Causes of Pig Mortality in Kenya - A Ten Year Retrospective Postmortem Study

  • D N Karanja
  • N Maingi
  • P G Mbuthia


A total of 267 pig carcasses comprising of 59 adults, 121 weaner/grower pigs and 87 piglets were examined at post mortem in the Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Nairobi during a 10 year period (1995-2004). Based on the body system most severely affected, 117 pigs (43.8%) died of alimentary tract conditions, 68 (25.5%) due to respiratory tract conditions, 18 (6.7%) died of musculoskeletal conditions, 7 (2.6%) due to cardio-vascular problems, 6 (2.3%) each due to cutaneous and nervous conditions and 2 cases (0.8%) due to diseases of hematopoeitic system. Another 15 pigs (5.6%) died of septicemic conditions while 28 cases (10.5%) had no specific diagnosis. Of the 117 pig carcasses with alimentary tract conditions, 74 (63.3 %) succumbed to various forms of gastroenteritides, 41 (35%) died of edema disease of swine and 2 (1.7%) died of glossitis and gastric ulceration. Gastroenteritis mostly affected piglets (82.6%) and weaners/growers (12.4%) and few adult animals (5%). Edema disease on the other hand mostly afflicted weaner/grower pigs (80%) to a lesser extent the adults (12%) and least affected the piglets (8%). Although, the etiological agent(s) were not fully characterized, bacteria (B. anthracis, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter spp, Salmonella spp, Mycoplasma spp, Pasteurella spp, Haemophilus spp and Brachyspira spp), viruses (African swine fever virus and transmissible gastroenteritis virus) and nematode parasites (Trichuris spp, Ascarid spp and Strongyloides spp) were either isolated or suspected. These results show that gastrointestinal diseases are still a major constraint to pig production in Kenya.

The Kenya Veterinarian Vol. 29 2005: pp. 67-70

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