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Incidence of foot and skin lesions in nursing piglets and their association with behavioural activities
  1. N. Mouttotou, DVM, PhD1 and
  2. L. E. Green, BVSc, MSc, PhD, MRCVS1
  1. 1 University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Division of Animal Health and Husbandry, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  1. University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Division of Animal Health and Husbandry, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU

Abstract

A total of 356 piglets from one farm were examined for foot and skin lesions every day for the first 10 days after birth, and then on altemate days until they were weaned. Over a period of 24 days 100 per cent of the after birth, and then on altemate days until they were weaned. Over a period of 24 days 100 per cent of the piglets examined developed sole bruising, and 49-1 per cent developed sole erosions. Sole bruising lasted for an average of 13 days and sole erosions for seven days. At the beginning of the study, a higher proportion of piglets had mild sole bruising; from three to nine days of age piglets had moderate sole bruising but from days 10 to 20 mild bruising was again observed more frequently. Skin lesions were observed on the carpal aspect of the front limbs; 60.9 per cent of the piglets developed skin abrasions, 70.7 per cent developed healed wounds and 90 per cent developed hairless patches. The skin abrasions lasted on average for six days, the healed wounds for five days and the hairless patches for eight days. Piglets which developed sole bruising and/or sole erosions on the first day of life were significantly heavier than those which did not. Continuous observations of the piglets' behaviour during the first six days of life showed that sole bruising increased as the total time spent in the creep area or lying near the sow on the solid floor increased. During the first three days of life skin abrasions increased as the total time spent lying in the creep area increased. There was a positive correlation between the total time piglets spent suckling and the incidence of carpal skin abrasions between four and six days of age. Piglets with sole bruising, sole erosions or carpal skin abrasions spent less time during the day in ‘other’ activities such as walking, playing or fighting.

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