Enteric Diseases

1. Colibacillosis- is the leading killer of piglets, accounting for 42 percent of all death losses nationwide. It attacks piglets as young as 2 to 3 hours. It is caused by an E. coli bacterium which attacks the lining of the intestine which then produces toxins. Such toxins make fluid and food absorption impossible resulting to fluid loss and dehydration.

2. Ileitis (proliferative enteropathy)- causes inflammation of the ileum and a sudden onset of diarrhea. There are cases when Ileitis causes persistent diarrhea leading to death of grow-finish pigs.

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3. Swine dysentery (bloody scours) – a common diarrheal diseases that affects the large intestine which is caused by Brachyspira (Serpulina) hyodysenteriae. The bacterium causes an inflammation of the beneficial mucosa which leads to a bloody diarrhea.

4. Enterotoxemia – is caused by the rapid multiplication of the bacterium known as Clostridium perfringens Type C in the intestine. The release of toxins by these types of bacteria causes death to its victim. The Type A of this bacterium produces exotoxins which causes yellow-to-white pasty diarrhea that usually attacks during the first weeks of the pig’s life. It naturally resides in the swine’s intestine and said to be the leading cause of diarrhea in neonatal pigs.


1.      Erysipelas – a bacterial infectious disease classified as acute, sub-acute and chronic erysipelas. The most susceptible to this disease are the newborn piglets especially those that are recently weaned. Acute Erysipelas causes red skin lesions that appear within 2 to 3 days of high fever. The skin lesions usually appear to be diamond-shaped from which its common name “diamond skin disease” came from. The said disease also causes depression and lameness of the victim. The sub-acute erysipelas form has the same symptoms but is less severe. Arthritis, lameness and other sub-clinical infections are the symptoms that are exhibited by the chronic form of this disease. If breeding herd is affected, the disease will cause abortion and stillbirth. Affected will then have a poor reproductive performance, producing weak piglets.

2.      Leptospirosis – causes abortion and stillbirths, including the birth of weak piglets. AS with mice and dogs, this contagious disease contaminates the feeds and water through the urine which spreads the disease. It will then be transmitted thru the milk by nursing piglets.

3.      PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) – a viral causing abortion, stillbirths and mummified fetuses. Sows and grower/finisher pigs affected have breathing difficulty. It causes death in pre-weaned and nursery pigs and poor performance in those that were able to survive. PRRS is a recently recognized disease of pigs, the agent of which is the virus identified to be one classified in the order of Nidovirales family of the Arteriviridae. There were already reported cases this disease in the USA, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and the Philippines.

The disease occurs in two phases: first, the reproductive failure and second, the respiratory failure. Reproductive failure affects sows the respiratory disease attacks on herd lasting for about 6 to 12 weeks. Reproductive failure may include signs as fever, anorexia, depression, agalactia and a reduced farrowing rate and conception. About 50% abortion rate has been accounted in sows caused by this disease. Respiratory failure includes signs of sneezing, chemosis, poor performance and few deaths, watery diarrhea and dyspnea.

2.      Porcine parvovirus infection – an infection that especially attacks gilts. It causes early embryonic deaths, re-absorption of fetus, mummified fetuses and stillbirths. Sterility is also a result of the infection.


Mycoplasma Pneumonia (MPS) (enzootic pneumonia) -is caused by a very slow growing bacterium called Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae.  This bacterium causes the microscopic finger-like projections called cilia to clump. When this happens, the cilia, which work as a cleaner of dust, debris and bacteria from the lungs, will be eradicated leading to weakening of the lungs of the infected animal. It is manifested by hacking cough and a thumping respiration of the pigs. Together with secondary infections, this causes high mortality rates on infected pigs. Such infections usually come from carrier pigs. The damages lungs of infected pigs exhibit lesions, usually purple to gray color that are seen in the areas of the cranial and ventral lobes of the lungs.
Pasteurella Pneumonia –caused by a gram-negative bacterium called Pasteurella multocida. It can be isolated from the nasal passage of almost any hog (healthy or sick). Experimental infections are very difficult to establish, as healthy pigs tolerate large doses and can effectively clear it from their lungs (M. Battrell). Even though the bacterium is not a primary agent of swine pneumonia, it is the most common bacterium found in the lungs of slaughter weight swine.
Classical Swine Fever- a contagious infectious disease affecting wild and domestic pigs, common in the countries of Germany, Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines. It is caused by a virus classified as Pestivirus which can be directly transmitted through contact or indirectly transmitted through wind, clothing, swill and pig waste. It can penetrate through oral, nasal, genital and placental means.
This infectious disease appears in diverse forms showing different symptoms in the affected organs. It may appear in peracute form characterized by high fever and causes death even before the signs of hemorrhage appear. If it appears in classical acute form, the fever usually ranges from 40-42°C. Trembling and convulsions, including epileptic-type seizures are symptoms of the infection. It also causes Gastro-enteritis, alternate constipation, coughing, cyanosis and paralysis of the infected animal. Chronic form of this infection show symptoms similar to that of the acute form but may also cause the affected animal to die within the first month until the third month from infection.            If the infection appears in atypical form, the infected animal exhibits symptoms like low appetite, diarrhea and retarded growth. If pregnant sows are infected, it causes splay legs, mummified and deformed fetuses and stillbirths.

4. Swine influenza – is a viral disease that can cause epidemics of acute respiratory disease in pigs. The disease is due to viruses from the type A of the Orthomyxoviridae family. There are two primary subtypes in the United States: the H1N1 type which has been in the USA since 1930’s and the H3N2 type known to exist in North Carolina in 1998. A third type has been recently identified characterized by the combination of the other two types and is known as the H1N2. Swine influenza is transmitted by direct contact between pigs and the virus is easily spread in as fast as 30 days.

The sign of SIV includes harsh, barking cough as it causes damage to the respiratory epithelium lining the airways. Acute outbreaks of SIV are characterized by a sudden onset were 80-90% of the pigs have a barking cough, nasal and ocular discharge, high rectal temperatures (105° or higher), labored breathing, are off-feed, and reluctant to move (Battrell). Grossly lungs are wet, heavy, have plum-colored areas of consolidation, and fail to collapse.


The first signs of SIV include weight loss, fever, anorexia, inactivity, prostration and weakness. As respiratory system is affected, the victim exhibits signs as sneezing, irregular abdominal breathing, ocular and nasal discharges and paroxysmal coughing. Mortality rate on this disease is quite low as it only accounts for a 1% mortality rate as the pigs affected generally can recover in about six days. The sow’s colostrums may serve as protection of the piglets of 8-12 weeks of age from SIV. The disease is common on pigs of 12-24 weeks of age especially those which were not receive vaccine.


5.  Enterovirus Encephalomyelitis (Teschen Disease) – a viral disease caused by a virus called serotype 1 (PEV1) of the Picornaviridae family from the Enterovirus genus. Piglets of up to 3 months old are susceptible to this disease. Symptoms include tremors, stiffness of the limbs, depression, fever, anorexia, incoordination and colonic convulsions. Mortality rate ranges from 70-90% and occurs in 3-4 days.

PEV1 virus can be transmitted by direct and indirect contact, including swill feeding. The virus attacks the gut and is excreted in the feces and through oral secretions.