Worm egg counts for pigs, used as part of a long-term strategy, will help you monitor worm infestations in your pigs.

Pigs

Protect your pigs

Anthelmintic resistance (AR) is less of a problem in pigs than in other species. However, to help make sure this remains the case, it is important to maintain effective worming strategies.

Some worm eggs, such as Ascaris suum, can survive in soil or cracks in the concrete for more than five years. So, a single treatment of an infected animal will not prevent reinfection.

WECs, used as part of a long-term strategy, will help you monitor worm infestations in your pigs.

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Effective worm control

Therefore, WECs should be an essential part of your herd management. They will help you:

  • Only treat your pigs when necessary
  • Use a targeted treatment
  • Predict future heavy worm burdens
  • Monitor the effectiveness of your worm control programme
  • Slow the rate of AR

The aim of effective worm control is to stop worms completing their lifecycle and prevent future contamination.

A WEC tells you about your goat?s parasite burden at a single point in time. However, the lifecycle of a worm includes several larval stages that do not show in WECs. So even if the test results show no evidence of active adult worms, your goat may still carry a worm burden.

Therefore, to build an accurate picture of your animal’s internal health, you should repeat the test regularly.

Worms commonly found in pigs

Ascaris suum

Notes Ascaris suum is a parasitic zoonotic nematode of pigs causing ascariasis. Adult worms live in the pig’s small intestine. They can significantly reduce the growth rate of young pigs and in rare cases may obstruct the intestine.

As they migrate through the pig’s liver, larvae can cause haemorrhage, fibrosis and accumulation of lymphocytes – seen as white spots and known as milk spot liver. If a liver has milk spots it will be condemned at slaughter.

Most commonly affect Young piglets indoors and outside.
Signs and symptoms Weight loss; failure to thrive.
Can lead to Haemorrhage; fibrosis; milk spot liver.
Control A combination of hygiene, anthelmintic use and management.

Trichuris suis

Notes Also known as whipworm. Eggs can be shed by adult worms in very high numbers and are highly resistant to drying and disinfectants. Growing pigs are especially at risk.
Most commonly affect Growing pigs.
Signs and symptoms Diarrhoea; bloody mucoid scour.
Can lead to Weight loss in heavy infections.
Control A combination of anthelmintics and management.

Oesophagostomum dentatum (nodular worm)

Notes Adult nodular worms live in a pig’s large intestine. Adult pigs with a light infection usually show no symptoms.
Most commonly affect Young pigs.
Signs and symptoms Weight loss; eneritis; diarrhoea; bloodstained faeces; drop in milk production.
Can lead to May be fatal.
Control Monitoring, environmental management and anthelmintic.

Hyostrongylus spp.

Notes Adult worms live in the stomach. Adult pigs with a light infection usually show no symptoms.
Most commonly affect All ages of pig.
Signs and symptoms
Can lead to Bleeding and ulceration of the gastric mucosa.
Control Monitoring, anthelmintic and environmental management (typically seen in outdoor pigs).

Metastrongylus apri (Lungworm)

Notes This parasite is especially a risk to outdoor herds, as it uses earthworms as an intermediate host.
Most commonly affect Growing pigs.
Signs and symptoms May cause coughing.
Can lead to
Control Monitoring, anthelmintic and management.

Fasciola hepatica (Liver fluke)

Notes Liver fluke cause considerable economic loss to farmers in the UK and worldwide. They are trematode parasites responsible for the disease fasciolosis. Disease is caused by immature fluke migrating through the liver, by adult worms present in the bile duct, or both.

Liver fluke use snails as an intermediate host, so are usually more prevalent on land that doesn’t drain well and during wet summers. Infective larvae can survive on pasture for several months.

However, prevalence of the disease is increasing, possibly due to changes in climate and farming practises, an increase in animal movement around the UK and the increase of AR in fluke.

Most commonly affect Outdoor pigs on poorly drained pasture.
Signs and symptoms Weight loss; jaundice.
Can lead to May be fatal.
Control Drain pasture.