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Frostbite

Background and history

This is the end result of the destruction of the skin and surface tissues by low temperatures. The ears, tail and feet are particularly vulnerable areas. Frostbite is not uncommon in outdoor pigs.

Clinical signs

  • The skin initially becomes pale then bright red, swollen and painful.
  • If exposure to low temperatures continues, the affected tissues die and a line of demarcation develops between damaged and healthy tissues becoming blue.
  • Secondary skin infections or dermatitis develop.

Diagnosis

This is based upon skin lesions and a history of exposure to low temperatures. It can be confused with acute infection by erysipelas, salmonella or pasteurella bacteria or a toxic condition.

Causes

Exposure to low temperatures.

Treatment

  • Cover affected areas with an antiseptic cream.
  • Topical antibiotic cream may be required to control infections.
  • Move affected animal indoors.