Symptoms and forms of edematous disease of piglets, treatment and prevention

Symptoms and forms of edematous disease of piglets, treatment and prevention

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Edema disease of young piglets is the main cause of their death. The owner takes care of his pets, provides them with comfortable conditions and the necessary nutrition, and they suddenly die. Similar symptoms occur in young kids and lambs. Naturally, this prospect does not suit farmers, and they strive to prevent the appearance of disease in their animals.

Description and causative agent of the disease

Scientists do not yet have accurate information about which microorganism is capable of causing edema disease in pigs. Many of them agree that these may be beta-hemolytic toxigenic colibacteria. They are the reason for the specific poisoning of the animal's body. In veterinary medicine, the disease is also known as enterotoxemia or paralytic toxicosis. In the people, the disease is simply called edematous disease of pigs.

A signal that a piglet has fallen ill with a dangerous disease is an elevated temperature, which after a while drops to normal. In the future, the young pig refuses to eat, suffers from photophobia, vomiting, diarrhea and edema appear. The gait of the animal becomes wobbly.

Causes of occurrence

Not so much is known about the causes of edematous disease in pigs. Since the development of the disease is provoked by one of the types of bacteria that are constantly in the intestines, it is logical to assert that the cause of the disease is a decrease in immunity. In this case, the pathogenic microflora will multiply in the young organism in the first place.

The following factors are capable of provoking the development of the disease:

  • stress due to weaning from a sow;
  • early weaning, in which the intestines have not yet fully developed, and the protective functions of the young body are weak;
  • inappropriate conditions of detention;
  • violation of the diet or improperly selected diet;
  • lack of conditions for walking.

Even the transfer of a pig from one place to another causes severe stress, which entails a decrease in immunity. Active bacteria can be spread by a recovered pig, so such animals cannot be kept in a common enclosure. If the first symptoms of the disease become noticeable, then the animal should be immediately transferred to a separate pen and protected from contact with other piglets.

The main signs

The incubation period of edematous disease in piglets lasts only a few hours. The exact time depends on the rate of reproduction of bacteria, the number of which at a temperature of +25 ° C doubles every day. The body temperature of pigs is higher, therefore, the rate of reproduction of pathogenic microorganisms is higher.

The first symptom indicating the development of the disease is an increase in body temperature to 40.5 ° C. After a few hours, it drops back to normal. At home, this alarm is easy to miss. After a while, the following alarming symptoms appear:

  • puffiness appears;
  • the gait of the animal is wobbly;
  • diarrhea or constipation appears;
  • the piglet loses appetite and vomits;
  • photophobia manifests itself;
  • small hemorrhages on the mucous membranes become noticeable.

Edema disease got its name due to the fact that fluid accumulates in the subcutaneous tissue. The eyelids, the frontal part, the snout, the back of the head can swell. If the disease is started, the nervous system is affected, and the following symptoms become obvious:

  • tremors in the muscles;
  • strong excitability;
  • walking in a circle;
  • head twitching;
  • taking a sitting dog pose;
  • convulsions;
  • twitching of the legs while lying on the side.

The arousal stage lasts only about half an hour, after which depression sets in. It is characterized by a lack of response to stimuli, paralysis, and bruising.

After that, the pig dies. Even if the pig can be saved at the initial stage and prevent the aggravation of the disease, the animal will lag behind in development in the future.


Edematous disease of piglets is characterized by three main forms: acute, fulminant and chronic. Lightning got its name due to the fact that animals die suddenly, and there is virtually no time to take measures to save them.

Lightning fast

The fulminant form of edematous disease differs in that even in the evening healthy piglets may die during the next day. Most often, weaned pigs suffer from the disease at the age of two months. This form of the disease occurs primarily on farms. From suddenly dead pigs, stronger brethren can catch an infection and get swelling and damage to the nervous system.


This form is the most common. Piglets live with it for up to a day, and the mortality rate is slightly lower, and is about 90%. Animals die from asphyxia, as the nervous system loses the ability to conduct signals from the respiratory center of the brain. Before death, the pulse rises to 200 beats per minute. The heart tries to compensate the body for the lack of oxygen, which has ceased to flow from the lungs, accelerating the pumping of blood.


This form of the disease is typical for piglets older than 3 months. The symptoms are:

  • poor appetite;
  • depressed state;
  • stagnation.

The chronic form differs in that self-recovery is possible with it. However, recovered piglets lag behind in development, they show lameness and curvature of the neck.

Diagnostic methods

It is very difficult to diagnose edematous disease in piglets. Outwardly, it has similarities with other diseases, so the veterinarian cannot always correctly diagnose. It is possible to give an accurate conclusion only after pathological studies. Autopsy often reveals edema of the subcutaneous tissue, edema of the submucosa of the stomach. Venous congestion is observed in the liver and kidneys. Swelling is more common in slaughtered piglets than in those that died on their own.

How to treat edema disease in piglets

Since swelling of piglets is caused by bacteria, it is treated with antibiotics. Penicillin and tetracycline drugs are suitable. At the same time, it is recommended to use sulfa drugs. Some veterinarians find aminoglycoside antibiotics to be more effective.

The names of antibiotics used to treat piglet edematous disease can be different, but they must belong to one of the groups named.

Concomitant therapy is carried out using calcium chloride 10%. Piglets are given daily intravenous injections or oral administration. Antihistamines are also administered. The dosage and method of administration depend on the form of release and the type of medication used. If the piglets have heart failure, then it is necessary to inject "Cordiamin" subcutaneously 2 times a day. Once the healing process begins, probiotics are prescribed to restore the intestinal flora.

During the treatment period, all feeding errors should be eliminated and the pig diet adjusted. On the first day of the disease, animals are kept on a starvation diet. They are given a laxative to drink to cleanse their bowels as soon as possible. If the piglets survive, on the second day they are fed easily digestible food: potatoes, reverse or beets. Vitamins of group B and D can be injected instead of feeding.

Prevention measures

The main prevention of edematous disease is compliance with the rules of keeping and feeding piglets. A correct diet is necessary for pregnant pigs so that at the stage of intrauterine development the offspring receive all the necessary components for normal development and strengthening of immunity. From the third day of life, young animals begin to be fed with vitamins, and in the warm season they are released for walking.

Under no circumstances should piglets be weaned from a sow early. Feeding with concentrates also has a negative impact on the health of the young. When the animals reach two months of age, they are fed probiotics. The course of admission begins before weaning from the sow, and ends after it. The premises and maintenance equipment must be periodically disinfected. In order to prevent edema disease, it is recommended to be vaccinated with the Serdosan vaccine. The first injection should be done on the tenth day of life. After 14 days, the procedure is repeated.

Why swelling in piglets is dangerous

Piglet edema is dangerous because it is difficult to recognize it at first. It flows quickly, and the owner sometimes does not even have time to take measures to save the animal. The mortality rate in the fulminant form of the disease is 100%, and in the chronic form it is 80%. Animals with strong immunity have a chance to survive.

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