Meningitis found in outdoor piglets
OUTDOOR piglets are contracting meningitis infections usually seen in older indoor pigs.
Aberdeenshire vet Grace Webster explains that the disease – caused by Streptococcus suis and which can kill pigs quickly – is normally seen in weaner pigs on indoor units, where it is spread more easily via airborne water droplets. But it is now being seen in suckling pigs on outdoor sites.
"Bought-in replacements are the most likely vector, which then pass on infection to piglets through their milk," says Mrs Webster. Tests can be carried out before replacements are purchased and adequate isolation of gilts and boars before they enter the herd will also help reduce disease spread.
"Outdoor producers should now be more vigilant and familiarise themselves with the symptoms which may begin as stiff or swollen joints. As it progresses the skin of the brain can become inflamed and the piglets become confused before collapsing and paddling."
Any producer noticing pigs with stiff joints should call the vet immediately, she adds.n