What is Porcine Stress Syndrome in Pigs and How to Treat It

In my experience, pigs are some of the easiest farm animals you can raise. This is a sentiment I have also heard by many other farmers, with pig rearers, both novice and advanced, stating that the boar does not require much fuss or extra maintenance.

After a few years of raising pigs, chickens and sheep, I agree with this even more. Chickens require a lot of daily work (collecting eggs, cleaning nest boxes, etc.) while sheep require regular maintenance which can be costly and such as shearing.

When it comes to raising pigs, however, all you really have to do is provide them with a clean barn, food and water.

However, there are some health problems ranging from greasy pig to mycoplasmal pneumonia that can wreak havoc with the herd of pigs. A common issue that can often arise in pigs Porcine stress syndrome.

Porcine stress syndrome, sometimes referred to as PSS or malignant hyperthermia, is sometimes confused with shipping fever but slightly different. Shipping bacteria causes fever, or Pascharella, While porcine stress syndrome is an inherited disorder.

Here’s what you need to know about this disease – and how to prevent and treat it when it affects your pigs.

What is porcine stress syndrome

Porcine stress syndrome is a condition in pigs that causes hyperthermia. A genetic disease, it is caused by an intolerance to stress because there is a defective rhinodine receptor. This causes a pig’s cells to pass through the roof for an increase in calcium and their metabolism.

There are three primary “manifestations” that may be indicative of porcine stress syndrome. The first and most devastating, is sudden death. Typically, this occurs during transport or other stressful times in the pig’s life.

Another way you can notice this disease is only after killing an animal. This can cause mild, soft meat that is of poor quality and is usually rejected by butchers. This is when the pH of the muscle drops after ruining the protein structure in the meat.

The last way porcine stress syndrome rips its ugly head is when pigs are exposed to anesthesia, usually anesthetic halothane. Symptoms are accompanied by extreme hyperactive reactions:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Shuddering
  • Hardness or hardness
  • Heart beat stop
  • Lameness
  • Panting or Rapid Respiration
  • excessive sweating
  • Speckled or reddish skin
  • Muscular atrophy
  • Back muscle necrosis
  • Slow growth rate
  • Facial twitch
  • Elevated temperature (above 106 ° F)

Often, the first sign of the disease is a shaking tail or muscle contraction. PSS causes a rapid increase in metabolism and causes a pig to release too much heat and carbon dioxide.

Sadly, in some pigs (especially sowers, growers, and weeds), the disease can cause death within 15–20 minutes. Therefore, preventing PSS is almost always more effective than learning about treatment methods.

What are the causes of porcine stress syndrome

As the name itself suggests, stress is the most common cause of porcine stress syndrome. However, it can also be caused by exposure to various anesthetics, such as halthane.

It does not spread from pig to pig, which is the exact opposite of shipping fever, a bacterial disease. Because both can appear during or after shipping and transportation, however, it is difficult to tell the two apart. Shipping fever usually presents additional respiratory symptoms in addition to some of those listed above.

Fortunately, the PSS is rare in the US and even rarer in backyard herds of pigs. This is most common on commercial farms where stressful situations are not addressed before transportation.

Because it is a genetic disease, it is also common in some breeds such as Poland, China, Landrace and Petrain. In recent years, it has become less common in general, as the practice of breeding large pigs with the well-developed musculature of these breeds drifted away in favor of rearing other commercial breeds (such as Yorkshire).

It is rarely seen in piglets, but is most common in sows, growers and woolen.

Preventing Porcine Stress Syndrome

Preventing PSS is easier to treat than it is because sudden death is one of the most common symptoms of the disease. Here are some tips on how you can do this.

1. Reduce stress in slaughter and transportation

It is necessary to reduce stress when handling pigs. Avoid using feed additives, which may affect the ability of the pig to handle stress. Make sure that water and fodder are also given free of cost to your pigs.

A clean environment is also necessary to maintain a stress-free herd.

However, it is also important that you consider the condition of the pig at the time of shipment and slaughter. Loading and transport for a pig can be extremely stressful. Transfer pigs during the best time of the day, provide them with water, and consider giving them wet shavings when they are warm.

Keep the trailer on so that there is always good airflow and do not overload the trailer with pigs. Move in small groups of 3-5 whenever you can.

When working with pigs, you should remain calm. Disappointment by handlers can often cause a pig to become stressed, as can misuse of handling equipment such as products (which should not be used).

2. Select the test and breeding stock

If you are not sure if it is the PSS that is causing problems in your swarm of pigs, you may need to consider doing a genetic test. There are companies that will do this for you for a fee. It is not necessarily cheap, but if you are in the business of raising pigs, it is not bad to consider testing.

This test can identify which pig genes are carriers. If you have any pigs that carry the genes, select breeding stocks by pulling them that do not carry the PSS gene instead.

3. Consider AI Breeding

The PSS traditionally passes around from the carrier stock to the herd. Maintaining the PSS gene-free herd is necessary to prevent this problem in the future. Fortunately, PSS is uncommon in most herds, but if it is not so then you may need to start new genetics.

Consider AI breeding using PSS-free genes on healthy women. You can always introduce a boar into the herd to do so, but AI breeding can allow you to quickly eliminate PSS-related problems.

Treatment of porcine stress syndrome

Fortunately, PSS is not very common in backyard herds of pigs – but it still does. If your pigs are affected, here’s what you need to do.

1. Relieve Stress

Again, eliminating stress is important in the treatment and prevention of porcine stress syndrome. If you have any pigs that are affected and afflicted, remove any stressed, environmental or otherwise, as soon as possible and to the best of your ability.

2. Do not move

If you have a down pig that is displaying any of the symptoms listed above, do not move it. Call the vet immediately. Moving a pig and exhaling itself can result in worsening symptoms or death.

However, you can spray it with cold water, which should help reduce its temperature.

3. Sedate and Medicate

Do not try these treatments without consulting a vet first. As I mentioned earlier, PSS often has symptoms that mimic other diseases. This will not do you and especially your pigs well to treat the wrong disease. Take the opinion of the vet.

Other diseases and conditions that are similar to those of PSS include hypocalcemia (seen in the lactating stage), internal bleeding, twisted bowel, pyelonephritis, and more.

Your vet may recommend sedating animals with a fast-acting agent and then use hydrocortisone and bicarbonate to relieve lactic acidosis in the muscles. If it was in contact with an anesthetic like halthen, which was the cause of the problem, your doctor may use a drug such as dentroline sodium to reverse the symptoms.

Other drugs may be used, such as glucocorticoids as well. Some vets also use injections of calcium gluconate to help manage the fever-like symptoms of the disease.

Addressing porcine stress syndrome

Of course, the best thing you can do to prevent and treat the symptoms of stress in pigs is to make sure that stress is kept to a minimum. This should be done at all times, but especially before and during the transport of any type and slaughter.

PSS is often compared to traumatic stress disorder in humans. While this disease is not common in pigs, it can cause long-term effects that reduce the quality of life for your pig, but also destroys the value of its carcass when it is slaughter time.

Therefore, reducing stress in your herd is mandatory. Not only can a stress-relieving swarm help reduce the likelihood of PSS, but it can also reduce the likelihood that other diseases, such as shipping fever and mycoplasma arthritis, also affect them.

Don’t worry – to keep your herd stress free, you should not offer to start a meditation routine or offer them tea! You just need to make sure that they are handled carefully and provide thoughtful nutrition and clean housing. It is as easy as that.

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