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Rabies

Background and history

This is relatively rare in the pig. It occurs when a carnivorous rabid animal such as a dog, wolf, fox, coyote, jackal or skunk with the furious form of rabies gains access to pigs and manages to bite them. In Argentina certain species of cave-dwelling vampire bats transmit rabies to cattle but they are most unlikely to gain access to pigs.

Importance of Rabies

Remember that rabies is a fatal disease communicable to man.

Clinical signs

Piglets

  • Rare.
  • As for sows.

Sows, weaners and growers

Onset is sudden with:

  • Nervous twitching of the face muscles.
  • Fits and convulsions.
  • Rapid chewing.
  • Salivation.
  • The muscles may also go into spasm.
  • Posterior paralysis may occur.
  • Aggression.
  • Death usually takes place within three days.

Diagnosis

Accurate diagnosis is essential and requires a specialised laboratory.

Causes

Rabies virus is spread by contact with infected animals.

Prevention

  • People are highly susceptible to the disease so unless you have been properly vaccinated barricade the affected pig away from the others and keep right away from it yourself.
  • The saliva of the pig is highly infectious and can exist as an aerosol which you might inhale. Call your veterinarian quickly and let him deal with the situation.
  • Beware that other pigs may be incubating the disease. Inspect them all frequently and if any behave suspiciously separate them and keep away from them yourself.
  • In regions where rabies is common farm staff and the farm dogs should be vaccinated.

Treatment

  • There is no treatment or method of control suitable for pigs.