calendar icon 8 November 2018
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Background and history

Fever means a high body temperature. It may occur with little or no other symptoms. The causes will in most cases be associated with bacterial or viral infections or, rarely stress.

Clinical signs

Usually the sow appears dull and sometimes shows a reddening of the skin. The respiratory rate may be raised. Clinical examinations will often indicate a cause and always look for the obvious first. Temperatures will range from 39-40ºC (103-109ºF).


Examine the animal closely to see if any of the above conditions can be detected. If not and there are a number of animals involved, veterinary advice should be sought. Bear in mind depending on where in the world your herd is located, fever may be the first clinical sign in such diseases as classical swine fever (hog cholera), African swine fever and aujeszky's disease (pseudorabies)


Consider the following conditions in order of importance:

  • Mastitis or metritis.
  • Retention of a dead pig.
  • Retention of afterbirth.
  • A bacterial septicaemia (e.g. erysipelas).
  • Flu or PRRS
  • Secondary bacterial infections associated with flu or PRRS.
  • Cystitis/ pyelonephritis.
  • Acute stress or eclampsia.
  • Heat stroke.


  • In most cases fevers in sows will be associated with bacterial infections and a broad spectrum antibiotic should always be used. Check the temperature at and 24 hours after treatment.
  • Broad acting antibiotics include, oxytetracycline, trimethoprim/sulpha, amoxycillin and penicillin / streptomycin.

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