Dippity Pig Syndrome

Dippity Pig Syndrome by Cathy Zolicani (Cathy Corrigan, DVM) (03/01/15)
Also called Bleeding Back Syndrome and Erythema Multiforme

Dippity Pig Syndrome is an acute, painful skin condition that occurs along the back in healthy young pigs.


  • Occurs in young pigs – between 4 months and 4 years
  • Sudden, rapid onset
  • Screaming/squealing in pain
  • Dipping or temporary loss of use of hind legs – it usually does not affect front legs
  • Red, oozing sores on back – there are usually more than one, and they make stripes across the back rather than following the length of the back bone
  • Pigs will try to run or move away from the pain
  • Pigs will usually eat and drink
  • Pigs will usually have normal stool and urine
  • Pigs will usually have a normal body temperature
  • Usually lasts 2-4 days
  • Can reoccur in some pigs
  • Happens most often in small pet pigs, occasionally in show pigs, and has been reported a few times in farm pigs
  • Seems to be associated with a stressful situation

For photo examples of Dippity pig visit our Pinterest board by clicking here.


The cause of Dippity Pig Syndrome is not known. There is some evidence, based on biopsy results, that it may involve a herpes virus (like shingles in the human being). There is evidence that it occurs in some family lines.


  • This condition will resolve after 2-4 days with no medical intervention
  • Reduce stress in the environment – keep the pig in a quite familiar environment with soft bedding, dim light, soft music and reduced noise.
  • Isolate the pig from people – these pigs are very painful. In some cases, even blowing on their backs will cause a collapse. They need to be left alone to rest.
  • Some veterinarians will use anti-inflammatory steroids to treat Dippity. NSAIDs have also been used. Since there is some evidence that a herpes virus may be involved, this treatment is somewhat controversial.

For pain:

  • Buffered aspirin, 5 mg per pound every 12 hours, with a meal. For no more than 3 days


  • Tylenol, 5 mg per pound every 8 hours. (If you use infant’s Tylenol, 1 cc per 6 pounds). Always with food. For no more than 3 days
  • Tramadol or buprenex can be prescribed by your veterinarian for pain control.

To help the pig rest:

  • Benadryl (aka diphenhydramine) up to 1 mg per pound every 8 hours.


  • If you are worried about him/her
  • If the pig is not responding to treatment
  • If the condition continues for longer than 4 days
  • If both the back AND front legs are involved (probably not Dippity)
  • If your pig will not eat nor drink
  • If your pig continues to be very painful
  • If your pig runs a fever (temperature greater than 103)
  • If your pig seems unresponsive

Dippity Pig Syndrome

Video of symptoms: