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Broken bones are not uncommon and usually result from injury and fighting. Spontaneous fractures can occur in bone diseases such as osteochondrosis and osteomalacia, which are associated with calcium phosphorus and vitamins A and D.

Fractures are common in growing pigs due to environmental trauma and where appropriate high stocking densities.


All Pigs
  • The onset is always sudden and painful.
  • The pig is unable to rise on its own without difficulty.
  • Incoordination.
  • A significant feature is the reluctance to place any weight on the affected leg and lameness.
  • The pig is very reluctant to move unless on three legs.
  • The muscles and tissues over the fracture site are often swollen.
  • Crepitus or the rubbing together of the two broken ends of the bone can often be felt.
  • Fractures of the spinal vertebra are common particularly in the first litter gilt during lactation and after weaning.
  • The pig usually adopts a dog sitting position and exhibits severe pain on movement.
  • In chronic cases joints may be swollen and abscessed.

Causes / Contributing factors

  • Bone disease such as osteomalacia, osteoporosis or leg weakness (OCD).
  • Low levels of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D levels in the diet.
  • Trauma.
  • Fighting.
  • Fractures in piglets are usually caused by trauma from the sow.


This is based upon a history of injury, clinical signs and palpation. Fractures must be differentiated from acute laminitis, arthritis, muscle tearing, bush foot and mycoplasma arthritis.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to find out more about this disease, including treatment, management control and prevention information. The top link is the main article on this disease.