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Atrophic Rhinitis (AR)

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Rhinitis is inflammation of the tissues inside the nose and in its mild form it is very common. During the process of infection the delicate turbinate bones in the nose become damaged and may shrink or become distorted (atrophy). This condition rarely causes clinical disease in the mature animal but if the breeding female has been infected early in life it could still show distortions of the face in adulthood.

There are two forms of the disease: mild and non-progressive where the infection or irritation occurs over a period of 2 to 3 weeks. However, the inflammation does not progress and the turbinate bones repair and return to normality.

The serious disease is progressive atrophic rhinitis (PAR) where toxin producing strains of the bacterium Pasteurella multocidia, present in the herd cause a continual and progressive inflammation and atrophy of the tissues and nose distortion. Progressive atrophic rhinitis is a serious condition both in sucking and growing pigs.

All herds will show some degree of non-progressive atrophic rhinitis.


  • None clinically. They may carry the pasteurella organism.
  • Possible distortion of the face.
Piglets, Weaners & Growers
  • Early signs can be seen in sucking pigs; sneezing, snuffling and a nasal discharge.
  • Sneezing often blood stained. Haemorrhage.
  • Runny eyes, tear staining. Conjunctivitis.
  • Twisting, shortening and wrinkling of the nose and or upper jaw.
  • Reduced daily gain and variable growth.
  • Poor body condition.
  • Reduced feed efficiency.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Inappetence.
  • Increase in respiratory diseases.
  • Pneumonia.

Causes / Contributing factors

  • More common in young herds particularly those containing large numbers of gilts.
  • Large permanently populated farrowing houses.
  • Multi suckling increases the spread of infection.
  • Poor ventilation, low humidity.
  • Dusty atmospheres predispose.
  • Toxic gases predispose.
  • The presence of diseases such as EP, PRRS, Hps and Aujeszky's disease.
Milder rhinitis, in the absence of toxigenic pasteurella (non progressive disease) in which the turbinate bones heal and regenerate, may be caused by the following.
  • Air containing high bacterial counts.
  • Aujeszky's disease (pseudorabies).
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica infection.
  • Chronic respiratory disease.
  • Dust.
  • Gl?ssers disease.
  • High levels of ammonia.
  • Porcine cytomegalovirus infection (inclusion body rhinitis).
  • Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).
  • Poor humid conditions.


This is based on clinical signs. However do not assume if sneezing alone is occurring in young pigs that it will necessarily lead to progressive atrophic rhinitis. Individual piglets may also develop distortion of the nose from trauma or some cause other than PAR. The disease is easily identified by post-mortem examinations of the nose and culture of the organism from nasal swabs.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to find out more about this disease, including treatment, management control and prevention information. The top link is the main article on this disease.