If a piglet has blue ears, then this is the first sign of impaired blood circulation in his body and an insufficient supply of oxygen to cells. Ears of growing individuals are pierced with a huge number of blood vessels through which arterial blood flows. That is why in a healthy animal they are red or pink, and the appearance of dull purple spots is the first sign that it should be shown to a veterinarian.
Dangerous blue ear disease
Blue ears in piglets may indicate infection with various infectious diseases, as well as heart failure. It can be caused by improper work of the heart, liver, as well as poisoning by toxins, mold fungi, pesticides and heavy metals.
One of the most dangerous diseases that may affect the livestock of a pig farm is porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). It is often simply called the "blue ear", since the first sign of the disease is the appearance of blue spots on the ears of animals of any age.
Any individual can become ill with PRRS, but the course of the disease is most dangerous in sows. The latter are unable to bear the offspring and often give birth to dead young.
Pigs born in pigs infected with the reproductive-respiratory syndrome often have low weight, certain deformities on the body, convulsions, body tremors and nervousness. They have a poorly developed sucking reflex, which is why babies grow very poorly and often die.
Reduces immunity and increases susceptibility to infections
The causative agent of PRRS is an enterovirus, systematized only in 1991 by American scientists. It is similar in structure to macrophages, allowing the pig's immune system to destroy bacteria that enter the body.
The virus is localized in the lungs, where the body's defense system takes it for its own. In pigs, the level of immunity is reduced by 40-45%, and the piglets themselves become extremely susceptible to other infections, which are very difficult to bear.
Infection of the livestock of a pig farm with the reproductive-respiratory syndrome of pigs occurs through airborne droplets and through the use of feed or water infected with a causative agent. Sexual transmission of infection is possible during the fertilization of females, as well as from sows to their offspring.
Most often, the PRRS pathogen enters the pig farms after the introduction of infected young animals. One piglet infested with RSSC can cause a gradual infection of the entire population. That is why when buying animals should pay special attention to the color of their ears, bluish tint which may indicate a dangerous illness.
Full recovery is impossible
The incubation period of the disease can last from 3 days to just over a month (35 days). In infected animals, appetite worsens, body temperature rises and shortness of breath appears.
In piglets, the color of the ears loses brightness and turns gray, while they themselves look weak and very slowly gain weight. Often recorded paralytic state. Against the background of PRRS, interstitial pneumonia develops, which can lead to the death of a sick animal.
When individuals with bluish ears appear in the pigsty, it is imperative to conduct laboratory tests to which blood samples taken from dead or slaughtered pigs are sent.
Due to the fact that the PRRS pathogen was identified not very long ago, a completely effective serum for its prevention has not yet been developed. For treatment, broad-spectrum antibiotics are used that stop the development of the disease, but antibodies to the virus can persist in the body of the pig for several years.
Vaccination of piglets with the help of medications specially developed by ARRIAH to combat porcine parvovirus reproductive and respiratory syndrome has been developed.
To preserve the health of the herd, it is recommended that dead animals be disposed of by burning, and the meat of slaughtered pigs be treated with steam. You can not acquire for breeding piglets with bluish and gray ears, which can be the source of the spread of various infections.
Similar to human swine flu
Another dangerous infectious disease, during infection with which the piglet’s ears acquire a characteristic bluish-purple color, is swine flu. It is extremely similar to its human counterpart, the causative agent of which is a type A virus.
Signs of swine flu:
- during the first two days after infection, the body temperature of the animal rises by an average of 2 degrees;
- piglets become lethargic and spend most of their time lying;
- they lose interest in food;
- coughing, sneezing and wheezing;
- nasal mucus;
- conjunctivitis occurs in the eyes;
- the animal feels itchy and rubs its head against various objects;
- animal ears turn blue.
If you do not arrange treatment in a timely manner, then complications such as pneumonia, arthritis, and sinusitis meningitis may develop.
Mortality in such cases exceeds 55% of the number of young pigs who become ill with swine flu.
Quarantine compliance required
When identifying the slightest signs of swine flu, diseased animals should be immediately isolated from others and transferred to quarantine. Laboratory confirmation of the presence of the virus of this dangerous disease gives a signal that sick piglets should be rejected and disposed of.
It is recommended to keep animals, in the organism of which the causative agent of swine flu is not identified, to be kept separately from the main livestock, following them closely.
Representatives of the veterinary service prescribe a course of symptomatic treatment to sick pigs, and special anti-flu therapy is not carried out.
In the room where the infected piglets were kept, it is necessary to carry out a thorough cleaning and disinfection. For this purpose, a sodium hydroxide solution is used. The concentration of the solution is 2.5-3%, and the liquid for the treatment of enclosures should be hot.
For more details, see the All About Swine Flu article.
