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Diseases of Pigs

Scott P. Terrell, DVM, Diplomate ACVP

Veterinary Pathologist, Disneys Animal Programs Instructor in Wildlife Pathology, UF CVM

North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE)

360 multiple choice questions

6 blocks of 60 questions

Approx. 60 images (xrays, diagrams, photos, microscope images, etc)


Total 7.5 hours 55-65% to pass (90% pass)

North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) Blueprint by species

Small animal
Canine Feline Pet bird Other (fish, lab, exotics) 26% 22% 3% 3% 15% 7% 2%
16% 6%

Food animal
Bovine Pigs Sheep / goat


Horses Public health, poultry

Gram positive or gram negative?

SS BECLR DAMN (a ship)

S - Staphylococcus sp. S - Streptoccoccus sp. B - Bacillus sp. E - Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae C - Clostridium sp. L - Listeria monocytogenes R - Rhodococcus equi D - Dermatophilus congolensis A - Actinomyces (Arcanobacterium) pyogenes M - Mycobacterium sp. (acid fast) N - Nocardiasp.


On to the pigs....

Ages of pigs are important


0-3 weeks 3-10 weeks 10-26 weeks >6-8 months

<4 kg 4-25 kg 25-120 kg >120 kg




Pig management
Backyard herds All in / all out SPF Segregrated early weaning Depop / repop

Pig medicine
Blood collection

Jugular vein / anterior vena cava Auricular vein Rubberband

IV injection

Orderly thinking...
Multisystemic Diseases Respiratory Diseases Gastrointestinal Diseases Neurologic Diseases Musculoskeletal Diseases Reproductive Diseases Dermatology Miscellaneous

Multisystemic diseases
Erysipelas (Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae) Glasser s disease (Haemophilus parasuis) Salmonella PRRS (arterivirus) PWMWS (circovirus) Pseudorabies virus (herpes virus) Vitamin E / selenium deficiency

Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae

Gram positive rod most herds have carriers diamond skin, arthritis, endocarditis, necrosis

Environmental contaminant


Diamond skin disease

Valvular endocarditis

Erysipelas cont...

Penicillin Tetracyclins Sanitation Vaccinate at weaning and then q6 months

Prevention and control


Glassers disease (polyserositis)

Haemophilus parasuis

Gram negative coccobacillus

Endemic, initiated by stress Polyserositis, septicemia (fibrinous)


Pleuritis Pericarditis Peritonitis Meningitis!!!

Glassers disease

Glassers cont...

Culture is difficult (but try it) Go with suspicion from gross lesions Penicillins Tetracyclins Reduce stress Vaccine at weaning then again 3-4 weeks later


Prevention and control


Salmonella sp.
Salmonella cholerasuis Salmonella typhimurium


Low-level endemnicity, carriers Septicemia


pyrexia, anorexia purple discoloration of the ears (infarction) Small or large intestinal diarrhea (button ulcers) Pneumonia Rectal strictures


Salmonella cont...

Aerobic culture Neomycin in the feed/water for whole group Naxcel (ceftiofur) for individual Sanitation All in - all out operation Various vaccines (live avirulent)


Prevention and control


Porcine reproduction and respiratory syndrome Arterivirus Clinical signs - neonates

anorexia, lethargy, fever cyanosis of the ears, respiratory distress secondary bacterial pneumonia delayed or abnormal estrus cycle with increased numbers of stillborns/mummies

PRRS cont...

serology, virus isolation IFA, IHC most common test used in the USA Supportive care, treat secondary bacteria closed herds change feed if contaminated by mycotoxins (*) RespPRRS vaccine



Post weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PWMWS)

Porcine circovirus -2 Relatively new disease Responsible for many of the clinical signs associated with atypical PRRS virus .

Clinical signs

Wasting in weanling pigs Enlarged peripheral lymph nodes Evidence of pneumonia NecropsyGranulomatous lymphadenitis and pneumonia Intracytoplasmic inclusions


Serology, IFA


None Supportive care Euthanasia of affected animals Difficult at this time Carrier animals are important


Aujesky s disease Herpes virus Dogs, cats, domestic ruminants Not humans!

