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Spirochaetal Diarrhoea

This is a disease associated with spirochetes distinct from the one that cause swine dysentery. It occurs mainly in growing pigs appearing very similar to non-specific colitis and PIA caused by Lawsonia intracellularis. Spirochetes are common inhabitants of the large intestine and caecum.


Weaners & Growers
  • A mild to moderate sloppy diarrhoea develops two to six weeks post-weaning that persists for a few days.
  • Dehydration.
  • Loss in growth.
  • Most cases resolve in 7 to 10 days but in some pigs it becomes chronic.
  • The disease can be difficult to differentiate from other bacterial infections, particularly non-specific colitis.
Piglets & Sows
  • N/A

Causes / Contributing factors

  • A sudden change in diet.
  • Removal of copper from the diet.
  • Withdrawal of growth promoters.
  • Poor hygiene i.e. dirty floor surfaces, water contamination.


This is difficult because specific organisms cannot usually be identified. If there is an on-going problem on the farm, live diseased pigs showing typical signs, should be submitted for post-mortem and bacteriological examinations to eliminate swine dysentery.

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.