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© 1985-1991, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide describes the causes and symptoms of swine dysentery and offers management recommendations and treatment procedures for its prevention and control.

Swine dysentery is a highly contagious disease of growing and finishing pigs. First described in Indiana in 1921, it has been called black scours, bloody scours, and vibrionic dysentery.

Swine dysentery causes important financial losses because of reduced feed efficiency and lower weight gain, costs of medication and additional animal care, and death. Substantial costs may result from loss of sales of breeding stock, or depopulation when necessary. Serpula (Treponema) hyodysenteriae, a spiral bacterium, is the cause of swine dysentery, and seven different types have been recognized worldwide. Types 1 and 2 are the most common in the United States.