SUMMARY: Eight field isolates of Erysipelothrix rhuslopathiae serotypes 1 and 2, from different sources, were examined for their pathogenicities for mice and pigs. Arthritogenicity for pigs correlated with virulence for mice at the highest and lowest levels, but not with strains of intermediate virulence. The most virulent strain was also arthritogenic in rats.
In pigs, after repeated intravenous challenge the number of affected joints ranged from 0 to 11 of 12 examined. For the 8 strains, the mean number of affected joints ranged from 1 to 7.7 per pig. Clinical course and pathological findings were correlated, but the onset, severity and duration of lameness was variable both within and between groups. Clinical lameness, joint swelling and urticariae were of limited use as indicators of joint changes. The more virulent strains caused lameness as early as 2 days, whereas strains of low virulence took up to 8 weeks.