Anthrax

Anthrax in pigs is relatively rare and it may occur as sudden death. It can also take other forms of presentation, depending on the location of the infection: pharynx anthrax, intestinal anthrax or systemic anthrax. It is very critical to carry out a necropsy in the field because the environment can get contaminated with the spores. Anthrax is a zoonotic disease.

Alternative names: Bacillus anthracis

Information

It is a rare disease in most parts of the world; pigs are highly resistant to the infection. Special care must be taken when handling sick animals or carcasses of pigs affected because it is a zoonotic disease. There are effective vaccines in some countries for both pigs and humans. There are three forms of clinical manifestation depending on the area of the infection: pharyngeal anthrax, intestinal anthrax, or systemic anthrax. 

 

Symptoms

Lactation, nursery and fattening

  • Sudden death without symptoms (or with a discolored and swollen neck).
  • Fever.
  • Feces with blood.
  • Nasal hemorrhage.

Sows

  • Acute disease.
  • Fever.
  • Respiratory Anxiety.
  • Sudden death.
  • Sore throat, lymph nodes in the neck and in abdomen increased in size and hemorrhagic.
  • Feces with blood.
  • Nasal hemorrhage.

 

Causes / Contributing Factors

  • The source of infection in sows is usually feed contaminated with spores of Bacillus anthracis.

 

Diagnosis

Anthrax should be suspected if a pig is found dead and at post-mortem examination hemorrhagic tissues are found and lymph nodes in neck and abdomen are red and swollen.

 

Control/Prevention

  • Prevent access to soil or feed contaminated with spores.
  • Penicillin is effective.
  • It is possible to vaccinate although it is rare in pigs because of their natural resistance to the disease.