Injuries cause disease
As well as being susceptible to many diseases, pigs in confined, intensive units face injury from each other. This is from so-called ‘vices’, which include tail biting, and ear and flank chewing.
Pigs suffer injuries from other pigs; and also from rubbing themselves against the sides of their pens and crates © Viva!
An important factor in the development of such ‘vices’ is the greasy pig disease or ‘exudative epidermitis’. The disease can kill up to 90 per cent of younger pigs affected. A skin of wet eczema begins on the top of the tail or ears, often started by a combination of feed contaminating the skin and splitting of the skin caused by injury from, for example, bites or rough concrete flooring. Newly weaned piglets are often put onto flat decks which have a rough surface, and are housed with no bedding. The injuries allow Staphyloccus hyicus to invade, and this causes infection. Other pigs are attracted to the lesions and eventually this leads to biting.
Treatments involve determining the antibiotic sensitivity of the Staphyloccus hyicus if this is a part of the problem and medicating feed for seven to 10 days, injecting traumatised pigs long-acting antibiotics, management control and prevention.