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Papers Survey of cull sow bone and joint integrity in the Moorepark Research Farm herd
  1. W. F. Ryan, BScEng, MVB, MRCVS1,1,
  2. P. B. Lynch, MAgrSc, MS, PhD1 and
  3. J. V. O'Doherty, BAgrSc, MAgrSc, PhD2
  1. 1 Department of Pig Production, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland
  2. 2 School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
  1. E-mail for correspondence: william.ryan{at}


The objective of this study was to examine the effects of production (the number and weight of pigs produced over a lifetime) on the physical and mechanical properties of the metacarpals of cull sows, the prevalence of osteochondrosis and conformation traits. Metacarpals (n=79) and forelimbs (n=36) from cull sows were collected at slaughter. Bones were CT scanned for cross-sectional area and moment of inertia. Cylindrical sections from the diaphysis were used for mechanical testing and for calculating bone strength indices. The value of elastic (Young's) modulus, dry bone ash percentage, apparent bone density and bone mineral density did not decrease with the parity of the sows. Osteochondrosis was found in all the sows. The most severe lesions were in the medial condyle of the humerus and the anconeal process of the ulna. No relationship was found between lameness and joint pathology.

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