wikiHow to Care for a Pig With Pneumonia

A pig with swine pneumonia needs good care, quickly. The pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, chemicals (manure gas), extreme temperatures, stress, or parasites and it impacts the lower respiratory tract of the pig. Here is how to care for a pig with swine pneumonia.


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    Check for symptoms of pneumonia. Unfortunately, many symptoms of pneumonia don't show in pigs until the situation is life-threatening.[1] Any sign of going off food during winter should be treated as an early warning to consider with great care. Symptoms of pneumonia in a pig include:[2]
    • Disinterest in food, loss of appetite, picky eater. (Number one worry sign.)
    • Coughing.
    • Lying down (sick pigs will usually lie down while other pigs are up and about).
    • A dull appearance.
    • Thumping (shallow, rapid breathing).
    • Fever and lethargy.[3]
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    Take the pig's temperature. Anything over 101ºF is a fever in a pig, and pneumonia ranges from 102ºF to 104ºF at the start.[4] The temperature is taken through the rectum; for tame, pet pigs this may be an approachable task but for larger pigs that do not have regular human contact, this is an affair that should be approached with caution. Pigs are very strong and can cause severe injuries.
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    See the vet swiftly. Your pig will need a course of antibiotics or "antibacterials" and the sooner the treatment begins, the better the pig's chances of survival. The vet may prescribe these as injections or feed-given.
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    Keep the pig in a warm and dry place for recovery. Keep the pig well fed and ensure that the pig receives the full antibiotics course.
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    Prevent a relapse and protect other pigs from catching pneumonia by taking proper precautions. Things to consider include:[5]
    • Removing any sources of stress from the pigs' environment.
    • Ventilating the pigs' housing adequately, without creating draughts.
    • Preventing overcrowding.
    • Keeping pigs warm during severe cold weather.
    • Keeping pigs wormed and drenched against internal parasites.
    • Speak with your vet about developing a management plan for the herd if your pigs continue to get pneumonia. All pigs and piglets at risk of contracting pneumonia should be vaccinated against the possibility.


  • Catching pneumonia in pigs early is vital for good survival chances.
  • Drastic temperature fluctuations can cause pneumonia in pigs. If you have a pig used to house warmth (for example, a pot-bellied pig), avoid tossing it out into the depths of winter for longer than is needed to use nature's bathroom facilities.[6]
  • For pigs, the bacteria Mycoplasma Hyopneumoniae is often a cause of pneumonia, followed by a more serious infection from the bacteria Pasteurella Multocida.[7]
  • Piglets are often exposed to pneumonia-causing bacteria. If a litter is in contact with even one piglet with pneumonia, it will be usual to treat the whole litter with antibiotic treatment.[8]


  • Recovered pigs and piglets will often have lung tissue damage (permanent tissue loss), which can mean recurrent health problems for their remaining life.[9]

Things You'll Need

  • Warm, dry recovery environment
  • Veterinary assistance
  • Antibiotics
  • Thermometer suitable for pigs

Sources and Citations

  1. Phyllis Battoe, Pig Pals Sanctuary, Cold Weather and Pneumonia,
  2. Trisha Fisk, Practical Smallfarming in New Zealand, p. 175, (2009), ISBN 978-0-14-301089-0
  3. The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health (Home Edition), p. 981, (2007), ISBN 978-0-911910-99-5
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Article Info

Categories: Pigs