Lameness in reproductive sows: a serious and very underestimated problem

Grieta vertical, cojeras. PigCHAMP

One of the main causes of culling sows, before they finish a full reproductive life, are the locomotion problems, which are usually defined under the generic “lameness” cause. The incidence of these injuries in hooves is much higher than it may seem to the naked eye. Mostly, lameness problems are noticed when they are already evident and make difficult the motion of the sows. However, it is not usual to examine the lesions in hooves of sows with problems and even less of sows that do not show evident symptoms.

Ten months ago, at PigCHAMP Pro Europe, started a project where we have been collecting data on hoof injuries, objectively, on multiple farms (with or without suspected lameness problems), in order to draw a map of the current situation of the injuries in hooves in our country, and to relate it to the records of culling with unspecific cause (more than 30,000 a year).

It is shown a picture of the front leg of a sow, taken at one of our lameness control visits to a pig farm in the province of Tarragona, which shows several injuries: vertical and horizontal cracks plus a degeneration of the white line in the heel that rises separating hoof-corion by the coronary line. This type of injury indicates that the main cause is likely the quality of the soils. The poor design or a poor distribution of the space, causes problems of traction because of the slippery slats (with excess of humidity) as well as fighting among animals for dry space or feeding.

We will keep on telling cases and results about our project of lameness control in the next posts. For any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.