Hog/Swine Diseases, Signs and Symptoms

Fattening pigs are not as susceptible to diseases as the piglets. However, disease outbreak should be prevented and controlled to reduce considerable economic effects.

Diseases that affect the digestive system of finishers are uncommon. It maybe the only sign, but more commonly it is a part of a disease syndrome with other signs.

Respiratory diseases in pigs should be treated as major concern because it has a wide range of causative agents, both viral and bacterial. These disorders usually require diagnosis and treatment by a veterinarian.

Signs and Symptoms

a. Posture. Certain posture assumed by the pig is indicative of certain diseases. The following illustrates some of these diseases.

  • The position wherein the pig lies on its side is referred to as lateral recumbency. This position is avoided by pigs with heart diseases while it is favored by pigs suffering from exhaustion or overeating.
  • Dog sitting position is associated with respiratory diseases, cardiac insufficiency, pleurities or anemia. The pig when lying on its chest with its four legs tucked under its body is called sternal
    recumbency. This indicates coldness and is associated with respiratory problems if accompanied by mouth breathings.
  • When the pig assumes an extended head position, the pig is experiencing a respiratory problem.
  • A circling movements a nervous symptom probably caused by an ear infection, leptospirosis, meningitis, and others.

b. Respiration

  • Rapid breathing is indicative of pneumonia, cardiac insufficiency, anemia, pleuritis and pain. Usually, the pig exhibits open-mouth breathing. However, extremely warm weather is a pre-disposing factor to difficulty of breathing.
  • Abdominal breathing is also called thumping. This is a symptom of pneumonia and pleuritis.

c. Skin color

  • White/Pale – anemia
  • Bluish – circulatory disturbance
  • Yellow – liver dysfunction
  • Red – hyperemia; fever
  • Cayish/Crusted – parasites; nutritional imbalance

Diseases and Treatment

1. Salmonellosis

Various strains of Salmonella bacteria cause diarrhea. Salmonellosis is a type of diarrhea observed in weaned piglets up to six months. Morbidity can be as high as 70 percent and 50 percent mortality.


  • Heavy bacteremia (presence of bacteria in the blood)
  • High fever (41 °C)
  • Cyanosis of the skin (bluish skin) particularly in the belly and eartips
  • Skin hemorrhages
  • Little or no diarrhea before death
  • Watery feces with occasional blood and shreds of grey tissue
  • In chronic cases, a grayish diarrhea is noted coupled with dehydration and roughness of the haircoat, which can cause death.

Mode of Transmission: Oral


  • Isolate the infected pig to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Remove the feed and provide clean drinking water with electrolytes.
  • Give the pig antibiotics (Ampicillin or Chloramphenicol are recommended).


  • Practice the all-in-all-out system in fattening pigs.
  • Always maintain good hygiene.

2. Swine Dysentery

Swine dysentery also known as vibrionic dysentery, bloody scours, bloody diarrhea or black scours, is caused by Sepaliva hyodysenteriae. This disease affects the large intestine. It becomes reddish and swollen. Fluid loss is caused by the malabsorption in the colon where 30-50% of fluids are absorbed. This is not common in sucking piglets.


  • Fever (40 °C)
  • Watery stool with blood/mucus
  • Loss of appetite
  • Back is arched due to the pain in the abdomen, the pig may be seen trying to kick it.
  • In chronic cases there is dehydration, thirst, weakness, incoordination and emaciation (lost of flesh).

Treatment: Treat with antibiotics such as tylosin, lincomycin, and bacitracin.


  • Avoid overcrowding in pig houses.
  • Lessen stress through good housing and management, maintenance of good hygiene and cleanliness.

source: International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ITCPH), Marawoy, Lipa City

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