Viral pathogens associated with diarrhea in pigs include porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), porcine rotavirus A (RVA) and C (RVC) among others. In this study, a novel universal primer-based pentaplex PCR (UP-M-PCR) assay was developed for simultaneous detection and differentiation of these five viruses. The assay uses a short-cycle multiplex amplification by chimeric primers (CP), which are virus specific, with a tail added at the 5' end of the universal primer (UP), followed by universal amplification using UPs and a regular cycle amplification. Five universal primers with CPs (UP1-5) were designed and evaluated in an UP-based single PCR (UP-S-PCR). All five UPs were found to work efficiently and UP2 exhibited the best performance. After system optimizations, the analytical sensitivity of the UP-M-PCR, using plasmids containing the specific viral target fragments, was 5 copies/reaction for each of the five viruses irrespective of presence of a single or multiple viruses in the template. No cross-reaction was observed with other non-target viruses. When 273 fecal samples from clinically healthy pigs were tested, the assay sensitivity was 90.9-100%, the specificity was 98.0-100%, and the agreement rate with the UP-S-PCR was 98.5-99.6% with a Kappa value being 0.95-0.98. In summary, the UP-M-PCR developed here is a rapid and highly sensitive and specific detection method that can be used to demonstrate mixed infections in pigs with diarrhea.