Breeder information: Baby pig scours

Baby pig scours
Baby pig scours are major ongoing problems for swine producers. Most common diarrheas are caused by various strains of Escherichia coli, a gram-negative bacteria common to the intestinal tract of all mammals. The symptom of E. coli-induced diarrhea is a watery, yellowish stool. Pigs are most susceptible from 1 to 4 days of age, at 3 weeks of age and at weaning.

Although pigs are born with little disease resistance, this resistance increases as they absorb antibodies from their mothers’ colostrum. Because pigs’ ability to absorb antibodies decreases rapidly from birth, it becomes important that they feed on colostrum soon after birth. Colostrum provides the only natural disease protection they will have until their own mechanism for antibody production begins to function effectively at 4 to 5 weeks. Disease resistance is lowest at 3 weeks. It is wise to avoid unnecessary stress (castration, vaccination, worming) at this time.

In treating common scours, orally administered drugs are usually more effective than injections. You should use a drug effective against the bacterial strain on your farm.

A dry, warm, draft-free environment is of primary importance in reducing scours. Sanitation is also very important in reducing the incidence of baby pig scours.

Other diseases such as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) and swine dysentery may cause more serious diarrhea problems. Contact your local veterinarian if diarrhea persists or does not respond to treatment.