Data were collected on the housing, management and disease factors in the weaning and finishing units of 49 integrated pig herds, 24 of them with a high incidence of arthritis at slaughter (case herds) and 25 with a low incidence (control herds). A median of 5·2 per cent (range 3·7 to 12·4 per cent) of the slaughtered pigs in the case herds had arthritis at meat inspection, compared with 2·2 per cent (range 0·3 to 2·8 per cent) in the control herds. In the farrowing units, high clinical sign scores for the lactating sows and piglets less than one week old and a low age at castration were associated with the case herds. In the weaning units, the herds with open partitions between the pens were 5·6 times more likely to be a case herd than the herds with solid walls. A higher age at weaning and moving the piglets at weaning from the farrowing pen instead of the sows decreased the likelihood of being a case herd. In the finishing units, a higher score for clinical signs, using a proper hospital pen, disinfecting the pens between the groups and using a feeding plan increased the likelihood of being a case herd. In total, 145 condemned joints, a median of four (up to six per herd), were collected at the slaughterhouse. In the case herds, 71 of 76 joints (93·4 per cent) had lesions related to osteochondrosis and in the control herds 66 of 69 joints (95·6 per cent) had such lesions. Only two of 11 joints from the case herds and one of 12 joints from the control herds that were examined bacteriologically were positive for Stapylococcus aureus and/or Streptococcus species.
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