Top Piglet Diarrheas

*

Which pig diarrhea costs nearly $1.8 billion per year in losses?

*

Neonatal diarrhea is a classic topic for NAVLE® questions.

Zuku's Top Piglet Diarrheas To Know For NAVLE® Success:

  • Categorization of piglet diarrheas
    Diseases that are particularly characteristic are denoted with an asterisk

    Normal pig feces

    Hypersecretory diarrhea can be yellow in color

    1-3 d piglets are more susceptible to C. perfringens type C

    The many different diarrhea appearances due to swine dysentery.
    Image used with permission, courtesy of The Pig Site

    • TYPE of diarrhea?
      • Hypersecretory:
        • Usually bacterial
        • Diarrhea tends to be watery, white, or yellow in color with an alkaline pH
        • Causes rapid dehydration
      • Malabsorptive:
        • Usually viral
        • Caused by inability to absorb certain nutrients (unabsorbed lactose is converted to lactate by normal GI bacteria, typically causing acidic diarrhea)
        • If proximal intestine affected, diarrhea can be voluminous and pasty
        • If distal intestine affected, diarrhea tends to be frequent and watery
    • WHO gets it? Piglet diarrheas are characterized by age of occurrence
    • DISTINGUISHING characteristic?
      • Sudden outbreak affecting many litters?
        • TGE
        • Epidemic diarrhea
      • Vomiting?
        • *TGE
        • Porcine epidemic diarrhea
      • Hemorrhagic diarrhea?
        • *C. perfringens type C
        • E. coli
        • Threadworm
        • Proliferative enteritis
        • T. suis
      • White scours? Think E. coli
      • Creamy diarrhea?
        • *Rotavirus
        • Campylobacter
      • Watery, pasty diarrhea?
        • *Proliferative enteritis
        • Coccidiosis
        • Salmonellosis
        • C. difficile
      • Mucohemorrhagic diarrhea?
        • *Swine dysentery
        • T. suis
      • Profuse, watery diarrhea in piglets less than 7 d?
        • *TGE
        • *E. coli
        • Rotavirus
      • Rectal stricture? Salmonellosis
  • The top piglet diarrheas

    Gram stain of C. perfringens

    Loose feces dribbling from the anus in a case of swine dysentery.
    Image used with permission, courtesy of The Pig Site

    Sloppy diarrhea due to porcine proliferative enteritis.
    Image used with permission, courtesy of The Pig Site

    • Classic case:
      • All causes:
        • Diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, weakness
        • Decreased nursing/appetite
        • Piglets huddling together, shivering
        • Piglet found dead
        • +/- Colic and vomiting
      • 2-10 d old: C. perfringens type C:
        • Hemorrhagic diarrhea
        • Sudden onset, high mortality
      • Less than 3 wk old: TGE:
        • Profuse, watery diarrhea
        • Spreads rapidly
        • Vomiting
        • High mortality
      • 5 d - 3 wk old: Rotavirus:
        • White/yellow diarrhea
        • Self-limiting, rarely fatal
      • 7-16 wk old: Swine dysentery:
        • Mucohemorrhagic enteritis
        • Anorexia, dehydration, emaciation
        • Poor growth rate
      • Weaned and older; esp. growing-finishing (40- 80-lb): Porcine proliferative enteritis:
        • Abdominal distention
        • Scrotal edema
        • Subclinical: Weight loss
        • Acute: Hemorrhagic diarrhea
        • Chronic: Diarrhea, wasting
      • Healthiest pigs 1-2 wk after weaning: E. coli:
        • Watery diarrhea
        • Severe, acute
        • Peracute death
        • +/- Neurologic signs
        • +/- Vomiting
      • All age groups: Salmonellosis:
        • Nursing pigs: Foul-smelling diarrhea, death
        • Older pigs: Foul-smelling diarrhea, fever
        • Septicemia
        • Red/purple discoloration of ears and ventral abdomen
        • Chronic enteritis, rectal strictures
    • Dx:
      • Etiologies:
        • C. perfringens: Anaerobic, gram-positive; releases beta toxin that causes villi necrosis in the upper jejunum
        • Enteric colibacillosis: Enterotoxigenic E. coli that produces Shiga toxin
        • Porcine proliferative enteritis: Lawsonia intracellularis, an intracellular, gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium
        • Salmonellosis: Most common is Salmonella Choleraesuis kunzendorf
        • Swine dysentery: Brachyspira (Serpulina) hyodysenteriae, an anaerobic spirochete that elaborates a hemolysin
        • TGE: Coronavirus that affects the jejunum and ileum
      • PCR feces (enteric colibacillosis, TGE, swine dysentery)
      • Culture feces (salmonellosis, enteric colibacillosis)
      • Toxin analysis (ELISA) on feces (C. perfringens, rotavirus)
      • Direct smear of colon scraping (swine dysentery)
      • Latex agglutination for antigen in feces (rotavirus)
      • Necropsy (IFA: porcine proliferative enteritis)
    • Rx:
      • Bacterial: Antibiotics
      • Add electrolytes to water
      • Heat lamp
      • Shavings/straw/bedding in pen to absorb
      • Preventive measures for piglets:
        • Use all-in-all-out
        • Maintain farrowing facility in top shape: Clean, dry, warm, good ventilation, proper density, low stress, sanitize in between
        • Antitoxin: C. perfringens
        • Prophylactic antibiotics
        • Vaccination: Coronavirus, Salmonella
        • Good biosecurity
        • Don't skimp on heat lamps! Cold piglets are a big risk factor!
        • Ensure adequate colostrum in first 12 h
      • Preventive measures for dams: Increase immunity
        • Acclimate new dams for 3-6 wks prior to breeding
        • Vaccination: E. coli, C. perfringens, rotavirus, coronavirus
        • Feed them farrowing house waste (TGE, E. coli)
        • Purchase single-source breeding stock that is disease-free
    • Pearls:
      • Zoonotic!
        • Salmonellosis
        • Clostridiosis
        • E. coli
  • Spotlight on TGE

