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See also streptococcal infections

Meningitis is uncommon in the sow but it is sometimes secondary to middle ear infection. If an infectious disease enters a herd for the first time sporadic cases in sows may be seen. Meningitis is seen in the sucking pigs and weaners associated with streptococcal infections. See Streptococcal meningitis.


Piglets, Weaners & Growers
  • Shivering.
  • Pigs show pain / discomfort.
  • Hair raised.
  • Grinding teeth
  • Lateral movement of eyes (nystagmus).
  • Fits and convulsions.
  • On side paddling.
Sows (unusual)
  • The sow is off feed.
  • Trembling with an unsteady gate.
  • The temperature is elevated, often as high as 42?C (108?F).
As the meningitis develops:
  • The eye moves sideways.
  • Fits occur and the sow cannot stand.
  • The head may be on one side.

Causes / Contributing factors

  • Middle ear infection.
  • Specific bacteria e.g. streptococci, Haemophilus parasuis.
  • Aujeszky's disease.
  • Poisons.
  • Poor environments in nurseries.


This is based upon the signs in an individual sow, or if there are a number of cases, a specific infectious disease. It may require a post-mortem examination, including histology of the brain and culture of the causal organism to confirm the diagnosis.

Meningitis must be differentiated from the following:-

- Acute kidney infection.
- Aujeszky's disease (AD) (PR).
- Brain abscess.
- Heat stroke.
- Middle ear infection.
- Poisons.
- Water deprivation (salt poisoning).

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.