Porcine Polysierositis: an important disease affecting pigs

Porcine Polysierositis: an important disease affecting pigs - Farm4Trade Blog||Porcine Polysierositis: an important disease affecting pigs - Farm4Trade Blog
Porcine polyserositis is a widespread disease affecting young pigs, generally between the ages of 4 to 8 weeks. The condition can cause important economic losses to your pig farm, mainly through increased mortality and culling.

It is characterized by fibrinous polyserositis, arthritis, and meningitis and has a sudden onset, short course, and high morbidity and mortality.

What causes porcine polysierositis?

Several bacteria can cause porcine polyserositis, however the one most widely associated with the disease is Glaesserella parasuis, the agent causing Glasser’s disease. Other bacteria known to cause polyserositis in pigs include type 2 Streptococcus suis and Mycoplasma hyorhinis.

How to know if I have a problem with porcine polyserositis on my farm

  • Symptoms
    Symptoms typically have a sudden onset. They include high fevers, coughing, abdominal breathing, failure to thrive and can end in the death of the pig.
  • Farm necropsy results
    Necropsies should be carried out by your veterinarian as part of the farm visit. Typical results will show copious quantities of fibrinous exudate on multiple serosa.
  • Laboratory testing
    Samples should be collected by your farm veterinarian for laboratory analysis. PCR tests can be carried out to confirm or rule out the involvement of one or more bacteria as the cause of the disease.

What can be done to manage polyserositis on your pig farm?

  • Isolation of affected pigs
    Runts and piglets failing to thrive should be isolated from other pigs in an infirmary unit. This helps to limit the spread of the disease between pen-mates. Any animals showing symptoms should be promptly moved to this unit.
  • Antimicrobial use
    Aantibiotics are widely used to treat polyserositis. Consult with your farm veterinarian to choose the most appropriate drug for the case.
  • Vaccination
    Several vaccines can be used to prevent polyserositis. Some of such vaccines can be administered directly to the piglets, while others are given to the pregnant sow to confer passive immunity to the piglets.


Porcine polyserositis is an important disease negatively affecting the health and welfare of young pigs and causing economic losses to farmers. A correct management, preventive measures and treatment plan are necessary to minimize the impact of the disease on your farm.


Aragon, Segalés, and Tucker (2019) Glässer’s Disease. In Zimmerman JJ, Karriker LA Ramirez A, Schwartz KJ, Stevenson GW, Zhang J. (Eds). Diseases of Swine, 11th Edition Ames, Blackwell Publishing. pp 234 – 263

Abigail Rose

PhD in Veterinary Medicine