Erysipelas-Diamond Skin Disease

Erysipelas

Erysipelas, also called diamond skin disease, is a bacterial disease that can be fatal.  The bacterium is found in the environment and can survive in soil or waste for 6 months.  It is carried by birds and rodents. 

Symptoms:

  • Diamond shaped lesions that form on the skin, red or purplish in color
  •  High fever (104-108 degrees Fahrenheit)
  •  Lack of interest in food
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness particularly in the hind end or hunched back
  • Endocarditis
  • Sloughing of the skin

Note:

The lesions are not always clearly diamond shaped.  If your pig is showing signs of red or purplish marks on the skin with a higher fever it is best to get to your veterinarian. 

Treatment:

Immediate treatment with penicillin is recommended twice daily for 3 days.  6ml per 100 pounds of body weight given behind the ear or in the rump.  Check the label on the penicillin bottlle to see if the injection should be intramuscular or subcutaneously.  Pull back on the plunger to ensure you have not hit a blood vessel BEFORE injecting the medicine.

Prevention:

The Erysipelas vaccination is recommended twice yearly.  This does not protect against all strains of the disease, but it is highly recommended as a preventative.