Greasy Pig Disease


Other names

Exudative epidermitis

Causal agent

Staphylococcus hyicus plus fighting

Age group

3-20 kg typically.  A chronic form may be seen in adults.


At any age wounds that do not heal properly may have a localized region of greasy pig disease

Clinical signs

Classic Picture

Newly weaned pig suddenly presents covered in patches of dirty brown greasy wet skin.  The hair is matted and may become a gray colour.  The condition extends rapidly, covering the whole body.  The pig stops eating and drinking and becomes very dehydrated.  After a week to 10 days the pig may be found dead.


The pig presents with patches 3-5 cm of the above skin condition but the disease does not spread.  The condition is most common/severe affecting the upper neck and hind legs - areas where the pig’s fight


Facial necrosis is a form of greasy pig disease associated with poor milk output resulting in excessive fighting between the piglets and damage to the face


A chronic black spotty appearance on the back and neck of sows is often associated with Staph. hyicus.



Nearly all pigs carry Staph. hyicus on their skin. 

Infection is from the mothers shortly after birth.  Infection can even occur during birth

Post-mortem Lesions


A severe if local exudative epidermitis. 

In severe acute cases lymph nodes may be swollen and abscessed.




Clinical examination of the animal

Culture relatively meaningless as culture from normal skin also positive




Isolate and place in compromised pig pen


Inject with a staphylococcus active antimicrobials which concentrate in the skin – lincomycin for example


Wash pig in Savlon or other disinfectant.  Ideally with Lanolin in the wash to soothe the skin


Inject with multivitamins


Provide ad lib water through cube drinkers and if necessary provide extra water by mouth.  The animals are quite dehydrated.  Note a pig may drink 1 litre per 10 kg, therefore a couple of syringe fulls will not be significant


Provide heat from a light source and clean dry straw



Greasy pig disease is the end result of fighting


Review all causes of fighting and increased aggression

Fighting over water


Check feed space availability


Check water supply number of drinkers and speed of flow


Check for draughts and piling

Fighting over feed space


On rare occasions it has been necessary to change genetics to a more sociable pig


Reduce mixing and moving


Check fly control in particular look for biting flies – Ophyra calcitrans


In herd ‘outbreaks’ it is possible to control by adding lincomycin to the water supply together with a sweetener to encourage the pigs to drink


Control mange on the farm


Ensure feedback adequate - especially to control cases in farrowing house.

Review colostrum mangement

Common differentials



Severe Pityriasis rosea, parakeratosis associated with zinc deficiency

Mineral deficiencies – generally a milling mistake


Zoonotic implications



There are no zoonotic implications