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Characterisation of Histopathologic Lesions among Pigs with Overgrown Claws

21 April 2015

From this study from the US, it appears that claw overgrowth in sows is not related to inflammation of or changes to the laminae, unlike in other species.

In order to characterise the histological lesions in pigs, with and without claw overgrowth, hindlimb claws from a subset of 24 sows that were part of a larger field study were selected because of claw deformities associated with overgrowth and change in gait.

The work is published in the Journal of Swine Health and Production.

The research team, led by Dr Shelley J. Newman of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee used length measurements were available for 72 lateral or medial rear claws. Claws were examined histologically and the lesions categorised. Overgrowth was defined as a toe growth measuring more than 50mm in length.

Lateral rear claws were most consistently overgrown, the researchers found. However, the distribution and severity of lesions failed to suggest a common aetiology for overgrowth.

Inflammation, arteriosclerosis, lamellar epithelial changes, phalanx rotation or combinations of these were not prominent gross or histological changes.

The pathogenesis of overgrowth in this collection of claws is unknown but does not appear to represent primary laminitis, concluded Newaman and co-authors.

However, they add that, as lameness continues to prompt a significant economic loss due to culling, further studies on claw overgrowth, its effect on motion and its pathogenesis are warranted.


Newman S.J., B.W. Rohrbach, M.E. Wilson, J. Torrison and S. van Amstel. 2015. Characterization of histopathologic lesions among pigs with overgrown claws. J. Swine Health Production. 23:91-96.

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April 2015

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