Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in 1995 Nebraska Swine Report, edited by Duane Reese; published and copyright © 1995 Animal Science Department, University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


Swine dysentery is a highly contagious diarrheal disease of growing and finishing pigs which continues to cost an estimated $115.2 million to the United States’ pork producers each year. The disease is caused by the spiralshaped bacterium, Serpulina (Treponema) hyodysenteriae and is characterized by severe bloody diarrhea, reduced weight gain and death of susceptible pigs. When introduced in an uninfected herd, the disease quickly becomes established, requiring continuous medication at a cost of more than $8.00 per pig going to market. Although the cause of the disease has been known since the early 1970s, disease control strategies have essentially remained the same; medication of animals with expensive residue-causing antimicrobials and sanitation of premises.