Pseudorabies cont...
Baby piglets

up to 100% mortality neurologic dz, vomiting, diarrhea Ulcers on oral cavity and esophagus up to 60% mortality in weanlings, 0-15% in finishers pneumonia impt, neurologic dz, vomiting, extreme pyrexia can cause stillbirth/abortion


Adults - often inapparent

Pseudorabies cont...
Reportable disease! Diagnosis

Necropsy histologic lesions in brain, ulcers in gi tract


Serum neutralization is standard test ELISA can be used as a screening test

Treatment - none Prevention


closed herd! quarantine! restrict wildlife vaccination



use of vaccine regulated by states federal regulations for monitoring


all animals over 6mo old must be tested 25% of herd tested q3months or... 10% of herd tested q1month

White muscle disease / Mulberry heart disease

Nursery or grower pigs Vitamin E / Selenium deficiency


Propionic acid destroys Vit E / Sel Rancid fat can destroy Midwest U.S. is selenium deficient acute death (mulberry heart disease) muscle weakness (white muscle disease)

Clinical signs

Vit E / Selenium cont...



Necropsy - hydropericardium, fibrinous epicarditis, myocardial hemorrhage Diffise hepatic necrosis - hepatosis dietetica Liver selenium < 0.5 ug/g

Mulberry heart disease

Cardiovascular disease
Encephalomyocarditis virus Hog cholera African swine fever Erysipelas Vitamin E / selenium deficiency

EMC virus
Cardiovirus Clinical signs
neonates - sudden death older pigs - subclinical chronic myocarditis

Epicardial hemorrhage often only lesion May see white streaks or spots in myocardium Heart may be enlarged, soft and pale Hydropericardium, hydrothorax, pulmonary edema, etc. Non-suppurative myocarditis, meningitis, encephalitis

Pig EMC virus myocarditis

Other cardiovascular conditions

Hog cholera - FAD African swine fever - FAD Erysipelas - valvular endocarditis Vitamin E / selenium deficiency

Mulberry heart disease Necrosis / degeneration of myocardium

Respiratory diseases
Atrophic rhinitis Swine influenza Mycoplasma pneumoniae Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae Pasteurella Verminous pneumonia

Atrophic rhinitis
Bordatella bronchiseptica Pasteurella multocida High ammonia Clinical signs

sneezing, sniffling twisted snouts excessive lacrimation epistaxis

Atrophic rhinitis cont...


Necropsy - cut snout at 2nd premolar Nasal culture for either organism tetracyclines in the feed LA200 to neonates all in all out, reduce stress, clean air vaccinate sows


Control and prevention


Atrophic rhinitis

Swine influenza
Influenza virus Zoonotic Outbreaks associated with movement or extreme weather changes

up to 100% morbidity low mortality unless secondary bacterial infection complicates things

Swine influenza cont...


Necropsy - cranioventral pneumonia Fluorescent antibody test

Treatment - supportive Prevention


closed herd control secondary infections keep away from humans (no shows!)

Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae
Enzootic pneumonia Most common cause of chronic pneumonia Chronic, non-productive cough Low mortality Secondary bacterial complication

Mycoplasma cont...


Necropsy - plum colored or pale cranio-ventral pneumonia Culture to rule out secondary bacteria Fluorescent antibody test on lung

Mycoplasma cont...

