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ThePigSite Quick Disease Guide

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Pockets of pus that contain large numbers of bacteria which usually enter the body through damage to the skin. Near the skin surface they may become painful.


All Pigs
  • Possibly emaciation and death.
  • Small to large swellings.
  • Pigs show pain / discomfort.
  • Evidence of fluid - pus or blood in the swellings.
  • Red skin may be ulcerated.
  • Often damage evident to the skin.
  • Lameness from spinal abscesses.

Causes / Contributing factors

  • Fighting.
  • Secondary infection arising from other conditions such as PRRS, pneumonia or tail biting.
  • Small widespread abscesses in the skin (pustular dermatitis) may be seen following general illness, septicaemia and or greasy pig disease.
  • Damage to the skin by sharp objects in the environment.
  • Trauma to feet, knees, tail.
  • Teeth removal.
  • Poor injections.
  • Chronic abscesses may from around joints following fractures.


Feel and press the swelling to ascertain if the contents are fluid or solid. Sample the contents by inserting an 18mm 16 gauge needle attached to a 10ml syringe at the lowest soft point of the swelling.

Haemorrhage into the tissues is the only condition likely to be confused with an abscess. In such cases either pure blood or a very thin blood stained liquid will be withdrawn. Such pockets of blood are called haematomas.

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.