3 Cases of Piglet Anaemia Noted in UK Monthly Report

UK - The Monthly Scanning Surveillance Report for April 2009 from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) highlights three cases of piglet anaemia as well as significant losses on one farm from Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (App) infection.
calendar icon 29 May 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

Alimentary Tract Diseases

Three one- to two-day-old piglets were submitted to Bury to investigate scouring in litters from all ages of sows and not responding to antibiotic treatment. Enteric colibacillosis was diagnosed with profuse growths of E. coli serotype O149: K91, K88ac (Abbotstown strain) from the intestines. In one piglet, the gammaglobulin concentration was 0.8 ZST units, indicating a failure of colostrum antibody uptake, which its empty stomach suggests was due to a failure to ingest colostrum. The other two piglets had milk in their stomachs and gammaglobulin concentrations were more than 20 ZST units, indicating that there was satisfactory colostral antibody uptake.

Respiratory Diseases

Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae

Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae infection was confirmed as a component of respiratory disease in 10-week-old pigs over a two-week period on a nursery unit rearing 1750 pigs to 12-weeks-old in tents containing 110 pigs each. Four hundred pigs were affected and 83 had died. Coughing and sudden deaths were reported. One dead pig was submitted to Bury and necropsy revealed purple consolidation of the caudal lung lobe and fibrous pericarditis, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae was isolated. No underlying mycoplasmal or viral disease was identified.


Pigs were submitted to Bury from a 10,500 pig continuous nursery-finisher unit to investigate increased wasting and mortality post weaning. Disease due to Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae had been a problem in finishers over the previous few months and active PRRS virus infection was also recently identified on the unit. Post mortem examination was undertaken on six seven-week-old pigs in poor body condition. In four pigs, findings were very similar with a fibrinous polyserositis, suggestive of Glasser's disease, although no Haemophilus parasuis was isolated probably due to recent parenteral antibiotic treatment. In the other two pigs, there was lower limb pathology, in one this was a large subcutaneous abscess and in the other there was osteomyelitis of the tuber calcaneus from which Arcanobacterium pyogenes was isolated. The spleens of three of the pigs were tested for PRRSV by PCR and all tested positive for European strain PRRS; the active PRRS virus infection was considered to be significant to the clinical problem on farm.

Other Diseases

Glasser's disease

Sutton Bonnington diagnosed Haemophilus parasuis was diagnosed as the cause of polyserositis in an eight-week-old pig from a litter in which 50 per cent of the pigs developed mild scouring and wasting. The small breeder finisher unit frequently had experienced cases of wasting and scouring after weaning. This animal also had a mild ulcerative typhlocolitis, with faecal samples positive for Brachyspira spp. by FAT. Culture of the faeces resulted in identification of Brachyspira pilosicoli.

Iron deficiency

Sudden deaths in a group of well-grown six-week-old piglets lead to the submission of two animals to Winchester for post mortem examination. Profound anaemia was evident in both animals, and was confirmed histologically. Advice on iron supplementation was given.

Shrewsbury also investigated two outbreaks in one of which iron deficiency was diagnosed in four-week-old piglets presented with a history of fading and then dying. Low liver tissue iron concentrations were detected. Initial suspicions had been that the fading was due to coccidiosis but there was no evidence of enteric pathogens.

Langford reported a case in which four of a group of 12, six-week old piglets had shown diarrhoea, inappetence and depression for a week. All four died following a brief period of respiratory distress. Necropsy revealed findings consistent with piglet anaemia. No supplementary iron was given.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
- Find out more information on the diseases mentioned in this article by clicking here.
© 2000 - 2022 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.