Pig with possible tetanus, symptoms started 10 days ago

Snok

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One of my pigs cannot eat very well and is displaying symptoms of anorexia. She cannot open her jaw well and every time she is prompted to eat she has to give up due to seemingly not being able to breathe. She sometimes starts coughing after attempting also. After feeding her, food tends to dribble out of her nose and mouth. She has a gait to her walk and seems to be struggling. She prefers not to walk and we have been feeding her to plantains, corn, watery feed, eggs and papaya as it is the only food she will eat. But we are still experimenting with what other foods we can give her to expand her diet. She used to eat the same food as the other pigs but recently she refused to.

As an estimate I would say the symptoms started 10 days ago.

There are unfortunately loose rusty nails in the sty, we have continuously removed them but they tend to get buried then un-burried. I thought she might of stepped on one of these and due to the mud in the enclosure the wound would most likely have little air and oxygen.

She is fairly skinny, as seen in images attached. She is from a litter of around 8 but always had stunted growth alongside a couple others. I’d say she is less than half the size of some of the largest members of the litter. No other pigs are sharing symptoms and all are relatively healthy.

All our male pigs are castrated. The pen itself is rocky with dirt, some mud and some watery mudbaths, we have tried to fill up the mud many times but it just keep becoming waterlogged. The pen doesn’t have many plants but was very green at the start and there are plenty of roots keeping the ground together. It is overall very solid but there are some soft patches. She is only sharing the pen with one other pig and there is no fighting between the two at all.

Their house is cleaned daily but there is no bedding as they have never seemed to need it and we do not have much. They are fed two times a day, at 6am and at around 2pm. This consists of leftovers and scraps (nothing known to be harmful to pigs, very strict about this) and also corn and watery feed when needed.

I live in a tropical climate with a range of humidity from 55% to 94%. Temperature ranges from 23-32.7 C. It rains very often and the pigs move inside of their house when it does.

Our animals have had issues of parasites such as botflies, ticks and worms. But I checked her and she did not have any of these issues. She has also been dewormed in the past.

Her faeces are very hard and grey, but they look normal - a bit pellet like if that makes sense. I could not break them with direct spraying of a pressure hose but could with a rock.

I have checked her feet but I cannot see any wounds nor discoloured areas or swelling. But if it was a puncture wound from a nail it could be well hidden.

We have just received shots for tetanus, alongside anti-inflammatories and penicillin. We plan on injecting her today.

Vet is unfortunately not available.

Video of her walking:
 

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Baymule

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I’m sorry that your pig is having these issues. She is a pretty girl. I don’t know much about tetanus, so not much help, but I wanted you to know there are people here that care. You seem to have a food care program, in habitat, feeding and general care.


@farmerjan what do you think?
 

farmerjan

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I have never had tetanus in any pigs in the past. Not saying it isn't that, but I would think she would be dead by now from inability to eat and drink.
One thing about your post that makes me wonder if it is not something else. You said she was a runt/stunted growth from the start. That to me is a reason to suspect something else internally. Plus the fact that her manure is hard... exceedingly hard from your description... That sounds like partly dehydration, and maybe something else wrong in her gut tract.
If I am not mistaken, you cannot reverse tetanus at this late stage... the signs are that it is far advanced.... however, if you want to try then that is your perogative. I think that the only treatments are several penicillin injections to kill the tetanus form of the clostridials....
I do not believe you can or should give tetanus vaccine to an animal already affected by tetanus. It is for the vaccination of healthy animals.

Without a vet to look at her, at this point you need to make a decision to try treating, antibiotics at the maximum rate suggested... or to kill her while the meat has no antibiotic residue and utilize the meat. Clostridials are not passed to humans, and are rendered totally non-infective when in cooked meat.

In the future, if you have a pig that is that much smaller or slow growing, and normal worming does not help, it would be advisable to use it for meat, sooner rather than later.... as you will be putting more into it than will be practical.

