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Haematopinus suis



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Haematopinus suis
Swine louse

General Description:
The swine louse is easily visible with the naked eye, being 5 to 6 mm long. It has a long narrow head, long mouthparts adapted for sucking blood, and large c1aws on each of the six legs. The wide body is grayish-brown with black edges. This is the only louse found on swine.

Life Cycle:
As described in the overview, the hog louse spends its entire life cycle on swine. Eggs are glued to the hairs c10se to the skin. The life cycle is completed in 3 to 4 weeks. Lice separated from their hosts die quickly because these insects can live only at body temperature.

In heavy infestations, sluggishly moving lice may cover the pig.

Geographical Distribution:
Haematopinus is a common pest of swine in most areas of the world.

Louse infestation is considered to be the second most important disease of swine, surpassed in significance only by hog cholera.

Effect on Host:
Louse infestation causes discomfort and an¬noyance; animals rub and scratch and have poor feed efficiency and slow weight gain. The skin of infested areas often becomes thick and tender and may crack. Blood loss in heavy infestations may be severe enough to cause anemia and debilitation. Haematopinus lice also transmit the virus that causes swine pox.

Diagnostic Information:

Presence of these large insects on swine.

Lice do not leave their hosts, so control consists of treating swine when lice are present. In particular, sows should be treated with avermectin or effective insecticides prior to farrowing to prevent lice from moving onto the young pigs.


Haematopinus: adult male
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Haematopinus: louse
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Haematopinus: nits
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