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Four-year study of lameness in piglets at a research station
  1. M. Zoric, DVM1,
  2. S. Stern, MSc, PhD2,
  3. N. Lundeheim, MSc, PhD2 and
  4. P. Wallgren, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1 National Veterinary Institute, S-75 1 89 Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2 Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Funbo-Lovsta, S-755 97 Uppsala, Sweden
  1. National Veterinary Institute, S-75 1 89 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract

Lameness in piglets up to nine weeks old was studied in a research station herd for four years; 9411 piglets were born alive, of which 9.8 per cent were treated for lameness. In litters born to gilts, 9.9 per cent of the piglets were treated for lameness, in litters born to sows of parity 3, 11.4 per cent of the piglets were treated, but in litters born to sows of parity 4 to 7 the proportion of piglets treated for lameness decreased to about 8 per cent. Around 75 per cent of all cases were observed in piglets less than three weeks old; the incidence risk of lameness decreased from 2.7 per cent during the first week of life to 0.3 per cent after weaning. The average weight of affected piglets was reduced by approximately 8 per cent at nine weeks of age. There was no overall association between lameness and sex or birth weight within sex. The mortality among lame gilts was higher at all ages than among healthy gilts, but among barrows a higher mortality was observed only during the late suckling period. Litters with 12 or more piglets had a higher incidence of lameness. Clinical signs of disease in the sow and whether the piglets were given an intramuscular injection of 200 mg of iron on their second, third or fourth day of life had no effect on the incidence of lameness.

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