Coughing, Wheezing, Pneumonia in Kunekune pigs

It can be a scary feeling when you walk outside to feed your sweet little kune kune, and out of the blue you notice that your piglet has developed a cough.  “Should you let it run its course?  Is it serious?  Should you call a vet?”  These are probably some of the first few questions that immediately run through your mind.


Well the good news is that it’s nothing to be frightened about.  When you notice that you have a kunekune with a cough, it is a sign of pneumonia.  Which sounds frightening, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.  Especially if it’s diagnosed in the early stages.  You do want to get it treated as soon as possible, so that it doesn’t become anything serious.  As long as you do this, you don’t need to worry about it being fatal or causing any sort of irreparable damage.


Pneumonia in kunekunes mostly occurs in the winter month of their first year of life, and the bulk majority of those cases are within the first 6 months of life.  So typically, if it’s going to happen, it will be during the first winter season that a kunekune piglet goes through.  You don’t really have to worry about it with your older kunes.


Pneumonia is contagious among kune kunes, so if you notice a piglet in the litter that has a cough, it is a good idea to go ahead and treat the whole litter, just to be safe.  And treatment is simple.  You’ll just need to get an appropriate antibiotic from your veterinarian, as well as some needles and syringes from your local co-op or Tractor Supply.  Now, let me mention that I’ve been told you can get effective antibiotics from Tractor Supply to treat pneumonia in piglets, and it doesn’t surprise me if that’s the case.  I’ve just personally always kept a bottle on hand that came from our local vet.  The medication I’ve used thus far is called Excenel.


If you do use Excenel, you’ll simply give 1mL of medication per 22lbs of body weight to each piglet, one time a day for 3 consecutive days.  You’ll give the injection in the meaty part, directly behind one of their ears.  I’ve posted a short video to show exactly what I mean.


I also want to mention that if you are hesitant to give much medication to your kunes, I’ve also seen it be effective when piglets are given a single injection, then a day skipped, with a second and final injection given on the 3rd day.  It would likely depend on the severity of the sickness.  If you’ve caught it very early, they’ll likely not need to be treated for 3 consecutive days.  But if it’s in the later stages and more severe, or an older kunekune, I could see how they may need all three doses.  If you do have questions about what your piglet needs, definitely consult your veterinarian to be safe.



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