What You Need to Know Before Bringing your Pigs Home
Kunekune pigs are an increasingly popular choice for those looking for a unique pet or addition to their farm. These small, friendly pigs are known for their docile nature, distinctive appearance, and easy-going temperament. To make things a bit easier to digest we have made a simple list of the 7 Most Common KuneKune Pig Health Problems. While Kunekunes are generally hardy animals, they can be susceptible to certain diseases. As someone who may not already be a KuneKune owner it’s essential to be aware of these common health issues to ensure you’re providing the best care for your new companion.
Please keep in mind most if not all of these conditions and issues can be prevented and or stopped should you know and understand what you are witnessing with your animals. Please don’t let this scare you, as with proper care and maintenance the conditions below should be extremely rare.
This article is apart of our Housing and Environment series, we encourage you to check out the main article which is an in-depth look into KuneKune pig housing.
However, should you ever have a question we encourage you to email us or send us a message via the contact us page. We hope this post helps you on your educational journey of becoming a new Kune owner!
1. Respiratory Problems
Respiratory infections are among the most common health issues affecting Kunekune pigs. These infections can be caused by various pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Some common signs of respiratory illness in Kunekune include coughing, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pig, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Preventive measures include proper ventilation in pig enclosures, regular cleaning, and minimizing exposure to other animals that may carry respiratory pathogens. Vaccinations may also be recommended by your veterinarian to protect against certain respiratory diseases.
Internal and external parasites can affect kunekune pigs, leading to health issues such as weight loss, anemia, and skin irritation. Common internal parasites include roundworms, whipworms, and coccidia, while external parasites include mites, lice, and ticks.
Regular deworming and parasite control are essential to maintain your Kunekune’s health. Consult your veterinarian for appropriate deworming schedules and products, as well as recommendations for external parasite control. Keeping your pig’s living environment clean and dry will also help minimize the risk of parasite infestations.
3. Swine Erysipelas
Swine erysipelas is a bacterial infection caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, affecting both domestic and wild pigs. It is characterized by sudden onset of fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and red or purple diamond-shaped skin lesions. In severe cases, it can lead to arthritis, heart complications, and even death.
Vaccination is the best preventive measure against swine erysipelas. Generally we give vaccines to our adult sows and boars 2x per year and keep an ongoing health record on each pig we own. It does create extra work for us, however it is important not only for our customers but also it helps us narrow down any potential issues should we ever need to contact a vet. We encourage you to consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your Kunekune pig. Additionally, maintaining a clean and hygienic environment can help reduce the risk of infection.
4. Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)
PRRS is a viral disease affecting pigs of all ages, causing reproductive failure in sows and respiratory issues in young pigs. The virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact, aerosols, and contaminated equipment. Symptoms may include abortion, stillbirths, weak piglets, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
There is currently no cure for PRRS, but vaccination can help reduce the severity and spread of the disease. Strict biosecurity measures, such as controlling visitor access, disinfecting equipment, and isolating new animals, are essential in preventing the introduction and spread of PRRS on your property.
5. Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
FMD is a highly contagious viral disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, including kunekune pigs. Symptoms include fever, blisters in the mouth and on the feet, excessive salivation, and lameness. FMD can spread rapidly and have severe economic consequences due to decreased productivity and trade restrictions.
Preventing FMD in your kunekune pigs involves implementing strict biosecurity measures, such as controlling visitor access, disinfecting vehicles and equipment, and isolating new animals. If an outbreak occurs, notify your local animal health authorities immediately for guidance on containing the disease and preventing further spread.
Fortunately for the United States it has been completely eradicated, this is a complete non-concern for us and our herd. That being said we still monitor for any hoof issues that may arise.
courtesy of Dr. Antonello Di Nardo, Vesicular Disease Reference Laboratory, The Pirbright Institute.
6. Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD)
PCVAD is a group of diseases caused by porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), which can affect pigs of all ages but is most severe in young pigs. Symptoms may include weight loss, difficulty breathing, jaundice, and diarrhea. PCVAD can also lead to increased susceptibility to other infections due to its immunosuppressive effects.
Vaccination is an essential tool in preventing PCVAD in Kunekune pigs. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule and product for your pig. Additionally, maintaining a clean and stress-free environment can help reduce the risk of PCVAD and its complications.
7. Gastrointestinal Issues
Kunekune pigs can experience various gastrointestinal problems, including gastric ulcers, enteritis, and colitis. These issues can result from stress, poor diet, and parasites. Symptoms may include diarrhea, weight loss, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
Ensuring your kunekune pig receives a balanced diet, free of moldy or spoiled feed, is vital for preventing gastrointestinal problems. Regular parasite control and minimizing stress will also help maintain your pig’s digestive health. If you suspect your pig is experiencing gastrointestinal issues, consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
As a potential kunekune pig owner, it’s essential to be aware of the common issues that can affect these charming animals. By understanding the signs, prevention methods, and treatments for these conditions, you can provide the best care for your pig and maintain their overall health.
To further ensure the wellbeing of your kunekune pig, establish a relationship with a veterinarian experienced in pig care. Regular check-ups and vaccinations will help prevent and detect any health issues early, allowing you to enjoy the company of your healthy and happy kunekune pig for many years to come.
KuneKune Pig Health Problems Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I prevent KuneKune pig health problems?
Most KuneKune pig health problems can be prevented or stopped with proper care, good hygiene, maintenance, diet, and fresh water. Understanding of the specific conditions and symptoms are important to help catch issues early.
What do I need to know before bringing KuneKune pigs home regarding their health?
Prior to them getting to your farm it is imperative to do a health check, look for running nose, eyes and any puss or anything out of the ordinary. If any of these are present we suggest taking them to a vet immediately to get checked. Either way we always will quarantine a new KuneKune for at minimum 2 weeks prior to doing introduction on the fence line. With a new space that they aren’t adjusted too expect a heavy parasite load and make sure you have a dewormer available should you need to use it.
References & Citations:
Learn about KuneKune Pig Fencing
Learn More about Foot and Mouth Disease
Learn more about Swine Erysipelas