Atlas of pathology
Differential diagnosis: Other
In cases of deaths of the entire newly-born litter, where affected piglets are a bright cherry-red skin colour, then the condition is the common form of carbon monoxide (CO) gas poisoning. This is a relatively common occurrence on older indoor pig farms in cold weather, where gas heaters are used. The fatal poisoning occurs when poorly adjusted or damaged gas-burning heaters are operated in small spaces, such as poorly-ventilated farrowing houses. When CO gas levels go above 250 ppm in the room atmosphere, then litters of baby piglets may be found dead, or groups of late pregnant sows within the affected building area may give birth to entire litters of dead piglets. An inspection of the room heaters may indicate that some of the old ones are not adjusted properly and producing yellow flames (not the normal blue flame). There is no abnormal odour or taste in the rooms. Other possible poisonings on pig farms include methane gas, hydrogen sulphide gas, pesticides and rodent poisons.