Mummified piglets are the most common problems in Pig Farming. They cause financial and production losses especially to newbie hog raisers. Moreover, there are a lot of diseases and management factors to consider in order to prevent this problem. In this article we, will discuss the possible causes of this problem and learn ways on how to prevent it.
Welcome to the Thirteenth Episode of the Hog Raising FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) Show, a new show dedicated for hog raisers and would-be hog raisers who want to gain and update knowledge in swine farming and get answers to their questions or problems in their pigs.
In this Episode, our host Dr. Teng David, the Technical Sales Manager of David Swine A.I. Center, will interview Dr. EJ Rubico, the Technical Marketing Manager of Hipra Philippines for Swine, about the most common causes of mummified piglets.
Watch the replay of this week’s episode below.
About our Host and Guest
Dr. Oreste D. David is a Swine Veterinary Practitioner with 20 years experience in hog raising. He’s the founder of Pinoy Hog Raising and Pinoy Pig Academy Facebook Communities and manages David Swine A.I. Center, Inc. and Viddavet Trading.
Dr. EJ Rubico is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from U.P. Los Banos. He is the current Technical and Marketing Manager for Swine of Hipra Philippines and will present to us about Mummified Piglets.
Use the timestamps below to fast-forward to our top questions in the replay above.
- 8:31 What is Parvovirus and its Effect in Pig Reproduction?
- 12:21 What are the Consequences of Parvovirus in Gestation Time?
- 14:30 What is the relation of size of mummified piglet to the Age at Death?
- 17: 28 What are the other causes of Mummified Piglets?
- 21:30 What months is heat stress in pigs most common?
- 23:51 How do we Prevent Mummified Fetus?
- 24:04 Gilt Acclimatization
- 25:05 Vaccination
- 26:24 How to give Parvovirus Vaccination?
- 28:19 Can earthquakes cause mummified fetus in pigs?
What is a Mummified Piglet?
A mummified piglet died inside of the uterus wherein the tissues and fluids are reabsorbed that leaves black, shrunken skeletal remains.
Mummified piglets, also known as “luno” in Filipino, can be in many sizes. But they generally look shriveled, black or brown in color and appear dehydrated.
Normally, it is possible to have a few mummified piglets in a large litter. But if it is more than 3% of the litter born alive, it is possible that an infection is causing the problem.
The most common infection that causes mummified fetus in pigs is Parvovirus infection.
What is Parvovirus Infection?
Parvovirus in the Philippines is widespread and is a common cause of infectious infertility. It is due to a virus that multiplies in the intestine, but clinical signs are reproductive problems.
Unlike other viruses, this virus is sturdy. It can survive outside the host for many months. Also it is resistant to most disinfectants.
Symptoms of Parvovirus Infection
The most obvious symptoms of Parvovirus infection in a pig farm is the presence of mummified and stillborn piglets when sows give birth.
Mummified piglets may vary in sizes from 1 inch to 6 inches, depending on the stage of infection at pregnancy. Stillbirths are common because there is usually a delay in the farrowing process when there are mummified piglets in the litter.
Another major sign of parvovirus infection is the small litter sizes and the notable increase of pseudo pregnancies and repeat breedings.
Effects of Parvovirus on Different Stages of Pregnancy
There are 3 possible effects on pregnancy once parvovirus infection steps in the pig farm.
If the pig embryo is infected at less than 35 days of age, it dies and complete resorption takes place. The sow will eventually return to heat if the whole litter is affected. But if some embryos survives, this will result in small litter size.
If infection will occur from day 35 to day 70 after breeding, the fetuses will also die and become mummified. The fetuses will be in different sizes depending on the age they were infected by the virus.
If the fetal piglet is affected at more than 70 days from breeding, the piglets can get weak and possible stillborn piglets may result. But most piglets at this stage have developed immunity, thus they may not be affected by the infection.
What are Other Possible Causes of Mummified Piglets?
Other than Parvovirus, there are other environmental factors and infections that may cause mummified piglets.
First, a piglet can become mummified in large litter sizes, like in hyperprolific sows because of limited space in the uterus. Another reason is due to heat stress if the temperature reaches more than 32*C with high humidity.
But infections like Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) can also cause mummified piglets. The PRRS virus affects fetuses from day 60 of breeding onwards and produce mummies with the same sizes.
Another is Pseudorabies Virus (PRV) infection. It can cause mummified piglets as well as abortion in sows which is not common in parvovirus infection. Moreover, piglets born will show nervous signs and death within 24 hours.
How to Prevent Mummified Fetus?
A) Gilt Acclimatization
This involves exposure of the newly acquired gilts to old or cull sows so they will develop immunity to common diseases in the farm, including parvovirus. Another way is to feed gilts with fetus or mummified fetus from affected litters, but this will be messy and risky.
That’s why most use vaccination as the practical way of preventing parvovirus infection.
An effective way to prevent the disease is through vaccination. Make sure that gilts and new breeding herd will be vaccinated before breeding.
Gilts can be vaccinated twice before breeding at 8 months old. The first shot can be given around 6 weeks before breeding and the second shot at 3 weeks before breeding.
For sows, they can be vaccinated 2-3 weeks after farrowing and can be repeated every farrowing. Boars can be vaccinated every 6 months.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Mummified Piglets
Question 1. Does earthquake cause mummified piglets?
Answer : Based on our discussion above, earthquake may not directly cause mummified piglets. But for instance that the sow suffered from stress because of falling debris or she fell down and was hurt badly, we may encounter dead fetus.
Question 2. Should I sell my sow who had mummified piglets?
Answer : Do not sell the sow who had a case of litter with parvovirus infection. Better yet, vaccinate the sow with parvovirus vaccine 2 to 3 weeks before breeding to prevent it from happening again.
Question 3. Can we give parvo vaccine to a pregnant sow?
Answer : It is not recommended to vaccinate pregnant sow because the protection or immunity it can give may be too late to protect the fetus.
Remember that as early as 6 days from breeding, parvovirus can infect the pig embryo and the parvovirus vaccine needs 2 to 3 weeks before it can give protection to the embryos.
Question 4. Can Parvovirus vaccine cause allergic reaction in Pigs?
Answer : Yes, most killed vaccine can cause allergic reaction IF it is not properly administered. Like, do not administer if the vaccine is still cold. Also do not vaccinate in the middle of the day or when the temperature is hot.
How about you, do you have questions or experience in preventing mummified piglets in sows? Leave your questions or comments below and we will be glad to answer them.