Coccidiosis in the pig is caused by a parasite called Isospora suis. There are a range of other coccidia (e.g. Eimeria sp), often found in the pig, but these are generally thought to be harmless although in rare cases can cause disease in young adults. The parasite has a direct lifecycle between pigs (i.e. there is no intermediate host) with Oocysts shed from an infected individual into the environment, in which they undergo a temperature dependant sporulation process, before infecting other animals orally.
The organism then colonises the small intestine, developing through a number of stages and causing gut damage leading to scour. This process takes several days and, as such, Coccidiosis does not occur below 5 days of age, and most typically is not seen until 10 days old.
• Sows: None, sows are carriers
• Piglets: Diarrhoea is the main clinical sign in early stages. In later stages the faeces vary in consistency and colour from yellow to grey green, or bloody according to the severity of the condition. Dehydration is common.
• Weaners & Growers: Poor growth, sloppy diarrhoea may be seen, faeces / diarrhoea may occasionally be tinged with blood.
• Poor daily weight gain
• Increased feed cost
• Treatment costs