HELP! Baby potbelly pigs dying all over the place.

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Laura Workman, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Last night, I went out and one seemed a little bit weak. I brought it in and tried to give it some milk, but it wasn't interested. I thought maybe Momma Pig could take care of it best, so put it back into the nest. This morning at 7:00, I found two dead (one was the one from last night) and two looking really bad. The other five looked fine. I brought them all in and tried to warm up the live ones. Eventually, after about three hours they both died. I just went out to check and found two of the remaining five looking very weak.

    Can anybody tell me what's going on? Why are they dying? What can I do?
     
  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi Laura,
    My first thought would be E.Coli. This can be treated with an anti-scour product containing antibiotic. Also offer them a flat bowl of electrolytes of the type normally given to calves as death is often through fluid loss rather than infection. If you havn't got any you can make up your own.

    With piglet losses of that number, probably the best thing to do is ring your vet and see what they suggest.

    I do feel for you; I've had this happen to me and it's devastating.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     

  3. djuhnke

    djuhnke Well-Known Member

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    Are any of them nursing? If not you may need to get a milk supplement going quickly. Water is also important.
     
  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Hi Ronnie, Thanks so much for answering. I've lost six of the nine so far, but no one else has shown signs of failing since I gave them pennicilin around 11:00. I had called the person I got the parents from. She said it was pneumonia and I should give them pennicilin. So far so good.

    I did call the vet, but cancelled when the situation seemed to stabilize. (I don't have much faith in the "farm" vets we have around here.)

    These piglets are just a day old, by the way, on clean dirt and in clean straw. Nobody's scouring at all. They were all nursing at one point, but they would just wander off and lay down and die. Also, they would have white foam coming from their mouths, which is why she said it was pneumonia.

    Hopefully, the remaining three will survive. We'll see. Thanks again for your help.
     
  5. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Is this a proven sow / historically good mother? Some aren't, and I know some will freak at the comment, but in my opinion bad parents should be removed from the breeding list. I've found bad mothers the first time around are 90 percent likely to be bad mothers the next time around. Good mothers will even adopt piglets. Those momas get special treats like eggs and peanut butter sandwiches etc. If she is a proven mother, disturbing the nest in the first 24 hours can make a sow lose interest in the piglets. When I find a sow giving birth, I know it might seem hard, but giving her plenty of space seems to work the best, and let the chips land where they may. Meconium aspiration might act like this, but that seems like too high a percentage of the piglets to be likely, antibiotics would be treatment of choice for that
     
  6. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi Laura,
    Am pleased to hear that the situation appears to have stabalised but have reservations about the pneumonia part of it in such young piglets. This is a disease more commonly found in grower pigs and yours were hardly old enough to contract the disease let alone for it to develope. Also, you would seem to have provided clean, warm and dry conditions for this sow and her young and a lack of these factors is what normally gives rise to pneumonia.
    The foaming at the mouth is apros of nothing as it can often be found in dead and/or dieing animals no matter what has killed them.

    While antibiotics can get on top of pneumonia, Penicillan is not the drug of choice and rarely makes much impact which again makes me doubt the pneumonia aspect of it. I know you don't have much faith in your vets, but should you lose any more I would take the carcase in and have them take samples and blood for lab testing so that you know what you could be facing for future litters. Unfortunately there are a raft of diseases rangeing from E.Coli through to Parvo and Meningitis which can affect very young piglets and if you wish to continue to breed, you really need to know what your up against.

    Crossing fingers though that the remaining three surivive.

    As a matter of interest, did you purchase this sow in-pig?

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Iron deficiency anemia
     
  8. djuhnke

    djuhnke Well-Known Member

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    It would hit them that fast?

    Dan
     
  9. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Well, I just went out again. All three piglets are still doing mostly OK, although one is a little weak. They were clean and dry outside, but not really warm. They shivered a lot, but then so did the last batch and none of them died. Anyway, I set up a creep with a heat lamp in the little house, and they seem quite comfortable in that. When I was setting it up, I discovered another two dead babies, that had presumably been there since she gave birth. So she had a total of eleven babies. Maybe they were just too little and fragile due to the large litter. I don't know. Sure hope I don't lose any more.
     
  10. Misty

    Misty Misty Gonzales

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    George is right....we had one gilt that tried to eat her babies, we kept them away from her head. Then after about the 6th pig, she would settle right down with them. This happened the first two litters. The third, she did great.
    www.geocities.com/gonzalesshowpigs
     
  11. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    This sow had her first litter last may. Birthed 7 and weaned 7, no problems at all. She does seem to be a really good mom. Very protective as well! The piglets seem quite a bit happier with the heated creep area. All three were in it when I went out this morning. It was really nice to see them looking so comfortable and contented. Not even the littlest one was shivering. Hopefully, we won't have any more troubles, and I'll save the creep and install it next time before they're born. Thanks again for all your help!
     
  12. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Hey, agmantoo, that's a cool trick about swabbing the sow's teats with iron. I'll remember that.

    Since I built the creep with the heat lamp, the pigs have really come around. Even the little one that was kind of skinny has put on enough weight in the last 24 hours that you can no longer see the separate bumps of her backbone as you could before. I think that maybe without the heated creep, these guys just got too cold, burned up too much energy from constantly shivering, chilled and died. If I'd made the creep a week ago, I'd have at least nine pigs now instead of three. Feeling pretty good about that. From now on, that creep will be set up and warm well before the sow farrows.
     
  13. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Laura's pigs were dieing at 12 hours of age - piglets are not normally given iron until between 24 and 48 hours of age or until the lightest in the litter weighs 1kg - which from memory is just over 2lb. It is very rare for new born piglets to die from iron deficiency as the sow usually has enough to impart to the young for the first 3 days of life after which she is not able to meet her need, and theirs as they grow. In natural circumstances this isn't a problem as by three days of age they are already fossicking around in their environment and will be getting their quota from what they ingest with the soil. To that end it is penned pigs that are at a disadvantage and they either need to be given iron or sods of soil that they can root around in. Even then, it isn't a problem in the first few hours of life.

    Laura, now that you've given a little more information, I too think that cold may have been a large factor. I didn't give that any thought initially as you seemed to have a good set-up but then I don't know what temperatures get like in your neck of the woods. Ideally, piglets should be in a constant temperature of about 25C (sorry, can't find the conversion tables at the moment). Look at it as a learning curve, albeit a hard one, but one that will stick with you as long as your breed pigs. Some of my best learnt lessons have also been the hardest ones. Sounds like the three remaining piglets are doing well and pleased that you are remaining positive and will go on to give it another go. :goodjob:

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  14. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I'm sorry I didn't give enough information before. I can see now how difficult it is to give all the information necessary when you're shaken. Anyway, temperatures here were mid-40s at night (7C, using F=(1.8C)+32) and mid-60s during the day (18C), and so well under the required 25 C (77F). Poor little guys.

    Thanks again for all your help and encouragement. Hopefully it will go much better next time.