Listeriosis in pigs

This is a relatively rare disease but can be found worldwide. The article is written for information purposes.

Listeriosis is a systemic bacterial disease that can cause septicemia in piglets and reproductive problems in sows.

Causative organism is a bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

The bacterium is commonly found in the intestine of pigs.

Listeria bacteria are commonly found in water, soil, and faeces.
The organism usually contaminates silage.

Stress and heavy exposure to the organism causes infection. The organisms can still be passed out in the faeces of infected animal.

Clinical Signs

In piglets

Sudden death.
Nervous signs such as convulsions.
The head is tilted to one side.
Septicemia( presence of bacteria or their toxins in the blood stream)
Ear infections.

In Sows



Listeria is usually sensitive to penicillin, ampicillin.

Public Health Importance

Listeriosis is of public health importance .

Listeria can be a serious infection in pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system.

Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to be infected with Listeria than the general population. And can result to miscarriage and premature birth.

Listeria can also cause meningitis in man.

Listeriosis is a foodborne disease in man.

Farm Grid

Foot rot in sheep

foot rot is an infectious, contagious disease of sheep that causes severe lameness and economic loss from decreased flock productivity.
It is caused by the bacteria, Dichelobacter nodosus (Bacteriodes nodosus). Before that, other bacteria may have played some role.

The organism can only live in the soil or environment for no more than 10 days.

Foot rot will spread most rapidly when it is warm and moist.

The bacterium is shed from infected sheep to the environment, the ground, manure and bedding. Susceptible sheep get infected from there.
The disease usually occurs following the purchase of an infected animal or using same truck that was used to transport an infected animal.
The infection can also be spread through hoof trimming equipment that are not disinfected after each use.

Prevention and Treatment

All affected tissue should be trimmed away.This is necessary to expose the organism to medication and oxygen.

Apply Zinc sulfate or Copper sulfate (10% solution) as footbath. This can be done twice in a week for several weeks.

Antibiotic injection : procaine penicillin and long acting tetracycline are effective. Penicillin and streptomycin combination is very effective against foot rot.

There are other topical treatments for foot rot if you discuss with your local veterinarian.

Never buy sheep from a flock infected with foot rot, even if the animal appears unaffected.

Avoid buying sheep at livestock markets.

Never transport sheep in a vehicle that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected.

Have a routine hoof trimming for your flock. Always disinfect the equipment after each use.

Note: Antibiotics should never be used on animals that are intended for slaughter before an adequate withdrawal time.

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Turkeys are more susceptible

This is a highly contagious bacterial disease of chickens, turkeys, and water fowl.

Fowl cholera is caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida.
Turkeys are more susceptible than chickens and older chickens are more susceptible than younger chicks.

Mortality from the disease can reach 100% causing septicaemia and possible localised infection.

The organism can be spread through nasal exudate, faeces, contaminated soil, equipment, and people. The route of infection is usually via oral or nasal route.

Reservoirs of infection may be present in other species such as rodents and cats.

The organism may persist in soil for a long time . High stocking density may be a predisposing factor.
Transmission is often from bird to bird.

Clinical Signs

The animal appears depressed with loss of appetite.

Ruffled feathers.

Diarrhoea, Coughing and laboured breathing.
Discharges from nose and eyes.
Swollen face and wattles which may become bluish.

Swollen joints and Lameness.
Animals may die suddenly.


The organism is sensitive to Sulphonamides, tetracyclines, erythromycin, streptomycin, and penicillin.

There maybe a recurrence after treatment.

Recovered birds usually become carriers.

Prevention is through good biosecurity involving an effective rodent control and vaccination. Also read about farm biosecurity

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