms are required before clinical signs occur. Salmonella typhimurium in the adult sow is mainly confined to the intestines whereas Salmonella choleraesuis spreads throughout the whole system causing septicaemia, pneumonia, meningitis arthritis and diarrhoea.

Clinical signs

Salmonella typhimurium disease occurs in pigs less than 6 months of age and only rarely are clinical signs seen in the sow. When it does occur it is associated with diarrhoea.

With Salmonella choleraesuis infection however the sow has a high temperature as the organisms spread throughout the body with pneumonia, coughing and diarrhoea following 2 to 3 days after the onset of clinical disease. Death may occur in the acute phase of the disease.


This is carried out by culturing the organism either from the diarrhoea, or in the case of dead pigs, from the internal organs. Control and treatment of this disease is dealt with in chapter 9.


  • This is rarely necessary in the sow .
Management control and prevention
  • The most important control mechanism for preventing spread from sow to piglet is the maintenance of all-in all-out procedures in farrowing houses. Recent work suggests that during sucking maternal antibody prevents infection being established in the piglet and provided weaned piglets are not infected from older carrier ones good control can be achieved.
  • A vaccine is available in some countries against S. choleraesuis that has proved effective.

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