Glässer disease

The Glässer disease is caused by a bacteria called Haemophilus parasuis, which causes polyserositis and sporadic arthritis in piglets and growers.

Alternative names: Haemophilus parasuis

Information

Caused by a bacteria called Haemophilus parasuis, which has many different serotypes. It is found globally and is present even in modern farms with good health programs.

In most of the farms where the bacteria is endemic, sows produce a strong maternal immunity that usually persists in their piglets for 3 to 5 weeks.   Clinical disease is most prevalent in pigs 4 to 8 weeks of age. Sometimes it can be present in outbreaks in lactating piglets, mainly in new farms with a full population of first parity sows.

This bacteria can also act as a secondary pathogen to other diseases, particularly enzootic pneumonia.

Haemophilus parasuis  attacks serum surfaces that cover joints, intestine, lungs, heart and brain causing pneumonia, pericardium infection, peritonitis and pleurisy.

Symptoms

Sows

  • Not frequent in adult sows unless they had not have previous contact.
  • Occasionally observed in first parity sows:
    • Laminitis/ stiffness.
    • Slight swollen of the area surrounding joints and tendons.
    • Can occasionally produce meningitis. 

Lactating piglets

  • Acute Disease:
    • Piglets get depressed quickly.
    • Fever.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Do not stand up.
    • Sudden death in piglets that have a good body condition is frequent.
    • Also causes arthritis and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite in individual pigs.
  • Chronic Disease:
    • Pale and slow growing pigs.
    • Sudden deaths may happen.

Weaners and growers

  • Pigs are depressed or can simply be found death.
  • Fever.
  • Stop eating.
  • Do not want to stand up.
  • Nervous signs including meningitis.
  • Poor doer pigs with bad shape, looking thin and hairy are often observed.

Frequent in young growers::

  • Fever.
  • Meningitis.
  • Arthritis.
  • Lameness.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Pericardium infection.
  • Peritonitis and pleuritis.

Causes / Contributing Factors

  • Large high health herds.
  • The disease can be triggered by PRRS, influenza or enzootic pneumonia.
  • Predisposing factors: inadequate environments, air streams, etc.
  • Stress.

Diagnosis

Based on clinical observations, post mortem examinations and isolation of the bacteria in the lab. Glasser’s disease must be differentiated from infections caused by Actinobacillus suis, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, Mulberry heart disease, streptococcal meningitis, arthritis and bacterial septicemia.

Control/Prevention

  • Haemophilus parasuis is sensitive to a broad range of antibiotics.
  • Animals must be treated quickly, mainly when meningitis cases are present.
  • Strategic use of antibiotics at critical periods of high susceptibility.