Treatment - Lincomycin in feed Prevention - improve management

Actinobacillus pleuropneumonia

Intensive swine operations Inapparent carriers Peracute, acute, and chronic forms Clinical signs

severe respiratory distress death

Actinobacillus cont...

necropsy - fibrinous pleuropneumonia often diaphragmatic lobes most severe culture is difficult complement fixation serology ceftiofur (Naxcel) and procaine penicillin vaccination of young pigs



Contagious pleuropneumonia

Pasteurella multocida
Most common bacterial isolate from pig lungs opportunistic pathogen

mycoplasma, influenza, actinobacillus, stress moist productive cough dyspnea some die

clinical signs

Pasteurella cont...


necropsy - suppurative cranio-ventral bronchopneumonia may be pleuritis similar to actinobacillus culture

Treatment - penicillin, tetracyclines Control


look for underlying disease medicate feed and water (tetracyclines)

Pasteurella pneumonia

Verminous pneumonia
Ascaris suum - direct life cycle Metastrongylus elongatus Problem with pasture pigs Clinical signs

earthworm intermediate

poor doer respiratory distress

Secondary bacterial infection Milk spots liver, worms in the GI Levamisole, ivermectin

Gastrointestinal diseases

Ulcers E. coli (piglets) TGE (piglets) Clostridium (piglets) Coccidiosis (>7 days) Rota virus (post weaning) Salmonella (any)

Small intestine

Gastrointestinal disease cont... Large intestine


Swine dysentery (grower/finishers) Proliferative enteropathy (grower/finishers)

Hemorrhagic bowel syndrome Proliferative illeitis


Whipworms (growers) Salmonella (any)

Gastric ulcer disease

Almost always the pars esophagea Non-specific lesions Can lead to bleed-out Predisposing factors...

Finely ground feed Stress Vit E/Selenium def

Melena, ulceration of squamous portion of stomach, anorexia

Bleed out

E. coli Most impt cause of diarrhea in piglets <5 days old!!! Clinical signs

clear watery to pasty brown feces dehydration and depression death losses higher in younger pigs

Colibacillosis cont...

ph of feces (>8) culture of organism (large number) necropsy - dilated gas filled small intestine Ampicillin, tetracyclin, gentamicin, fluids sanitation, vaccination of sow





transmissable gastroenteritis

Coronavirus (similar to FIP) Epidemic form (all ages) Endemic form (1-8 weeks old) WINTER disease Clinical signs

Neonates - diarrhea with undigested milk Growers, finishers - diarrhea recovers <7days

Morbidity and mortality high in pigs <2weeks old

TGE cont...

ELISA, immunoflourescence of gut contents Necropsy

undigested milk in small intestine thin walled, transparent small intestine

Treatment - supportive Control


isolate new additions for 2 weeks, keep dogs and bird away (carriers) Immunization of sows or piglets Grind up piglet guts and feed to pregnant sows


Clostridial enteritis
Clostridium perfringens type C sudden death in 1-2 day old piglets Clinical signs

BLOODY DIARRHEA Necropsy - blood in jejunum with flecks of mucosa, necrosis of small intestine Clinical signs Histopathology - large gram positive rods



Clostridial enteritis

Clostridial enteritis cont....


usually die too quickly type C antitoxin Sanitation Type C antitoxin within minutes of birth Vaccination of sow Prophylactic bacitracin or penicillin to piglets


Isospora suis piglets 5 days old to weaning Clinical signs

diarrhea (7-10 days of age) no blood acidic feces (in contrast to E. coli) Dehydration

Coccidiosis cont...

Diarrheas in pigs <7days old are not Isospora! Necropsy - fibrinonecrotic enteritis Histopathology - oocysts, merozoites Fecal flotation can be falsely negative Adding coccidiostats to feed is ILLEGAL amprolium to piglets


Control - disinfection of farrowing area


Rota virus
Reovirus Almost all pigs are infected Diarrhea in post-weaned pigs Diagnosis - difficult

Necropsy-thin walled small intestine Histopathology Flourescent antibody test Electron microscopy

Rota virus cont...


