National Animal Disease Information Service –
Greasy Pig Disease is a bacterial infection of the skin of the pig, which is known by a variety of other names – Greasy Skin, Exudative Epidermitis, Marmite Disease. The primary cause of the disease is Staphylococcus hyicus, which is a common bacterium known to colonise the skin of many pigs without causing disease. As a group of diseases, it probably constitutes the most common skin ailment in pigs and is pathologically a dermatitis/epidermitis, the most significant feature of which is that it is non-irritant, making the skin condition easy to differentiate clinically from the other common pig skin disease – Sarcoptic Mange. The causative organism lives on the skin surface of the pig, but will require some form of trigger mechanism to produce disease. Staph hyicus can be found on the skin of most pig populations but there appears to be various strains of the bacteria and it is possible that new variants can be introduced and cause outbreaks of disease.
In the young pig, up to 7 weeks of age, the most common presentation of Greasy Pig Disease is one of a brown to black development of scab appearance, starting usually around the shoulder and neck and spreading to part, or the whole, of the body. The classic form of Greasy Pig Disease in a weaner pig. A further manifestation of greasy pig disease occurs in adults. They may reflect some form of immune incompetence in the individual animal – lesions often remain for life and prove intractable to treatment and litters of affected sows may well show classic greasy pig disease early in life. Chronic recovering Greasy Pig Disease in a finisher likely to lead to skin condemnation and down-grading at slaughter.
For the young piglets, hydration is vital and any suckling pigs should be given supportive electrolytes if Greasy Pig Disease occurs. Any concomitant disease that is acting to trigger Greasy Pig Disease must also be treated.
WEC277/UW322: Wild Hogs in Florida: Ecology and Management
Florida’s wild hogs are often referred to as feral hogs or swine and are of three general types. Florida’s wild hog population is second only to Texas’s; the state is estimated to have more than 500,000 wild hogs in a relatively stable population. Feral hogs resemble domestic hogs, but are usually leaner and have developed different behaviors that promote their survival in the wild. Appearance alone can be deceiving and is not considered a reliable means of determining whether a wild hog is of Eurasian wild boar descent, a feral hog, or a hybrid. Wild hogs use a variety of vocalizations, including an alarm grunt given by the first hog to sense an intruder that causes a flight response by the rest of the herd.
In Florida, wild hogs breed year round with peaks in the breeding cycle during fall and spring. Hunters often pay $100-$2,000 to harvest a trophy wild hog, providing an economic incentive for hog introductions and management. In the past, state and private hog management included removal of hogs from public lands and other areas with sensitive ecological communities, and the introduction of animals to other areas to maintain or establish huntable populations. Because hogs are such prolific breeders, mortality may not be able to balance hog production, and therefore further stocking of hogs in Florida should be avoided. Trapping of wild hogs has been used to reduce populations and associated damage in some areas and supplement hog populations for harvest in others.
Hunting is an important control method for wild hogs because it provides recreational opportunities, is inexpensive, and can be useful at reducing numbers of adult animals. Once hogs begin visiting traps, bait must be replenished daily so that hogs will continue to visit the trap and not move on to areas with more food.
Chinese Farmers Are Using AI to Track and Monitor Pigs
In Brief Chinese farmers recently began testing a new AI system that uses a combination of machine vision, voice recognition, and temperature sensors to keep track of pigs’ location, health, and wellbeing. A new artificial intelligence project from tech conglomerate Alibaba could alleviate some of the myriad problems facing Chinese farmers in the pork industry. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, and keeping track of the nation’s estimated 700 million animals is notoriously difficult for farmers. They need to pay careful attention to ensure that piglets aren’t crushed to death by their mothers, sows aren’t bred past their prime, and sick pigs don’t pass their illnesses on to the rest of the population. Currently, farmers track pigs by clipping wireless radio frequency identification tags to the animals’ ears.
These can be expensive, and farmers don’t always have time to fit each pig with a tag and scan them. This system could change under the new partnership between Alibaba, pig farming corporation Dekon Group, and pig feed manufacturer Tequ Group. Like a high-tech Big Brother, overhead cameras use machine vision technology to track the individual pigs, noting how much each pig moves around the farm and where it goes. The AI system also keeps track of the pigs through voice recognition. It can note the sound of a pig coughing to monitor for disease, and if it detects the sound of a young pig squealing, it alerts the farmer that a piglet could be in danger.
Not only are pigs saved from an early death, farmers save money as each sow produces an additional three piglets per year. Whether ET Brain catches on with other Chinese farmers remains to be seen, but if it does, there’s a good chance it could eventually spread elsewhere.