Virus (Herpes Virus – Aujeszky’s Disease)

Edited by: John Carr BVSc DPM PhD MRCVS Swine Specialist –
Iowa State University
Lou Anne Wolfe DVM from Sapulpa, Oklahoma

Things I’ve learned about this virus and what every pig owner, rescue person and sanctuary owner should know. I’ve tried to keep this simple, but you can follow the links for more in-depth information at

1.A pig can be a symptomatic carrier for an indefinite length of time, but end result is death.   

2. It travels so fast in some pigs that they die before it shows in the
blood, and only a brain serology test will confirm it.

3. It is a herpes virus and comes with a variety of symptoms. The presence
of other infections such as PRRS and leptospira may increase the severity of
the disease.  See

Some common symptoms are:

A. Coughing, sneezing and nervous signs

B. Reproductive failure, abortions and mummified piglets (See
for more information.).

4.Most states do not allow vaccination for pseudorabies. Once a pig is
vaccinated for pseudorabies, it will always test positive for the virus.
Vaccinated pigs can be differentiated from naturally affected pigs by routine
examination of the blood.

5. Can be spread to other animals including, but not limited to, cows,
goats, dogs, cats, raccoons and other wildlife.
Many hunting dogs get it from hunting and taking down wild feral pigs.
In cattle, pseudorabies is nicknamed “mad itch,” as it causes
frenzied scratching, intense excitement, paralysis, convulsions and death.

6. No pet potbellied pig has tested positive for pseudorabies in Florida,
but it has shown up in mixed herds, like those crossed with the wild ferals
for hunting camps, according to Dr. Maxwell at the Live Oak Diagnostic Lab in
Live Oak, Florida.  Would be wise
to check with your own state lab or state veterinarian.

7. No evidence of human infection.

8. Some causes and contributing factors to pseudorabies infection are:

A. Movement of teacup pigs

B.  Virus airborne – can travel for
at least a 2-mile radius

C. Infection from wild feral pigs

D. Mechanically–via people and contaminated vehicles

E.  Through infected semen via
artificial insemination or a carrier boar

F.   Within herds, it may be
spread by nose-to-nose contact, or by aerosol droplets. And periods of stress
may activate the disease.

These are only short notes. You should always check with your local or state vet for more information on pseudorabies in your state and area.