Dippity Pig Syndrome

by Cathy Zolicani (Cathy Corrigan, DVM) (03/01/15)
Also called Bleeding Back Syndrome and Erythema Multiforme

Dippity Pig Syndrome is an acute, painful skin condition that occurs along the back in healthy young pigs.

 Symptoms:

  • Occurs in young pigs – between 4 months and 4 years
  • Sudden, rapid onset
  • Screaming/squealing in pain
  • Dipping or temporary loss of use of hind legs – it usually does not affect front legs
  • Red, oozing sores on back – there are usually more than one, and they make stripes across the back rather than following the length of the back bone
  • Pigs will try to run or move away from the pain
  • Pigs will usually eat and drink
  • Pigs will usually have normal stool and urine
  • Pigs will usually have a normal body temperature
  • Usually lasts 2-4 days
  • Can reoccur in some pigs
  • Happens most often in small pet pigs, occasionally in show pigs, and has been reported a few times in farm pigs
  • Seems to be associated with a stressful situation

For photo examples of Dippity pig visit our Pinterest board by clicking here.

Cause:

The cause of Dippity Pig Syndrome is not known. There is some evidence, based on biopsy results, that it may involve a herpes virus (like shingles in the human being). There is evidence that it occurs in some family lines.

 

Treatment:

  • This condition will resolve after 2-4 days with no medical intervention
  • Reduce stress in the environment – keep the pig in a quite familiar environment with soft bedding, dim light, soft music and reduced noise.
  • Isolate the pig from people – these pigs are very painful. In some cases, even blowing on their backs will cause a collapse. They need to be left alone to rest.
  • Some veterinarians will use anti-inflammatory steroids to treat Dippity. NSAIDs have also been used. Since there is some evidence that a herpes virus may be involved, this treatment is somewhat controversial.

For pain:

  • Buffered aspirin, 5 mg per pound every 12 hours, with a meal. For no more than 3 days

OR

  • Tylenol, 5 mg per pound every 8 hours. (If you use infant’s Tylenol, 1 cc per 6 pounds). Always with food. For no more than 3 days
  • Tramadol or buprenex can be prescribed by your veterinarian for pain control.

To help the pig rest:

  • Benadryl (aka diphenhydramine) up to 1 mg per pound every 8 hours.

 

REASONS TO HAVE YOUR PIG SEEN BY A VETERINARIAN:

  • If you are worried about him/her
  • If the pig is not responding to treatment
  • If the condition continues for longer than 4 days
  • If both the back AND front legs are involved (probably not Dippity)
  • If your pig will not eat nor drink
  • If your pig continues to be very painful
  • If your pig runs a fever (temperature greater than 103)
  • If your pig seems unresponsive

Video of symptoms:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR2A3F3SdB4