Worm Infestation in Pigs
Ascaris suum is the most common worm causing milk spot liver. As clinical signs are subtle, pigs may not show any signs of disease, the growth rates may be reduced, and may be more susceptible to other (respiratory) infections.
- Excretion of eggs with faeces are very resistant
- In the faeces, embroyonated eggs pass from non-infective, non-embroyated to infective, embroyonated
- Swallowing eggs
- Larvae from eggs travel through the digestive mucosa and move to the liver via the circulation of veins causing white spot lesions
- Larvae migrate up through the lungs and are swallowed
- Larvae become adult worms in the gut and start producing eggs
Importance of parasite cycle
Eggs are resistant to desiccation, heat, and cold, and can remain viable in the soil for up to 10 years under favourable conditions.
The total interval between the intake of embryonated eggs from the environment and the re-excretion of new eggs (prepatent period) is six weeks. This interval form the basis for an adequate deworming programme.
Liver milk spot lesions are a red flag. Larvae of embryonated eggs migrate through the liver and lungs before growing into adult worms in the gut. This migration causes damage in the liver (milk spots) and in the lungs (coughing, secondary bacterial infections e.g. Mycoplasma and A. pleuropneumoniae)
Why invest in a good deworming
- Worm infestations have a negative impact on an average daily profit and feed conversion.
- Not only does this lead to increased feed costs but also pig carcasses will have lower lean meat, resulting in lower value.
- Less will also be paid due to milk spotted livers, or even nothing in severe cases.
- Finally, worm infections can pave the way for respiratory infections leading to mortality and/or additional treatment cost.