Arthritis, joint infections

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints and is common in all sucking, growing pigs and sows. The causes are mainly bacteria. The bacteria include Actinobacillus suis, Haemophilus parasuis, E. coli, staphylococci and streptococci and Mycoplasma hyosynoviae. The commonest in sucking pigs is Streptococcus suis type 1 which causes chronic lesions sporadically in individual pigs but Streptococcus suis type 14, which is less common, also causes severe sudden outbreaks of very painful arthritis. Mycoplasma arthritis is rare in piglets. Erysipelas is uncommon due to the presence of maternal antibody but as this disappears from between 6 – 10 weeks of age disease may develop.



  • Lameness.
  • Stiffness.


  • Sudden death.
  • Shivering.
  • Lameness.
  • Pigs show pain / discomfort.
  • Reluctance to rise.
  • Hairy appearance.
  • Swollen hock and elbow joints.
  • Stiffness or lameness

Weaners & Growers

  • Lameness, swollen joints.
  • Reluctance to stand.
  • May be signs of specific disease.
  • Diamond lesions on skin – raised skin patches.

Causes / Contributing factors

  • Trauma.
  • Knee necrosis *.
  • Faulty iron injections.
  • Poor floor surfaces.
  • Faulty teeth clipping, tail docking, worn equipment *.
  • Navel infection *.
  • Poor sow immunity.
  • Brucellosis (in countries where this exists).
  • Gl?ssers disease (Haemophilus parasuis). *
  • Erysipelas.*
  • Mycoplasma arthritis (Mycoplasma hyosynoviae infection). *
  • Leg weakness, Osteochondrosis (OCD) .*
  • Streptococcal infection .*
  • Trauma. *

(* common)


In many cases the only clinical sign is lameness. If a problem exists it is necessary to identify the organisms or diseases responsible, by post-mortem or bacteriological examinations.


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