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Diarrhea in lactating piglets: differential diagnostic

Here we present a table of differential diagnosis of the most common diarrheas during lactation.

Etiologic agent or disease Age Clinical Profile Lesion Profile Epidemiology Mortality
Escherichia coli Any age. More frequent from 1 to 4 days old, and at 3 weeks old. Depends on the strain.
Usually pasty or liquid diarrhea with dehydration and a stained perinea. Alkaline pH
Stomach full of curdled milk. Distended and congested small intestine. Liquid content with mucus and gas. Morbidity: very variable according to the strain. From piglets or isolated litters, up to almost 100 %.
More frequent in primiparous litters or litters of sows with hypogalactia or agalactia
Depends on the strain, sometimes very high.
Cl. perfringens Type C
(Newborn Hemorrhagic Enteritis)
12-72 hours. Yellowish, bloody diarrhea, prostration and vomiting. Subacute forms with yellowish feces, with necrotic residues. Bloody ascites: Small intestine: intense hemorrhagic enteritis, above all the jejunum and ileum. Subacute: small intestine with a friable intestinal mucous wall with necrotic membranes. Most associated with dirty farrowing pens or udders, although not always.
Sometimes frequent in new farms or in primiparous litters
Acute: almost 100 % of piglets affected.
Cl. perfringens Type A (Necrotic enteritis) Can appear from 1 to 7 days, or later. Yellowish or greyish pasty diarrhea that stains the perinea. Unsightly, dehydration and stunted growth. Small intestine: pasty content.
Necrotic material adhered to the mucous membrane
Affects some piglets per litter, sometimes the heaviest.
Slow dissemination.
Variable, can be high.
Cl. difficile (Neonatal typhlocolitis) 1-7 days. Yellowish and pasty diarrhea. Dyspnoea and abdominal distention. Ascites and/or abdominal distention. Ascending colon and coecum: visible mesenteric edema. Intestinal wall sometimes with focal necrosis. Appears in the first week of life.
Usually affects a large part of the piglets in some litters.
Over 50 %
Isospora suis
6-14 days (not before 5 days, and more frequent around 7 days) Yellowish, pasty diarrhea, turning liquid later. No response to antibiotics. Very dirty piglets. Bristled hair. Jejunum and ileum mainly. Pasty content and congestive to fibrinonecrotic enteritis. No lesions in the large intestine. Slow dissemination, increasing the morbidity which can reach up to 80% Low:<5 %
Rotavirus 1-5 weeks. Watery or pasty diarrhea, more serious in newborns. Acid pH feces. No response to antibiotics. Milk or curd in the stomach. Small intestine wall thinned. Epizootic form (rare): quick start and rapid dissemination. Epizootic form: affects isolated litters. Variable morbidity, can reach up to 80% Low: 5% to 25 %
Others, rare in lactation:
Salmonelosis Around 3 weeks. Watery or liquid diarrhea. Small and large intestine. Morbidity: up to 50 % Up to 50 %
Swine Disentery More than 2 weeks. Watery diarrhea with blood and mucous. Only large intestine. Very rare, only in some litters or in some piglets. Low:0-5 %

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Article Comments

This area is not intended to be a place to consult authors about their articles, but rather a place for open discussion among pig333.com users.
08-Aug-2011Nikos LinardosNikos LinardosVery good and comprehensive article.
What about nutritional factors causing diarrhoea like mycotoxins or quality of starter feed (f.e. high protein concentration)?
13-Nov-2011francisco chamafrancisco chamaI like to receive more articles the pigs productions.
30-Jun-2013Echema ChukyEchema Chukyit is fine what you do
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