About 100 hogs were destroyed recently at a Callaway County farm, suspected of contracting a disease known as pseudorabies.
The disease was most likely contracted from feral hogs, according to a statement emailed by Sarah Alsager, public information officer with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. It is a disease of the central nervous system that causes convulsions and intense itching, and is usually fatal.
Alsager stated department officials discovered a positive result for pseudorabies when testing feral hogs in the area in which the farm is located.
"As part of the department's disease surveillance for pseudorabies and brucellosis, feral swine are routinely tested. When MDA is informed of positive results, we conduct an investigation to identify any at-risk swine within a one- to two-mile radius of the captured feral swine," she said in the email. "At-risk swine herds are tested and appropriate actions are taken, which may include re-testing a herd (if there are not any indications of disease) or depopulating a herd (if re-testing is not an option or animals are exhibiting clinical signs of disease)."
She did not state exactly where the farm is located or who owned the pigs.
"The department was notified of a positive result and identified an at-risk swine herd within the area of the feral swine that was captured," she said in the email statement. "A group from the herd was tested and determined to be serologically positive for pseudorabies. Due to the nature and exposure of the operation, a decision was made to respond proactively and depopulate the herd."
She also said a producer receives payment based on the current market price if his herd is depopulated.
Anyone seeing feral hogs on public or private property may report them to the Missouri Department of Conservation by calling 573-522-4115, ext. 3296 or online at http://on.mo.gov/1VUbzY5.
Feral hogs also may be reported to the Missouri Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian's office at 573-751-3377.
Adult feral hogs average about 110 to 130 pounds, but they can weigh up to 400 pounds. They stand about 3 feet tall and can grow up to 5 feet in length. Their color varies from solid black, brown, white or red to spotted or belted blends. Their tracks are similar to deer tracks but with more rounded toes.
Females gestate about 115 days and average two litters per year, six per litter, at any time of the year. Their population can double every four months. they can lived court to five years on average and up to eight years with no natural predators in Missouri.
Females and their young travel in family groups called sounders, while the males, or boars, are generally solitary. Feral hogs are omnivorous, meaning they will eat almost anything from grain to carrion.