Health Problems for Pigs

Learn to recognize common health problems in pigs and how to prevent them from becoming serious.

| February 2018

Choosing and Keeping Pigs (Firefly Books Inc., 2009), by Linda McDonald-Brown is an expert guide for anyone interested in keeping pigs. The book details everything readers need to know about caring for and keeping a pig, covering topics ranging from housing to health and habitat management. The following excerpt is from Chapter 3, "Pests and Diseases."

There are a number of health problems that can affect your pigs. Knowing a little about how to spot them and what remedial measures to take may help prevent them from becoming serious.

Common problems

Common problems range from heatstroke to mange to lameness. Some can be treated by the owner if caught early enough, while others require a vet's intervention.


Heatstroke is quite common in pigs and occurs when the pig is unable to lose body heat and its temperature rises dangerously. In hot weather provide as much shade as possible, either in the form of trees or by erecting a pig shade. Ideally, arks should be insulated and ventilated to allow air to flow through. If it is very hot, replace the straw with something less insulating or take it away altogether. Ensure that buildings used for farrowing sows are kept cool and that the air flow is not restricted. If you are travelling with pigs, make sure all the trailer vents are down; dampen bedding in the trailer if the weather is extremely hot.

All outdoor pigs must be provided with a wallow in hot weather. The best ones are man-made wallows containing mud, which retains the moisture on a pig's body far better than water in a galvanized steel wallow.

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