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Overview of Intestinal Diseases in Pigs

By D. L. Hank Harris, DVM, PhD, Professor, Department of Animal Science, Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State University

Pigs of all ages are susceptible to intestinal diseases, and diarrhea is the sign common to nearly all such disorders. Transmission of infectious agents that cause enteropathies is by the fecal-oral route. At least 16 different etiologic agents, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, can cause primary intestinal disease. Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV 2) virus may be isolated from the intestines of pigs with diarrhea. PCV 2 is the cause of several multisystemic diseases in pigs, including postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (see Porcine Circovirus Diseases). Diarrhea in a herd may be due to a single agent, but concurrent infections are common. Because some diseases are age-dependent, differential diagnosis is best considered by age group (see Table: Distribution of Diarrheal Diseases in Pigs by Age Group).

Distribution of Diarrheal Diseases in Pigs by Age Group

Nursing

Weaning

Growing-finishing or Breeding

Bacterial diseases

Clostridium difficile enteritis

+ + +

+

+

C perfringens type A enteritis

+ +

+

C perfringens type C enteritis

+ +

Enteric colibacillosis

+ + +

+ + +

Intestinal spirochetosis

+ +

+ + +

Porcine proliferative enteritis

+ +

+ + +

Salmonella enteritis

+

+ +

+ + +

Swine dysentery

+

++

+ + +

Parasitism

Cryptosporidium sp

+

+

Isospora suis

+ + +

+

Strongyloides ransomi

+

+

+

Trichuris suis

+ +

Viral diseases

Porcine circovirus diarrhea

+

+ +

+

Porcine epidemic diarrhea

+++

+ ++

++

Rotaviral enteritis

+ + +

+ + +

+

Transmissible gastroenteritis

+ + +

+ + +

+ +

- Rare or does not occur; + Uncommon; + + Common; + + + Very common

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