On August 1stI wrote that we were watching “Chow” the pig because she seemed sick. She’s dead. And so is another pig. Here is their story.
We had been watching Chow because she seemed lack luster and was breathing heavily. We had a dinner party on that Monday night and when I took guests out to see the pigs she REALLY didn’t look good. After the party that night Mark caught her and I gave her a shot of the only antibiotic we had (Pen Pro G – penicillin) and put her in a deep bed of straw in a stall far away from the other pigs. Mark said she was flaming hot! The next morning she was dead.
When we had caught Chow the night before I mentioned to Mark that another one of the pigs was exhibiting the same behavior and we should grab him, too. After seeing Chow dead Mark grabbed the second sick pig and put him into isolation. Every day for about 4 days Mark would catch him and I’d give him a Pen Pro G shot. He was often hot and always breathing heavily, sometimes coughing. We diagnosed some kind of respiratory distress – most likely pneumonia.
We called the breeder we had gotten these hogs from. This was something new for us. Mark had done his online research and diagnosed it as a pneumonia caused by a Salmonella that naturally occurs in pigs. Usually there are no problems, but if the animal is unvaccinated and then goes through stressors like early weaning, food change or a move their immune systems get taxed and they can fall victim to the Salmonella. Our piglets had the perfect storm of ALL the above. When Mark spoke to the breeder he said that one of the litter mates had just died of pneumonia and, no, he had not vaccinated them.
Too late for our second pig. His ears where turning blue and when Mark went to give him a shot the last night he was panting mightily through his mouth. He gave his last big fight and squeal and died in Mark’s arms.
We rounded up the remaining 6 pigs and vaccinated them all. We also got a replacement pig (free of charge) and 2 more. Yes, these 3 new ones all got vaccinated when they hit our property.
We are not big on shots of any kind and have never had to vaccinate a pig in the past. This is a lesson to us on how different conditions in a weaner pig’s original home effect his first few weeks on our farm.
Luckily for us we have our two young sow piglets and will hopefully be able to breed all the pigs we need in the future.