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(548) This is relatively rare in the pig. It occurs when a carnivorous rabid animal such as a dog, wolf, fox, coyote, jackal or skunk with the furious form of rabies gains access to pigs and manages to bite them. In Argentina certain species of cave-dwelling vampire bats transmit rabies to cattle but they are most unlikely to gain access to pigs.

Importance of Rabies

Remember that rabies is a fatal disease communicable to man.

Clinical signs

After a variable incubation stage the bitten pig suddenly shows depression, develops difficulty in walking and becomes prostrated. Nose twitching, rapid chewing movements, excess salivation and muscular spasms which evolve into tremors follow. This sequence of clinical signs is termed dumb rabious. Death ensues in 3-6 days. The furious form of rabies, seen in dogs and foxes, has been reported in pigs but is rare. The pig shows the above signs but in addition becomes aggressive.


Accurate diagnosis is essential and requires a specialised laboratory.


  • There is no treatment or method of control suitable for pigs.
Management control and prevention
  • People are highly susceptible to the disease so unless you have been properly vaccinated barricade the affected pig away from the others and keep right away from it yourself.
  • The saliva of the pig is highly infectious and can exist as an aerosol which you might inhale. Call your veterinarian quickly and let him deal with the situation.
  • Beware that other pigs may be incubating the disease. Inspect them all frequently and if any behave suspiciously separate them and keep away from them yourself.
  • In regions where rabies is common farm staff and the farm dogs should be vaccinated.

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