Distance and conditions pigs are required to traverse to access feed and water can affect wear on the feet and trauma to joints. Please confirm that you are a health care professional. Foot lesions have been well defined but do not always correlate with lameness on an individual pig basis, because the pain associated with foot lesions depends on exposure or infection of the sensitive tissues underlying the claw, heel, and sole of the toes. Watch the pig stand and lie down to determine how agile it is and how well it is able to deal with the injury. Because it is buried under a large muscle mass, even infectious arthritis in the stifle, a site commonly affected by Mycoplasma hyosynoviae, can be missed on individual pigs on cursory examination. It may be necessary to expose lesions under overgrown horn by paring using a hoof knife. When examining a herd with a locomotor problem, the focus should not be solely on a group of affected pigs. This system helps visually rank the seven more common claw lesions, based on the type of lesion and its level of severity (1 = mild, 2 = moderate, 3 = severe). Condemned carcass or euthanized slow or down pigs can sometimes be made available for examination. Early identification of lame animals and their removal to hospital pens for treatment is a vital part of the control and healing process. It is easy to lop off too much of the hoof and nip into the fleshy sole beneath the hard hoof, causing irreversible damage to the hoof structure. The advantage is that muscles are relaxed, allowing manipulation of skeletal structures such as potential fractures. The most common hoof diseases Lack of bedding and uneven floors can cause injury to the crumbs and soles, as well as rapid abrasion of the horn end on the hoof. The pen evaluation is intended to identify the lame pigs. If bedding is used, determining the sources and management of the bedding is also significant to characterize disease risks. In addition to the signalment of the individual pigs in a population, the signalment of the composite group (ie, demographics) is also an important consideration. 1996: 65-70. The hooves of potbellied pigs may become cracked or overgrown and cause lameness, discomfort, and, in extreme cases, infections and abscesses. History taking must be thorough and should include information on age of onset, typical clinical signs, and progression of the lameness. Figure 3.Innate differences in gait exist between YC and LR pigs. Cow hooves are always growing, and they can become quite uncomfortable for them to walk on if they aren’t regularly maintained. There are nerves and blood vessels in each hoof, similar to the quick of our own nails. White-line disease—an infection that sets in between the hoof wall and underlying hoof structures—may cause the hoof … The sourcing and mixing of discrete pig populations can influence whether infectious diseases are maintained as endemic within the population or can become epidemic outbreaks as pigs become susceptible over time with the loss of maternal immunity and have commingling exposure. Disinfect hoof trimmers between uses to prevent transmitting any bacteria between animals. In particular, vesicular diseases caused by several viruses can cause lameness in breeding and growing swine: foot-and-mouth disease, Seneca Valley virus, swine vesicular disease, vesicular stomatitis, and vesicular exanthema all fit this clinical picture. Cracks that extend more than an inch up the hoof and never seem to grow out and go away can be sign of a chronically unbalanced hoof. This leads to bleeding and pain from anywhere between a couple of days to months. Trim away as much excess tissue as the sow will allow and then apply copper naphthenate to the sole of the foot for three days. Generally, a healthy and average breed of pig may require hoof trims at least once a year. For suspected neurologic cases, one half of the brain should be submitted chilled and the other half fixed in buffered 10% formalin. Cardinal signs of inflammation, ie, heat, swelling, pain, and redness, should be noted. If less restraint is sufficient, the pig can remain free in a pen or stall, or a sorting panel can be used to prevent the pig from moving away. When the hooves are excessively long they interfere with normal movement and produce a vicious cycle where the sow doesn’t move much because it is hard to balance on long toes and the toes get longer because the sow isn’t using them. Exploring lesions by trimming with a hoof knife, clipper, or grinder requires adequate restraint and safety protocols. Cleanliness and moisture are additional factors to evaluate. If possible, the disease history among neighboring farms can help understand disease risks. At least three body systems (musculoskeletal, nervous, and integumentary) may be affected independently or in combination. For sows, body condition score at the time of death or euthanasia can help reveal underlying lameness conditions because recorded reasons for cause of death are also prone to inaccuracy, and lame sows tend to lose body condition before death or euthanasia. The individual pig assessments are intended to focus on the specific cause(s) of the lameness. Stop if you start to see pink in the white hoof wall, or there is blood. It will NOT grow back the same, and the hoof will grow permanently deformed from the soft tissue damage. At a minimum, developing expertise in opening joints on dead pigs that may not be ideal candidates for diagnostic sampling can help direct diagnostic efforts when more suitable pigs are available. Diagnosis of lameness can be complex. Large pigs - it is even more important, the bigger the pig to keep on top of their hoof care. Although lameness can be caused by congenital or developmental abnormalities, most lameness in production animals is caused by pain associated with infections, trauma-related injuries, or underlying metabolic diseases. Solid, partial slat, and fully slatted floors also have relative advantages and disadvantages in terms of associated lameness conditions. In general, tissues from three euthanized pigs with characteristic clinical signs, acutely affected, and untreated (if available) are a reasonable starting point. Wild pigs often dig into the ground, looking for roots and other plant life to eat. Wild pigs will also make indents in the ground near ponds or other still water. ... Overgrown dew claws are prone to injury and can interfere with normal locomotion of the sow. Paterson RA, et al. It may be feasible to provide medication in the water or feed after the initial parenteral treatment. Proc Aus Assoc Pig Vet. Pig flow may be affected if farrowing targets are not met because of high rates of breeding stock removal or if growth of grower/finisher pigs is slowed by high lameness incidence. Because of the different organ systems potentially involved, a consistent and thorough approach to evaluate all components of lameness is essential. Untrimmed hooves could also cause body structure injury or locomotive damage for the pig which will make it difficult for them to walk or run. Disadvantages are the management of controlled substances used as anesthetics, required withdrawal times, and the challenge of managing recovery from anesthesia with other pigs present or in facilities that may not be set up for such procedures. The torso can be evaluated and palpated for muscle mass, tone, and symmetry. Don't Ignore Feet and Leg Soundness in Pigs Livestock Update, June 2001. However, for larger finisher pigs, gilts, sows, and boars, the process is laborious because of the size of the animal and the need to examine numerous joints and bones, often including the spine if appropriate to the clinical presentation. This is true not only for federal regulations regarding use of antimicrobials and analgesics but also for the patchwork of commercial marketing programs that are typically more restrictive on product use through contractual agreements. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The trusted provider of veterinary information since 1955, Lameness in Pigs in Grower/Finisher Areas, Lameness in Breeding Gilts, Sows, and Boars, Musculoskeletal Disorders in Large Animals. Fractures of the femur, humerus, ribs, or vertebrae may be induced by strong muscle contractions during the slaughter process; however, if the problem is seen frequently, it may be a reflection of the overall integrity of the skeleton and warrant further evaluation of the minerals and vitamins in the ration. In addition to antimicrobials to treat infectious arthritides, the use of anti-inflammatory agents to relieve pain can be useful and beneficial to the pig. Prevalence and severity of foot lesions in a sow herd can be estimated by scoring the feet using statistical sampling. During the growing phase, the goal of the nutritional program should be to ensure the development of a strong skeleton so that incidence of spontaneous bone fractures in the finishing barn or during the slaughter process is low, thus preventing large numbers of culls or partial and complete condemnations of carcasses. 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