Skin infections of pigs

Pigs can be infected with lice and mange mites. Mange can cause wounds which can become infected and can result in the hide becoming of no use for leather production. Humans can also catch the mange infection.

The pig can also be attacked by ticks.

Pigs can suffer from erysipelas (diamond skin disease) which causes diamond shaped discolouration of the skin.

Mange in pigs

Mange is caused by infection with mites and results in thickening and crusting of the skin. The activity of the mites burrowing into the skin makes the pig scratch and the wounds caused can become infected with germs. Mange occurs around the head, ears, legs and tail but will spread over the body if not treated. Mange is controlled by spraying, dipping or painting the infected areas with a suitable preparation. The pen and shelter should also be thoroughly cleaned out and washed down. Treatment should be repeated after 2 weeks.

Lice and tick infections

Pigs can suffer from infection with dark coloured lice which can be seen on the animal’s body. The lice feed on the skin and irritate the pig which will scratch and can cause wounds which become infected. Treatment involves spraying with coumaphos and cleaning the areas where the animals are kept. Pigs can be attacked by some ticks which take blood. The ticks may carry other infections to the animals. Treatment can be carried out by spraying with a suitable compound or by removing the ticks by hand or by touching them with kerosene or a lighted cigarette. Affected pens should be thoroughly cleaned.

Erysipelas (diamond skin disease)

Erysipelas or diamond skin disease of pigs can kill the animals. This is an infection of the pig’s body which produces recognisable discolouration on the pig’s body. These are reddish diamond-shaped areas on the skin or the animal may have a purplish colour to the head and ears. Pigs with erysipelas have a high temperature and do not feed; they squeal if touched. The animal can die from an acute infection or in chronic cases the animal survives but suffers from swollen joints and lameness.