Glucose and fluids Antimicrobials for concurrent infections

E. coli Isospora


Wean pigs on good nutritional diet MLV vaccine at 7 and 21 days (in water)

Dont forget Salmonella

Salmonella typhimurium Salmonella cholerasuis Fibrinonecrotic enteritis or colitis at necropsy Rectal strictures Culture of organism

Swine dysentery
Serpulina hyodysenteriae Grower / finishers Mortality can be up to 30% Clinical signs

diarrhea sometimes with blood eventually watery, bloody, mucoid most recover in 2 weeks but 30% may die

Swine dysentery cont...


Necropsy - mucohemorrhagic colitis histopathology Spiral shaped organism on dark field microscopy Culture is definitive Lincomycin in water medicated water, depopulation, close herd vaccine only reduces clinical signs



Swine dysentery

Swine dysentery

Proliferative enteropathy
Lawsonia intracellulare

proliferative illeitis, hemorrhagic bowel syndrome

Large intestine Weanlings and older Clinical signs


intermittant diarrhea can be hemorrhagic diarrhea anemia (think gastric ulcer first)

Proliferative enteropathy cont...


Necropsy - garden hose ilium and colon

can be hemorrhagic or fibrinonecrotic


Histopathology - intracellular, silver positive DNA probes No specific treatment Reduce stress Medicate feed - tetracyclines, carbadox

Treatment and control


Proliferative illeitis

Trichuris suis 2-6 months of age Large intestine Clinical signs

diarrhea with mucus and blood anemia (2 DDX?)

Diagnosis - fecal float, fibrinnecrotic colitis Control - dichlorvos and fenbendazole


Dont forget Salmonella!

Salmonella typhimurium Salmonella cholersuis

associated with rectal strictures?

Can be large intestine Fibrinonecrotic colitis Rectal strictures Culture

Parasites of pigs
Trichuris suis - colon Ascaris suum - small intestine, milk spots Stephanurus edentatus - kidney Macrocanthorynchus hirudinaceous -small intestine

Neurological diseases
Hypoglycemia Streptococcus suis Salt poisoning Edema disease

Newborn piglets Blood glucose <50 may develop signs Clinical signs

convulsions shivering hypothermia gait abnormalities

Hypoglycemia cont...

Blood glucose Empty stomach 20ml/kg 5% glucosa, warm em up make sure the milk is flowing



Streptococcus suis
Streptococcal meningitis 3-12 weeks of age Clinical signs

fever, anorexia, depression tremors, blindness, ataxia, convulsions Necropsy - suppurative meningitis Culture of CSF or meningeal swab


Strep suis cont...


penicillin, tetracyclines must be quick! minimize stress prophylactic antibiotics


Can be zoonotic - meningitis, headaches

Streptococcal meningitis

Salt poisoning
Usually due to water deprivation rather than too much Na Causes hyperosmalarity of CNS resulting in swelling and edema Clinical signs

thirst, constipation depression, blindness, convulsions

Salt poisoning cont...


History Clinical pathology-eosinopenia, hypernatremia Histopathology - eosinophilic meningitis None provide free access to water reduce salt in diet



Edema disease
E. coli - toxin differs from GI form

Shiga like toxin - vascular injury - edema

1-3 weeks post weaning Clinical signs


sudden death ataxia, convulsions, palpebral edema


palpebral edema, widespread edema in multiple sites Culture - pure culture from SI or colon Detection of toxin

Edema disease

Edema disease cont...


ineffectual if clinical signs have developed Antibiotics in feed/water High fiber diets?


Musculoskeletal diseases

S. suis, Erysipelothrix, A. pyogenes Mycoplasma hyosynoviae Malignant hyperthermia (PSE) White muscle disease

Myodegenerative disease

Rickets Fibrocartilagenous infarcts Osteochondrosis

Suppurative arthritis
Streptococcus suis Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae Actinomyces pyogenes May see loss of cartilage Due to fighting, surgical contamination Distended joints, abscesses Penicillin - treatment often no good

Suppurative arthritis

Mycoplasmal arthritis
Mycoplasma hyosynoviae 4-12 weeks of age acute or chronic lameness non-suppurative arthritis/synovitis edema of synovial tissue Lincomysin to treat

