Swine Diseases

Pigs, like other types of livestock, are susceptible to illness and disease. It’s important for farmers to recognize the symptoms and have the disease treated as early as possible. Doing so will help ensure the health and safety of the animal while producing better products at the consumer level.


Anemia occurs when the pig is suffering from an insufficiency or diseased red blood cells. The disease is more prevalent in piglets because when born, their iron levels are limited. Anemia in sows could cause infertility.

Symptoms of anemia in pigs include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Swelling around head and shoulders
  • Loss of appetits
  • Skin could appear light yellow
  • Sloppy diarrhoea


Arthritis in swine occurs when there’s joint inflammation. Suckling pigs, growing pigs and sows are all vulnerable to arthritis. The inflammation is caused by bacteria that could lead to lesions on the pig’s feet.

Signs that pig may have arthritis are:

  • Lameness
  • Swollen, hardend joints
  • Stunted growth
  • Reluctance to stand
  • Shivering or sudden death in piglets

Keeping hogs away from surfaces that are damp, cold or rough can help prevent arthritis.

Bordetella Rhinitis

Bordetella Rhinitis is caused by atrophic rhinitis, a nasal infection as a result of the Bordetella Bronchiseptica organism, which can get onto open scratches or wounds in the hog’s nose or mouth. Sows and piglets can be vulnerable to the disease and are able to transmit it between each other.

Symptoms of possible Bordetella Rhinitis include:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Rough hair
  • Wrinkled snout


Erysipelas can be found on many swine farms because as many as 50% of pigs carry the bacteria Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae which causes the illness, in their tonsils. It can also be excreted through the pig’s saliva, urine or faeces.

Symptoms a pig may have Erysipelas include:

  • ”Diamonds” on the skin – Start out raised and red on the skin before turning black and eventually healing
  • High temperatures
  • Stillbirths
  • Sperm may be affected in boars
  • Could cause abortion

Swine Influenza

Swine Influenza is similar to the flu that people can suffer from. The disease is able to be passed from pigs to birds and even humans. Swine flu can occur in as little as 48 hours and can hit the pigs dramatically.

Symptoms of swine flu include:

  • Coughing, fever, pneumonia
  • In sows, high temperatures could cause abortions
  • Heavy breathing
  • Delays in returning to heat after weaning

Keeping the hogs away from other infected animals or people, ensuring their stress levels are low and maintaining clean living conditions can help deter the presence of swine influenza.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PEDv) is caused by a virus with the result being the having differing levels of diarrhoea. The virus will transmit to all other pigs regardless of age.

Symptoms that pigs are suffering from PEDv include diarrhoea or different consistencies, dehydration, an increase in mortality and vomiting.

The faster PEDv spreads throughout the sows, they can establish an immunity to the virus.

Porcine Parvovirus

Porcine Parvovirus (PPV) is one of the most common reasons for infertility. The virus lives in the pig’s intestine, making it difficult to detect. The virus can also live in soils and on surfaces, possibly exposing the pig to the virus as they eat and explore.

Symptoms that Porcine Parvovirus may be present include:

  • Mummified pigs and increased number of stillbirths
  • Low birth weights

The virus could also be prevalent in the semen of a boar, but the virus only harms the fetus and not the sow; once a pig has been exposed to the virus, they can become immune to it.