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Leg Weakness - Osteochondrosis (OCD)

See chapter 7 for further information.

(336) This is more common in first and second litter females and it is also described under the term osteochondrosis (OCD). Leg weakness may result in separation of the head of the femur or tearing of the muscles from the pelvis to the leg bones. Fracture of the growth plates of the vertebrae may cause pressure on the spinal cord or on nerves leaving the spinal cord resulting in loss of leg function and acute pain. Major predisposing factors are sloping farrowing crate floors or very slippery ones. When the young sow tries to stand up the front legs are moved backwards and the back legs slip underneath. This creates enormous shear stresses on the young growth plates in the long bones causing changes in the bone structure or even fractures. The lameness in many cases may only become evident at weaning time when sows are mixed and they fight and ride each other, or at mating due to the weight of a heavy boar. Thus if there are lameness problems in the post-weaning period check and examine sows in the farrowing crates carefully and in particular the relationships of the feet to the floor surfaces. The judicious use of fine dry sand on the floors daily can often significantly improve the situation in the short term until floor surfaces can be changed. Alternatively, because first and second parity sows are most susceptible, a small proportion of farrowing crate floors can be altered and used specifically for these animals.

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