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Middle Ear Infections

This is caused by a variety of bacteria, that gain access to the middle part of the ear which is responsible for balance. Infection probably arises from the tonsils at the back of the throat and travels down the eustachian tube to the middle part of the ear. The common organisms involved include; Haemophilus parasuis, streptococci, and staphylococci.

The condition is sporadic but common particularly in the weaned pig and sow and occurs occasionally in the sucking pig from 7 to 10 days of age. If treatment is prompt there is usually a good response. If treatment is delayed there is the risk that infection will spread from the middle ear into the inner ear and inwards to cause meningitis


All Pigs
  • The pig stands with its head to one side often shaking.
  • As the disease progresses there is a gradual loss of co-ordination until ultimately the pig walks around in a circle eventually falling over.
  • Jerky eye movements may be evident.
  • Nervous signs i.e. fits, convulsions and meningitis may result.
  • Unusual in young piglets.

Causes / Contributing factors

Disease may result from:
  • Mange.
  • Skin trauma.
  • Vice - Abnormal behaviour.
  • Fighting.
  • Greasy pig disease.
  • Joint infections.
  • PRRS infection.


Based on clinical signs. Bacteriological examinations should be carried out if many pigs are involved.

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.