Deadly swine fever
An extremely dangerous infectious disease is swine fever (especially African). All features of the pathology are described in the article "Causes and symptoms of African swine fever."
The causative agent of this disease is the togavirus, which is a fragment of ribonucleic acid. It moves through the bloodstream and lymphatic system, producing toxic substances that thin the walls of blood vessels. Most often accumulates in the liver and bone marrow.
Under the influence of the plague pathogen, the walls of the blood vessels burst, causing hemorrhages. In place of the spot, reddened by the rupture of a blood vessel, bluish edema appears in which inflammatory processes develop.
The tissue gradually infected with the virus dies, causing ulcers and foci of rotting.
In an average piglet, the body temperature rises by 2 degrees, cyanosis appears on the ears, abdomen and thighs. Almost 100% mortality occurs within 2-3 days after infection.
Methods of drug treatment do not give results, so the carriers of the Togavirus are destroyed and their bodies are burned.
In order to prevent the spread of infection, the whole livestock of the pig farm, in which the pathogen of swine fever is found, is subjected to the same procedure.
The room is subject to obligatory sanitary-hygienic processing with the help of medical preparations prescribed by the veterinary service. For 40 days, the quarantine regime is observed, only after which it is possible to continue breeding young stock in the pig farm.
Aujeszky's disease or pseudo-madness
Blue ears often have piglets infected with Aujeszky's disease or pseudo-madness. Infection occurs through the contact of a diseased individual with a healthy one, as well as with the help of small rodents with access to feeders and drinkers.
Aujeszky's disease spreads very quickly, causing mortality of up to 30% of infected individuals. The treatment for this virus is very expensive and uneconomical, which is why veterinarians are recommended to slaughter the entire population of pigs kept on the farm. Meat of uninfected animals can be used as food only after thorough heat treatment.
The main signs of infection with pseudo-surgeries, in addition to the appearance of cyanosis of the ears, are a decrease in appetite and constant vomiting, an increase in body temperature, systematic convulsions and an agitated state. The animal drinks a lot and constantly worries.
A diseased pig should be isolated from healthy individuals and invite a veterinarian to examine it, who will take a blood test for laboratory testing and determine the feasibility of treatment.
Learn more in the article "Aujeszky's disease in the pig."
Infectious bacterial chlamydia
When piglets infect with chlamydia, their ears also acquire a bluish tint, and the causative agent of chlamydia affects the respiratory tract, nervous system and intestines. The infection is transmitted by airborne droplets and upon contact of a sick animal with a healthy one.
Sows and lactic pigs are most susceptible to infection, and chlamydias are transmitted with their mother's milk to the mother. The main causes of infection is the lack of cleanliness and non-compliance in the pigsty sanitary and hygienic standards.
When chlamydia is infected by a fetus that is in a sow, in most cases it is born stillborn.
In piglets infected with this dangerous bacterium, each ear and body have a bluish tint, the temperature rises to 40.5 degrees Celsius, fever and a convulsive state appear. Diarrhea is possible.
Approximately 70% of infected animals die before the age of 3 days. The rest are retarded in development, have a weak appetite. They differ bluish color of the ears and body. In most cases, their further feeding is impractical, and piglets are rejected.
If the tips of the ears or tail turn blue in the pig, this may indicate an infection with salmonellosis. The diseased animal begins to fever, diarrhea appears, and blood clots are clearly visible in gray fecal masses. Conjunctivitis appears and appetite is almost completely lost.
If you identify such signs, you should immediately contact the veterinarian, who will tell you what to do to protect the main livestock from infection and take tests for laboratory testing.
It should be borne in mind that the infection enters the body of a pig with food and feed contaminated with the causative agent of salmonellosis. Small rodents, insects, and also wild pigeons that have settled under the roof of a pig farm can carry it.
Salmonellosis is a dangerous disease that is very difficult to treat. Even with the use of modern medications, mortality among piglets reaches 70%, and the rest are lagging behind in development.
In most cases, diseased individuals are isolated and disposed of, after which they are required to disinfect the premises in which they are kept.
In the article “Causes and Treatment of Pig Salmonellosis” you will find all additional information.
The best protection is hygiene.
Blue ears in piglets is the first sign that they are infected with a dangerous viral or bacterial disease. It can spread throughout the farm over several days, causing infection and death of animals.
It is required to conduct a regular visual inspection of animals, identifying piglets with a sluggish appearance. When pigs change their color from rosy to gray or bluish-purple, they must be immediately isolated by transferring to another room.
Treatment can only be initiated after examination by a veterinarian and laboratory tests of blood, stool or sputum taken for analysis. The room in which the infected pig was kept should be subject to mandatory disinfection. And for the pigs that have come in contact with the sick piglet, it is necessary to establish constant monitoring, immediately isolating them from others when identifying the smallest signs of the disease.
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