Mycoplasmal arthritis

Malignant hyperthermia
Porcine stress syndrome, Pale soft edudative pork Autosomal recessive gene Stress predisposes

Fighting, movement, handling Halothane anesthesia muscle tremors, dyspnea, red areas of skin, increased body temperature, muscle rigidity

Clinical signs

Malignant hyperthermia

Remove stress Cool Dantrolene genetic selection - DNA probe avoid stress


Malignant hyperthermia

White muscle disease / Mulberry heart disease

Nursery or grower pigs Vitamin E / Selenium deficiency


Propionic acid destroys Vit E / Sel Rancid fat can destroy Midwest U.S. is selenium deficient acute death (mulberry heart disease) muscle weakness (white muscle disease)

Clinical signs

Vit E / Selenium cont...



Necropsy - hydropericardium, fibrinous epicarditis, myocardial hemorrhage hepatic necrosis - hepatosis dietetica Liver selenium < 0.5 ug/g Vit E or selenium injection feed supplements

Treatment and control


Mulberry heart disease

Ca/P imbalance or Vit D deficiency Decreased mineralization of bone 3-5 months of age Pathologic fractures Distorted bones Adjust diet

Grower pigs Rapid growth Usually involves humero-radial joint

Stifle less common

Fibrocartilagenous infarcts
Heavily muscled lean pigs Usually present down in hindlimbs Evidence of discospondylitis Rupture of nucleus pulposus Embolism of nucleus pulposus with subsequent infarction of spinal cord

Reproductive disease
Parvovirus Leptospirosis PRRS Cystitis / pyelonephritis Brucellosis

Porcine parvovirus
100% prevalence Signs depend on time of infection

<30days - embryo resorbed 30-70days - mummy >70days - dead or weak, survive normally no other signs of illness

SMEDI - stillbirth, mummy, embryonic death, infertility Diagnosis - detection of virus in mummy by
immunofluorescence or by rising titer

Parvo - SMEDI

Porcine parvovirus cont...


Natural infection of gilts before breeding Commingle gilts with sows Grind up mummies and feed to gilts Vaccination!
may still get some losses

Leptospira interrogans

serovar pomona - most common serovar bratislava Pyrexia, last trimester abortion, stillbirths Culture difficult Dark field microscopy of fetal fluids, urine Serology (<1:800)

Clinical signs


Leptospirosis cont...

Chlortetracycline in feed Vaccination Gilts twice before first breeding Sows before every breeding


Porcine reproductive/respiratory syndrome Premature farrowing Small weak piglets or stillborns increased numbers of mummies Delayed or abnormal estrus Serology to diagnose Vaccination for prevention

Cystitis / Pyelonephritis
Eubacterium suis Clinical signs

pyrexia, blood or pus in urine high urine pH necropsy - hemorrhagic cystitis Culture difficult - anaerobic


Treatment - penicillin

Brucella suis Clinical signs

abortion at any time in gestation infertility - many sows coming back into heat infected sows recover and deliver normally mild endometritis arthritis orchitis



Brucellosis cont...

Serology - card test Culture

Treatment and control


Test and slaughter Zoonotic

Parvo virus PRRS Pseudorabies Lepto

Dermatologic diseases
Mange Greasy pig disease Swine pox Erysipelas Pityriasis rosea (JPPD) PRRS associated vasculitis/glomerulonephritis

Sarcoptes scabei var suis Young nursery or grower pigs Clinical signs

intense pruritis, thickened skin poor production susceptible to other diseases

Diagnosis - clinical signs, skin scrape Treatment and control

acaricide (amitraz) topically, ivermectin injection

Mangy piglet

Mangy piglet

Sarcoptes scabei


Greasy pig disease

Exudative dermatitis Staphylococcus hyicus Affects late preweaning pigs Clinical signs

exfoliation of skin, excess sebaceous secretion pruritis not a feature unless complicated my mange

Diagnosis - clinical signs and culture

Greasy pigs

Greasy pig disease cont...


