How to recognise skin conditions

Skin diseases in the pig can be broadly divided into two groups. Those conditions or specific infections that only infect the skin and have minimal effect on the pig and those that are signs of more generalised disease.

Figure 10-1 lists the conditions that may be observed and the times when they are likely to occur, from birth through to the adult animal and indicates whether or not there is a generalised effect on the pig. Note that there are only five major diseases that have any economic significance; greasy pig disease, mange, necrosis, sunburn and the vesicular diseases.

Recognition commences by clinical observations across the herd. The following need to be considered:

  • What proportion of pigs are affected?
  • What age group is affected (refer to Fig.10-1).
  • Is there a generalised illness associated with the condition and can this be related to a specific disease?
  • Has the condition appeared suddenly or is it one that has been present in the herd for some time?
  • Have you seen the condition before and can you recognise it? If not it may be advisable to consult your veterinarian or refer to the photographs.
  • Do the pigs recover without treatment?

Use the progression pathway shown in Fig.10-2 together with Fig.10-3 which outlines diseases that may be responsible for the symptoms observed.