Swine Roundworm Infection: Can I Get Ascariasis From My Pigs?

Roundworm Infection (Ascariasis – Ascaris Suum) Zoonotic

Ascariasis (Roundworm infection) is a parasitic disease that occurs when a pig is infected with roundworm (Ascaris suum). This can cause hepatitis and pneumonia. A mature roundworm (ascarid) with a round body is about 0.78 inches long and can lay up to 2 million eggs daily.

An adult roundworm can survive in a pig’s body for almost six months, and some survive longer than a year. A single pig can have an infestation of hundreds of roundworms in their intestines. It can become so serious that your pig falls severely ill.

Roundworm parasites can spread to humans by accidentally ingesting soil or sand contaminated by infected animal feces (not washing hands and touching your mouth). Regular deworming of your pigs is advised so that people aren’t infected..

Causes of Ascariasis

Roundworm infection in pigs is caused by ingesting Ascarid eggs. Infected pigs, dust, pig manure, and insects transport the eggs. The most common infestation cause is contaminated feces in the pigs living area. 

Eggs hatch in the pig’s intestine once ingested. The larvae pass through the bloodstream to the liver and other sites. Once the larva arrives in the lungs (approximately 10 days later), they are coughed up and re-swallowed. 

The worms then lay further eggs in the intestine, and the cycle continues, and eventually, the pig has a roundworm infestation. The spread to other pigs occurs when farmers unknowingly place the herd in an infected area on the farm. 

Symptoms of Ascariasis

Ascariasis infestations cause the following symptoms in pigs:

  • The pig’s hair is rough
  • Battles to put on weight
  • Coughing
  • Lack of energy
  • The abdomen seems to be hanging
  • Appears hungry
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe infestations can result in death
  • Difficulty breathing

Treating Ascariasis

Medications such as Ivermectin (Ivomec) and Benzimidazoles can be administered to pigs through an injection to the neck. This medication paralyzes and kills the parasites. Add Hygromycin to the pigs’ feed.

Regularly deworming your herd is vital to prevent infestation and the spread of the parasites. Unfortunately, the eggs are resistant to disinfectants, and the most successful way to destroy them is by steam cleaning or prolonged exposure to full sunlight.


Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Roundworm Infection (Ascariasis)

Talitha van Niekerk

Hi, I’m Talitha van Niekerk, and I made the leap to farm animal ownership when I decided to fulfil my lifelong passion to own horses. Now, over a decade later, I run a public stable facility on 180 acres of land, caring for over 75 horses of all breeds and sizes. I love to write about my experiences, sharing the knowledge I have gained and helping others achieve their life’s passion to live on the land. See my about page here.

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