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Glasser's Disease in Pigs

Belinda Edmonstone, District Veterinarian, Lachlan LHPA, Forbes

Posted Flock & Herd August 2010


A producer in the Lachlan LHPA purchased 26 weaner pigs from the Forbes sale one week previously. Since then he had lost 9 and had one sick. Before death their ears go purple, they have increased respiration rate and froth at the mouth.

A property visit and examination of the sick pig was undertaken. This animal was depressed, cyanotic and lame with and increased respiration rate. A post-mortem was performed on two dead pigs.


There was approximately 200mls of yellow fluid in the pleural cavity and white fibrinous material coated the lungs (particularly in the caudoventral portion). The lungs were lightly adhered to the ribs. The lungs were diffusely purple. The pericardial sac was thickened and contained yellow fluid. In the peritoneal cavity the intestines, spleen and stomach were lightly adhered together with fibrinous material. A morphological diagnosis of severe fibrinous pleuropnuemonia, pericardititis and peritonitis was made. Samples were collected for bacteriology and histopathology.

Image of pig <em>post-mortem</em> showing thorax and abdomen
The gross pathology of glasser's disease

Histopathology reported extensive fibrinosupprative exudates along the pleural surface, often associated with coccobacilli. There is extensive oedema of the interlobular septae which are thickened with masses of inflammatory cells (largely neutrophils). Extensive zones on necrosis are present in the parenchyma.

Comment: pleuropnuemonia - severe, fibrinosupprative, necrotizing, with massive pleural fibrin exudation and intralesional coccobacilli consistent with Glasser's.

Bacteriology from the lungs showed sparse pure growth of Haemophilus parasuis.


The sick pig was treated with injectable amoxicillin and the water was medicated with amoxicillin at a dose rate of 20mg/kg/day for the remainder pigs. The losses stopped.


These weaners were purchased from saleyards in October with the view of turning them over for the Christmas season. The producer paid $100/head and the average weight was 15kg. They were housed in a shearing shed with other pigs that had been previously introduced. These animals were not sick. There were poor ventilation and hygiene conditions in the shed. This coupled with the stress of weaning, transportation and social stressors would predispose the weaners to diseases such as Glasser's Disease. The losses incurred from deaths and cost of treatment would far outweigh the profits made.


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