Diseases are often thought to result from a single cause. Although this is sometimes the case, e.g. with a highly virulent infection such as Classical Swine Fever (CSF), more often clinical disease in swine herds results from multiple predisposing factors. This is especially true in modern intensive pig husbandry, in which the role of highly infectious diseases is limited to (nonetheless devastating) outbreaks. More important nowadays are diseases, although associated nith an agent, without a clear pathogenesis. The emphasis in disease control thusfar has been on treatment, eradication and prevention. This has been achieved by focusing attention on husbandry factors, such as climate, housing, hygiene, management, and nutrition. Although this approach has been successful for a number of diseases, several health problems are persistent. There are strong indications that in the latter, intrinsic animal factors are important. Successful handling of these problems requires knowledge of the (patho)physiology of the pig. In this article, several characteristics of pig physiology associated with the occurrence of disease are described. It appears that the modern (fattening) pig is exceptional among other animal species in that its cardiovascular system is mismatched to its body weight. It is argued that this particular disposition causes relatively minor disturbances to have major consequences in the pig. This concept of pig physiology is central to the understanding of the hitherto poorly understood pathogenesis of several diseases, such as oedema disease.