Glässer’s disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Haemophilus parasuis. It is ubiquitous and occurs in pigs worldwide.
Pigs with Glässers disease become rapidly depressed, with an elevated temperature, stop eating and are reluctant to rise. Haemophilus parasuis attacks the smooth surfaces of the joints, coverings of the intestine, lungs, heart and brain. In young growing pigs, meningitis or middle ear infections are common together with pneumonia, heart sac infection, peritonitis and pleurisy.
Haemophilus parasuis also causes individual cases of arthritis and lameness with acute pain and fever. It is respiratory spread and a characteristic feature is a short cough of only two to three episodes. Sudden death in good suckling piglets is not uncommon in herds with a problem and, in particular, when immunity in gilt litters is low.
Suckling piglets are often pale and poor growing. The disease can be fatal for early weaned pigs, and they are most susceptible around three to six weeks old, although older pigs do succumb. The piglets may have a sudden fever, anorexia, and breathing difficulties. Animals become arthritic and lame - all joints being painful and swollen. The face may swell and there can be severe nasal discharge and coughing. Piglets may die within two to five days, and the skin may be discoloured red or blue.
Those animals who do survive may develop heart failure, meningitis or chronic arthritis.
The disease is spread by contact or aerosol.