Producers are reminded to follow a health protocol in their swine operations

Pigs are generally hardy animals, but they are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Often times in Missouri and the world in general, swine production occurs within close quarters. This type of environment increases the risk for pigs to develop diseases and then spread them across the rest of the herd. For that reason, health management in the swine industry is crucial to ensure hogs are healthy and have the ability to maximize production.

Internal Parasites

Swine are susceptible to roundworms, whipworms, nodular worms, threadworms, kidneyworms, and lungworms.

Hogs should be dewormed multiple times, including prior to breeding and prior to farrowing in gilts and sows. Piglets should have one or more deworming doses around weaning and throughout growth. Many producers don’t typically worm piglets until they are on soil and eating out of a creeper. Your local veterinarian can always advise a deworming schedule based on your operational practices.


There are seven major swine diseases that are important to protect against with either early immunization, routine vaccination or practice management.


Erysipelas is an infectious disease that most commonly develops skin lesions on hogs. Growing swine are most susceptible to Erysipelas, especially in confined situations. If left untreated, it can cause sudden death, fever, severe skin lesions, and arthritis. It’s important to vaccinate all gilts and young boars at roughly 6-8 weeks of age prior to adding them to the breeding herd. Sows should receive their vaccination three to four weeks prior to farrowing and boars should receive their vaccination every six months.


Clinical signs can be limited with Leptospirosis. Most commonly, infected pigs will have reproductive failure that can present as infertility or spontaneous abortion. Abortions most generally occur two to four weeks before term or piglets may be weak at birth and die shortly after. Female hogs should be immunized two to three weeks prior to breeding.


Pneumonia typically presents with clinical indications of coughing or wheezing. This respiratory disease is caused by a bacteria and usually doesn’t result in death. Some strains of pneumonia can be vaccinated against, however, most commonly best practice and herd management is the best way to alleviate any concerns of pneumonia. It’s important to practice good sanitation and isolate infected animals. Providing cover from dusty conditions and dampening soil during periods of drought or extreme temperatures can help protect pigs from pneumonia.


Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is a virus that creates a twofold problem. One problem is failure to breed or reproductive problems. The second problem is respiratory disease in pigs.

PRRS can occur in hogs at any age and is a worldwide problem. Clinical indications include abortions, mummified pigs, stillbirths, and respiratory issues. Vaccination can occur at any age.


Vaccinations for Pseudorabies are available to prevent the spread of the disease; however, if obtained this virus cannot be treated and has high death rates in young pigs. Clinical indications include paralysis, fever, spontaneous abortion or stillborn births in sows. Veterinarians recommend a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to Pseudorabies because the virus can spread quickly through a herd.


Vaccination should occur in piglets and in sows. Rhinitis is caused by a bacteria that reduces facial bone structure, particularly the snout, of hogs. Producers should pay attention to consistent sneezing in hogs; however, significance of this disease has declined substantially through the years.


Transmissible Gastro Enteritis (TGE) is a highly infection diseased caused by the coronavirus. Vaccines are available but the results are variable. It’s important to maintain quality colostrum in sows for transmission to piglets so intramuscular vaccinations tends to have a poor response. The disease causes severe diarrhea and most commonly affects young pigs.

Many diseases in swine are based on environment and condition. It’s best to ensure hogs are in clean, sanitary environments with a regular vaccination schedule and proper care.


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