Early Detection and Interventions for Reducing Lameness in Gestating Sows
One of the most common reasons for culling sows in lameness. Overall herd productivity, sow welfare and sow productivity can be increased if treatment and prevention of lameness is implemented. In order for sows to generate profit, they must remain in the herd for a minimum of three parities. With the move to group housing, sow mobility will be a more important issue, so options are needed to benefit the sow and the producer. Early detection is key in reducing the costs and improving productivity, though methods have not been developed. Both joint and hoof issues can lead to lameness in sows and gilts. Hoof trimming is common in other hooved livestock and may be beneficial to swine as well. It was completed using the Feet First® chute in order to allow examination and corrective trimming of the sows hooves. This study indicates that around 50% of low parity sows are affected by lameness, with the most common problems being hoof lesions, heel erosion and long dew claws. Hoof lesions are related to the floor type used, such as partially slatted concrete floors. As the sows studied were in gestation stalls, mild lameness is often unnoticed. Management of lameness may increase when the move to group housing occurs as problems will be more easily observed. Corrective hoof trimming can be done to reduce the development of lameness.