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03 Clinical Diagnosis

You walk through the West wean-to-finish barn and everything seems to be great.  Pigs are active.  There is no evidence of diarrhea.  You hear no coughing.  No dead pigs.  Whatever is affecting the pigs in the East barn does not seem to be here.

Back to the East barn.  You open the door and hear nothing except the pit-fans whirring under the slatted floors.  The pigs are not up and moving around like they were in the West barn.  They’re not up investigating the new guest in their house.  They’re not fighting over the feeder.  They’re not woofing and barking at each other.  They’re just laying there looking at you.  You see several with wet hind legs and tails flicking back and forth over irritated red anuses.  Many pigs are gaunt and skinny.  Some are stumbling and two are on their sides, paddling, with neurologic signs.  You see small puddles of extremely watery diarrhea in each pen.  You pick up one of the pigs and while you’re holding him, a stream of light-brown, watery diarrhea ejects from the pig.

You walk up to a pile of dead pigs in the alley and count around 20.  All are gaunt and skinny.  All have sunken eyes.  You bring out your knife.  After you’re well into posting your 5th dead pig you notice a common theme.  Lungs look fine, with no obvious bacterial pneumonia.  And the pigs appear to have been eating well, and stomachs have some feed in them.  But… the small intestines are a different story.  The small intestine is completely filled with a watery fluid, and there is generalized edema throughout the mesentery.  You cut into a few thin-walled loops of bowel, and milky fluid pours out.  Good grief, you can see why the pigs looked dehydrated—so much fluid was inside the intestines!

 

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