Injectible penicllin, oxytetracyline Tetracyclines in feed Sanitation Control external parasites Good nutrition


Swine pox
Swine pox virus Only pigs less than 4months old Clinical signs

papules 1-6 mm in diameter pustules, crusts clear spontaenously intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies

Diagnosis - clinical signs, biopsy

Treatment - not necessary

Swine pox

Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae Diamond skin disease pigs 3months - 3years old Clinical signs

widespread ecchymotic hemorrhages due to microthrombi arthritis, endocarditis Diamond skin lesions pathognomonic Culture of blood, joints, lung, liver


Diamond skin disease

Erysipelas cont...

Penicillin is the drug of choice General sanitation Bacterins or attenuated live vaccines


Pityriasis rosea
Juvenille pustular psoriaform dermatitis Pseudo-ringworm Spontaneous regression

PRRS associated Vasculitis/glomerulonephritis Newly described condition associated with PRRS virus infection Type III hypersensitivity reaction

Causing vasculitis Dermal and cutaneous infarction Large red sloughing skin lesions usually over rear and legs

Commonly associated renal disease

PRRS vasculitis/glomerulonephritis

Miscellaneous diseases
Swine lice Baby piglet anemia Eperythrozoonosis

Swine lice
Haematopinus suis Indicator of poor management Clinical signs

pruritis (mild), anemia, poor growing visible to naked eye


Treatment - same as for mange

Baby pig anemia

Iron deficiency Piglets iron demand is greater than the sows milk Clinical signs

anemia within 2-3 days of birth dyspnea, edema, pale skin, lethargy

Diagnosis - clinical signs, CBC Treatment - 200mg iron dextran at 1-3 days of age

Eperythrozoan suis Obligate intracellular parasite of RBC s Clinical signs

pyrexia, icterus, anemia intravascular hemolysis necropsy - large spleen Giemsa stained blood smear Serology - 1:80 considered positive


Eperythrozoonosis cont...

Oxytetracycline injected or in feed Control lice and fomite transmission Surgical instruments, needles, etc...


Amaranthus retroflexus Common in southeast Severe perirenal edema

Fusarium moniliforme

Hypertension Arteriolar medial proliferation Hemorrhagic pleural and pulmonary edema*

Foreign diseases
Hog cholera

pestivirus - splenic infarction is pathognomonic iridovirus - hemorrhage in multiple areas

African swine fever

Vesicular diseases of swine


Foot and mouth disease - apthavirus* Swine vesicular disease - enterovirus Vesicular exanthema - calicivirus Vesicular stomatitis - rhabdovirus

Case #1
Signalment: 10 weanling pigs History: dead and dying Necropsy findings:

yellow fibrin covering lungs yellow fibrin covering abdominal organs meninges are reddened


Case #2
Signalment: several growers History: poor doers, chronic cough Clinical signs:

non-productive cough harsh lung sounds cranioventral pneumonia, plum-red color

Euthanize and necropsy:


Case #3
Signalment: 2 grower pig females History: diarrhea, weak Clinical signs:

pale mucous membranes perineum stained with feces Large intestine markedly thickened and contains small amount of blood

One dies - necropsy findings:


Case #4
Signalment: 1 piglet just weaned History: sudden death Clinical signs: dead! Necropsy findings:

subQ expanded by fluid, eyelids swollen mesentery and omentum expanded by fluid

Diagnosis? How do you confirm?

Case #5
Signalment: breeding sows History:

decreased fertility litters have contained dried up small fetuses none in the sows

Clinical signs:

DDX? How do you confirm your top differential?

Case #6
Signalment: many weanlings History: lameness Clinical signs

swollen painful hocks fever, one has pulmonary edema on xrays

Aspiration of joint reveals pus DDX?

Case #7
Signalment: young nursery pigs History: very itchy, bad skin Clinical signs:

dermatitis, pustules intense pruritis, self trauma

DDX? Diagnostic tests?