    Transmission electron micrograph of a coronavirus

    Maternal antibodies can temporarily protect piglets against TGE

    • Classic case:
      • Naïve herds:
        • Vomiting!
        • Profuse, explosive, watery diarrhea
        • Increased drinking
        • Nursing piglets:
          • Diarrhea with undigested milk curds
          • Shivering
          • Almost 100% mortality in piglets less than 1 wk old
        • Sows:
          • Abortion
          • Agalactia
      • Endemic herds: Depends on immunity and exposure
        • Variable vomiting and diarrhea
        • Piglets show signs as maternal antibodies wane
    • Dx:
      • Etiology: Highly contagious enteropathic coronavirus (closely related to porcine respiratory coronavirus) that is shed in high numbers in feces
      • Presumptive based on clinical signs
      • Necropsy:
        • Distended, thin-walled small intestine with villous atrophy
        • Fluorescent antibody or immunohistochemistry on small intestine
      • PCR on feces from live pigs
    • Rx:
      • Supportive care
      • Increase farrowing room temperature
      • Provide electrolyte water
      • +/- Administer swine immunoglobulins
      • Wean older piglets to reduce mortality
      • Prevention: Need IgA in small intestine
        • Vaccinate sows to protect neonates
        • Feed TGE-infected small intestinal tissue to pregnant sows 2-4 wks prior to farrowing
        • Susceptible to iodine-based disinfectants, quaternary ammonia, and peroxygen compounds
        • Maintain closed herd
        • All-in-all-out, strict biosecurity
    • Pearls:
      • Most often occurs in colder months
      • Very short incubation period: 18 h - 3 d
    NEWS FLASH: Important emerging disease!
  • Porcine epidemic diarrhea

    Map of confirmed porcine epidemic diarrhea cases 2014-2015 (click to enlarge)

    • Classic case:
      • Type I:
        • Growing pigs
        • Acute, watery diarrhea (no blood or mucus)
        • Abdominal pain
        • +/-Vomiting
      • Type II:
        • All ages, from suckling piglets to mature sows
        • Watery diarrhea
        • Mortality in neonates is about 50%
    • Dx:
      • Etiology: Coronavirus unrelated to TGE coronavirus, but more similar to the feline infectious peritonitis virus
      • Clinical signs can be difficult to distinguish from TGE
      • Necropsy:
        • *Acute necrosis of back muscle
        • Distended small intestines filled with yellow fluid
        • PCR +/- direct immunofluorescence of small intestine or colon
        • ELISA on feces is useful in older pigs
    • Rx:
      • Supportive care
      • Increase farrowing room temperature
      • Provide electrolyte water
      • Withhold feed from finishing pigs for 1-2 d
      • Prevention:
        • Planned sow herd infection
        • All-in-all-out, strict biosecurity
    • Pearls:
      • Initially seen in the United Kingdom in 1971; first confirmed in U.S. on May 17, 2013 in Iowa swine
      • Causes an estimated annual economic impact of almost $1.8 billion in the U.S.
      • The coronavirus is spread by fecal:oral transmission and by fomites

Images courtesy of Petr Kratochvil (cute piglet at top), Juan Lacruz (normal feces), L. Mahin (yellow diarrhea), Joy Schoenberger (1-3 d piglets), CDC (C. perfringens), Keith Weller/USDA (sow and piglets under TGE), NIH (coronavirus), US Government Accountability Office (porcine epidemic diarrhea map), and woodleywonderworks (bottom suckling piglets).