One of the topics that always comes up is ulcers in show pigs. There are some infectious diseases that cause vomiting along with scours and certain mycotoxins that can cause vomiting. With those exceptions, when you see a show pig vomiting they almost certainly have a gastric ulcer.
So what are the causes of gastric ulcers?
1. Anything that causes pigs to go off their feed for a length of time
2. Feed that is too small in particle size (Ground too fine)
3. Vitamin E/ Selenium deficiency
4. Copper toxicity
5. Significant parasite load
Helicobacter pylori is often found in the mucus lining of the pig stomach and is believed to be an infectious component of gastric ulcers in pigs. Of the five common causes we listed, by far the most common one is anything that makes a pig go off feed. In studies that were meant to measure the effect of out-of-feed events in finishing pigs they found that about 80% of otherwise healthy pigs that were out of feed for 24 hours developed ulcers. When they extended the out of feed time to 48 hours 100% of the pigs developed ulcers.
How do I tell if my pig might have an ulcer?
The cardinal clinical sign in a pig with an ulcer is vomiting. But some more subtle signs can be observed by the attentive feeder. The pain associated with an ulcer can and will often cause pigs to roach their back while eating. Those pigs might also eat a little and then go back and forth to drink water or eat a bite or two and stop and lie down. If your pig goes off feed and stops eating, consider an ulcer as a culprit. Visit Double L Feed to learn more about products to help prevent ulcers in your show pigs.
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