Disclaimer: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only. Consult appropriate professionals on any matter relating to the safety and health of the swine.
Filipinos love pork, and this is reflected not only in the number of pork dishes that we have – from Adobo to Sisig – but also in the production volume* of the swine industry in the past years. Based on the data collected by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)1,among the poultry and livestock commodities (carabao, cattle, goat, hog, chicken, and duck), the hog industry has consistently produced the highest volume from 2014 to 2018. This may be an indication that pork is a staple in the Filipino diet which makes swine production a very lucrative business in the country.
However, the swine industry has its share of challenges. Just last 2019, the country was shaken by the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) among farms in some provinces in Luzon Island. This highly contagious disease among pigs has resulted in losses to farms brought about by the death of hogs and buyers’ pork avoidance2. Aside from ASF, other diseases may threaten the life and productivity of hogs. The following section shows some of the diseases being experienced by swine.
*Note: Production volume refers to the volume of locally-raised animals disposed of for slaughter which include animals shipped-out to other regions/provinces. This is expressed in metric tons, liveweight1.
Common Swine Diseases
According to the Department of Agriculture6, the following are the common swine diseases:
1. Hog Cholera or Classical Swine Fever.
This disease is caused by a virus8 that can spread through direct contact or uncooked food or kitchen scraps. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, constipation followed by diarrhea, inflammation of the eye, and discoloration of the ears, abdomen, inner thighs, or tail6.This disease is closely related to African Swine Fever though the latter is caused by a different virus. Nonetheless, both of them are listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health which means both of them are of international concern9.
To prevent and control the spread of the virus, owners are advised to have their pigs vaccinated against the disease, avoid giving them uncooked food, and immediately segregate contaminated pigs once detected6.
2. Swine Dysentery
Swine Dysentery is caused by bacteria which results in inflammation of the colon10. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, rough coat and weakness, and watery feces flecked with mucus or blood. Transmission of the bacteria is through the ingestion of contaminated feces which can be further spread by other organisms such as rats6.
Management of Swine Dysentery includes antibiotics in feed for two weeks when the disease is prevalent and quarantine of new arrivals for a week6.
3. Pneumonia-disease Complex
Symptoms of pneumonia on swine include coughing, eye and nasal discharge, difficulty in breathing, chilling, and muscular cramps, and this may be associated with a variety of conditions such as: (a) Swine Flu – which is caused by H1N1 virus and is transferrable to humans, (b) Swine Plague – a complication of Swine Flu, (c) Enzootic Pneumonia – caused by bacteria that reside in pig’s lungs, and (d) Atrophic Rhinitis6 – brought about by bacteria and may lead to distortion of the pig’s nose13. /span>
Prevention of pneumonia includes improvement in housing management, avoiding overcrowding, and providing plenty of clean water, nutritious feed, and vitamin-antibiotic feed supplements6.
4. Roundworm Infection
Diseases in pigs also include parasitic infestation. One of which is the Roundworm infection. Symptoms of the presence of this worm may include slow growth rate, thinness, dull growth of hair, and sometimes the presence of worms in feces or vomit6. Roundworm infection may spread through the ingestion of the worm’s eggs in contaminated pig’s manure15.
Treatment of roundworm infection is done through oral administration of dewormer through feed or drinking water6.
Taking Care of the Swine
To prevent the spread of diseases, proper housing and facilities management should be observed. The following are some tips from Department of Agricuture and DOST-PCAARRD:
- The housing should be built on a slightly sloping and well-drained area to prevent the area from becoming muddy6.
- Hog houses should also have concrete floors to reduce the incidence of parasites and disease. However, the concrete floor should not be too rough nor too smooth6.
- Provide the houses with clean feeders and drinking troughs6. One can also fabricate water feeders out of improvised water containers, transparent hose, and nipple drinkers5.
- Before going to the swine area, make sure to disinfect one’s shoes to ensure that the footwear will not bring any contamination. The chlorine-water solution can be used as a disinfectant5.
- Creep boxes should be installed to ensure the safety of the piglets from being crushed by the sow and from the spread of diseases5.
These are just a few of the reminders to help you and your current (or future) swine business in maintaining the well-being of your pigs. We at Trinity know that hogs are the greatest asset in any swine business, and this is why we offer Livestock Insurance that does not only secure your most valued asset but most importantly, your business.