Salmonella bacteria multiply mainly in the intestines of young growing pigs but also in some sows.
Clinical signs of salmonella infection may include any combination of the following:
- A high temperature
- Loss of appetite
- Congestion of the ears, snout and tail
- Nervous signs
- A smelly and/or bloody diarrhoea
- Death may occur in the acute phase of the disease
Salmonella can be serious, causing blood poisoning, acute or chronic enteritis and wasting (mainly in pigs between weaning and three months). The septicaemic (blood poisoning) form kills almost all of its victims. Salmonella is caused by poor hygiene, overcrowding, stress by moving and mixing and contamination of feed by birds, rats and mice.
There has been huge media exposure of the effects of Salmonella poisoning in people, but rarely mentioned is the pain and suffering of pigs.
Factory farms may help spread disease as the bacterium infects young piglets in contaminated faeces. Salmonellae are also in slurry and dust within pig units – some of the indoor farms visited by Viva! have been thick with dust and slurry pits had not been cleaned out – the stench pervading every corner. Further, live transport and markets transmit this disease.