Early Detection and Interventions for Reducing Lameness in Gestating Sows
The second most common cause of culling is sow lameness, after reproductive failure. Hoof problems are related to good conformation and genetics, but also fully slatted concrete systems. Horn growth increases due to higher pressure exerted from the concrete floor. Claw overgrowth and heel erosion are often due to this and unbalanced weight distribution. Overgrown claws increase risk of injury and impede so movement, while wall and heel crack can be an entry point for infection. Lameness causes discomfort which can decrease lactation and reproductive performance as the feed intake has been reduced. As their stability is decreased, they are at greater risk of crushing piglets when lying down. Corrective claw trimming can be an early or preventative treatment option and increase sow longevity and productivity. The FeetFirst® chute was used to assist in claw trimming for the first time in Canada.