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Bloody Back, Cracked Back, Dippity Pig

Whatever name you've heard used this syndrome is a common problem in show pigs and something we get asked about almost daily.  What is it: Pigs that develop painful bloody sores on the back, hind end weakness, and fever.  It tends to be sudden onset so your pig may be fine at evening chores and have a bloody painful back by the next morning.  The “dipping” that people observe is a reaction the pig has to pain in its back. That reaction is responsible for the “dippity pig” name. On a personal note, I can’t tell you how much that silly name grates my nerves so you’ll only hear us calling it bloody or cracked back.    The following picture is a pig that is affected just before he was treated. His temp was 103.5 and he ate about 1/3 of his feed.  What Causes it:  The first thing I want to say is no one knows for certain the cause. But here are some of the theories.  Some folks want to look at existing swine diseases and apply it to this syndrome.  A couple of the common things that fol
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Feeding Tools

These files are free for you to download print and use while feeding your livestock.    Show Pig Care 2021 Numbered Calendar Show Pig Feed Chart Show Lamb Feed Chart  Show Goat Feed Chart Show Cattle Feed Chart 

Getting ready to Farrow

 This time of year the question "What do we need to have and know to farrow our first gilt?" shows up in our inbox and on social media a bunch.   We aren't going to go into facilities except to say you need somewhere that you can keep 70 degrees or so draft free and provide supplemental heat for the pigs.   The first list of things are what you might need if you have to assist her.  As a rule we try to avoid assisting if we can but show pig producing gilts are decidedly not maternal and sometimes we have to help.  We like to tell folks to get two rubbermaid like totes.  One for the farowing gear and a second in case you want to split suckle. (More on that latter.) Inside the first tote you want to have  at a minimum OB Sleeves , lubricant , pig puller,   chlorhexidine disinfectan t, a small bucket, paper towels, a bottle of calcium gluconate , syringes and needles, and a spray bottle of iodine.   In addition to what is in the container you also want to have a drying agent

Ulcers in Show Pigs

 One of the topics that always come up are ulcers in show pigs.  There are some infectious diseases that cause vomiting along with scours and certain mycotoxins 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 makes pigs go off feed.         2. Feed that is too small 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 th

The Three P's of Show Pig Success

 You are probably wondering what on earth are the three P's.  It is our shorthand way of summarizing what you need to be successful in the show ring.  We put the three P's this way:     1. Pig      2. Preparation     3. Presentation When thinking about the pig itself it's all the thing that go into selecting the right pig.   Preparation is the environment, nutrition, and health of your show pig. Presentation includes skin and hair, training and showmanship. We did a series of videos on the topic you can view here.  Pig   Preparation Preparation

What You Need in Your Show Pig Medicine Cabinet

One of the frequent things I get asked is what medications show pig families should have on hand. Administering medications to food animals is serious business and proper care should be taken to use the right product at the right time the right way. Make sure that people that are doing so are properly trained and keep appropriate records. The goal here is not to replace the advice you get from your veterinarian. Some of the drugs that we will discuss are prescription and some you will use extra label so your relationship with your local veterinarian is critical.This is meant to provide some baseline information on a few common medications and how they are used.  Before we get to the medications let’s talk equipment. Having the right gear is mission critical and will save you time, money, and frustration.   Syringes: I really like the Ardes syringes for giving individual animal treatments. The fit in your hand and are lots easier than trying to use a disposable and

Dosage Math

  Medication Labels are confusing. Sometimes after reading one, I stand there and scratch my head wondering what in the world were these people trying to communicate?  It should not be a surprise they are not clear. After all, they were written by research scientists and then edited by lawyers and FDA bureaucrats.  Maybe the miracle is that we can make sense out of them at all. Add to that the language of mg/lb, mg/ml, cc, % and it is easy to get confused. I hope that this will help you decipher the gibberish and give the pigs the right dose. The good news is that new products like Draxxin have dosage charts right on the label which makes it pretty straightforward to figure out how much to give. The bad news is that for most older products it is just too expensive to update the labels. As silly as it seems if Pfizer said they wanted to make the LA 200 label as clear as the Draxxin label FDA would make them go through almost as much hassle a