You said you are in a tropical area so that worms are a problem, as well as the bot fly and ticks. It could be tick borne disease that she has also. We are now dealing with a tick borne disease in the eastern states... here in Va it is becoming a real problem and is carried and transmitted by the Texas Longhorn Tick.... one of a more often "tropically found" heat loving tick. I am going to another seminar on Monday night to get more updates on it... There is no known prevention or vaccine for it, and the cure has been poor at best in the past.
That can be determined by a blood sample...

I wish I had better advice or suggestions...

By the way, WELCOME to the BYH forum and family... please let us know what you do and what the results are.
Can you go to your name top right of page, down to account details, and put in a general location of where you are??? It will appear on your avatar and then we can try to tailor advice to your area. We have members from Alaska to a few in the European countries. Always fun to hear what other areas are doing and challenges they face.
 

Snok

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At first I thought it was dehydration so I watered her frequently but their pen has an automatic watered that all know how to use. She also never seemed awfully thirsty

I also thought that tetanus would have killed her by now but I’m unsure if the first ‘symptoms’ I saw were actual symptoms or just an odd behaviour for some other reason.

The pigs don’t tend to get ticks due to the fact they dislike muddy areas but it could be a tick-borne disease, we don’t have many here though. Unfortunately blood samples aren’t possible here either due to many lists of reasons.

Something I did forget to mention was that we have a vampire bat problem, while we do not get rabies in this country it has made them lethargic before. Currently working on installing lights to deter them

And yes I always forget to add a location, i’ll do it soon!
 

Ridgetop

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I do not believe you can or should give tetanus vaccine to an animal already affected by tetanus. It is for the vaccination of healthy animals.
Once the disease takes effect the only treatment is Penicillin administered IV. Tranquilizers are also used to prevent stiffening of the muscles. You can try a high dose of Vitamin B. It won't hurt and could help with appetite.

However, from the description of her refusal or inability to eat, chew, or swallow, it seems there is something seriously wrong. You need to call out a vet right away. If there is a possibility of rabies, it could be a danger to the other animals and family. Other diseases culd cause these symptoms and could be communicable to other animals.
At first I thought it was dehydration so I watered her frequently but their pen has an automatic watered that all know how to use.
Some animals do not like using automatic watering devices. The Lixit type water valves don't give enough water to help with dehydration. With dehydration you need to supply fresh water in a larger container to allow the animal to get its muzzle into the water.

Good luck.
 

Snok

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She’s also had a big bucket of water out every day for the past week or so, we’ve also never had any issues with automatic feeders before.

She will eat and drink when shown food she likes and a bucket of water to her face, I have also seen her drinking out of her bucket before on her own though. We are very cut off and the only animals she could possibly interact with are wild birds and rarely bats. She is also still very friendly and overall calm. She tries to chew but it seems like she has to give up, i’m unsure why but it could be due to not being able to breathe as the food comes out of her nose.

We’ve just administered penicillin via injection and will be for the next 5 days or so, we also have anti inflammatories which we well be injecting in the same time frame.

Calling in a vet is practically out of the question, less so because of the cost but due to how cut-off we are it is very difficult.
 

farmerjan

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Just got in from work. It sounds like you are doing everything within reason. The anti-inflammatories should help with her breathing/stiffness if that is affecting her... and the Vit B complex will help with appetite if you can get it.
With pigs I think you know to give it in the neck muscle so that the hams will not have scar tissue for future eating... and the muscle on hogs is better than under the skin due to absorption rates.
I get the impracticality of calling the vet... have friends in British Columbia Canada that are 7 hrs from any vet office.. he does his own C-sections on his cattle if need be !!!

I cannot think of anything that you have not addressed already. Good luck and keep us in the loop please.
 

Snok

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I’ll try to get Vitamin B sometime soon, we have vitamin supplements but only for A, D3 and E. We have been administering all injections in her neck as she seems to notice less that way.

I’ll be going to feed her soon and I’ll check how she is overall. Yesterday she was trying to hide from me as she was scared I was going to give her another injection, poor thing. I’ll take some nutrient rich foods alongside ones with lots of carbs, want to build up some fat on her so she’s less skinny
 
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