Torsion of the stomach and the intestines

Torsion of the stomach or of the small intestine is a common cause of sudden death.


The torsion of the stomach or of the small intestine is a common cause of sudden death in growing pigs, and it often affects the best pigs of the group. It also occurs in sows and occasionally in piglets. It may involve the stomach, spleen, part of the liver or intestine. 




  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Sudden death. Usually between  2 to 3 hours after eating.
  • Anemia.
  • Bluish skin.

Lactating piglets

  • Rare.

Transition and fattening stage

  • Normally none, besides sudden deaths.
  • A much distended abdomen.
  • Animals are very pale.


Causes / Contributing Factors

The causes are not entirely clear, but it is suspected of:

  • Too much consumption of wet feed.
  • Anxiety just before eating.
  • Abnormal carbohydrate fermentation and presence of gases in the small or large intestine.
  • Consumption of large amounts of feed.
  • Overfeeding and abnormal fermentation in the small and large intestine results in excessive gas production, increased pressure and torsion.



A necropsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis. Small and large intestine are very congested and full of blood. The intestinal tract of the pigis suspended from a common point and this makes the tract to have a tendency to rotate and get twisted. 



  • None because the condition is very sporadic and causes are not clear.
  • Change feeding programs as well as ingredients of feed if this situation becomes a problem.