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(422) Bone fractures are not uncommon in sows and gilts and are usually the end result of trauma and fighting, although spontaneous ones occur in bone disease such as osteomalacia, associated with calcium phosphorus and vitamins A and D, and osteochondrosis.

Clinical signs

The onset is invariably sudden, the animal being unable to rise on its own without difficulty. A significant feature is the reluctance to place any weight on the affected leg. The muscles and tissues over the fracture site are often swollen and painful and the pig is very reluctant to move unless on three legs. An examination is best carried out when the pig is lying down. Crepitus or the rubbing together of the two broken ends of the bone can often be felt. Fractures of the spinal vertebra are common in the first litter female particularly during lactation and in the immediate post weaning period. The pig usually adopts a dog sitting position and exhibits severe pain on movement. Such animals should be destroyed.


This is based upon the history, symptoms and palpation to detect crepitus.

Similar diseases

These include acute laminitis, arthritis, muscle tearing, bush foot and mycoplasma arthritis.


  • The affected animal should be slaughtered on the farm.
Management control and prevention
  • If fractures are a recurring problem it is necessary to check that there are no diseases such as osteomalacia, osteoporosis or leg weakness (OCD).
  • Check the calcium phosphorus and vitamin D levels.
  • Check management procedures during the period of effect.

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