What Is Porcine Rotavirus Infection?

Porcine rotavirus infection in pigs is a terrible infection for pigs and humans

Porcine Rotavirus Infection (Zoonotic)

Porcine rotavirus is a terrible infection for pigs and humans. It makes pigs very sick. It causes major viral gastroenteritis, or severe watery diarrhea, in suckling and recently weaned piglets (one to five weeks old). It causes frequent death, high levels of sickness, and is very contagious. This particular disease plays a massive role in financial losses for pig farmers. 

Unfortunately, this virus is resistant to most disinfectants, making removing the virus entirely from the pig sty difficult. Porcine rotavirus is zoonotic and causes severe gastroenteritis in young children especially.

Did you know?: Rotavirus is named after the wheel-like appearance of the virus seen under an electron microscope.

Causes of Porcine Rotavirus Infection

The main cause and spread of Porcine rotavirus is when a large swine herd is infected. The virus continues to multiply and infect the pigs as they move amongst each other. 

Young and growing piglets are therefore exposed to the virus from their mothers or carriers through urine and feces. 

Other causes include unhygienic living areas,  sudden, drastic changes in temperature, and humans wearing contaminated clothing and boots

Symptoms of Porcine Rotavirus Infection

Porcine Rotavirus infections cause the following symptoms in pigs:

  • Watery diarrhea that persists for 3 to 4 days
  • Dehydration
  • The skin around the rectum is wet
  • Sunken eyes
  • Depression 
  • Anorexia
  • White or yellow feces
  • Extreme dehydration can result in death

Treating Porcine Rotavirus Infection

Suppose your piglet contracts the virus. In that case, antibiotic therapy (such as Amoxicillin) is given by injection, orally, or added to their drinking water to help fight off secondary infections.

Ensure that your pig has plenty of water and electrolytes, such as dextrose or glycine, to counteract dehydration. Use the All-in-All-Out management system to break the infection cycle among the piglets. This system keeps the piglets in groups. Once one group moves out, you disinfect the area and rotate the next group in. 

The best way to protect yourself against this virus is to ensure that you and your family have been vaccinated against it. Your pigs can also be vaccinated against Rotavirus.


Idaho State University College of Veterinary Medicine Rotaviral Enteritis

Pork Information Gateway Scheduling All In All Out Swine Production

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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