ThePigSite Pig Health
Hyperkeratinization(467) This term describes thick layers of surface epithelial cells that become impregnated with black sebaceous material and dust from the environment. It is typically seen in confined sows, particularly over the neck and the back. (Fig.10-16). Occasionally, the condition in its extreme form will involve all the upper skin surfaces. It can be confused with mange but there is an easy and simple method of differentiation.
The mange mite burrows into the skin layers causing chronic inflammation and thick scabs. Hyperkeratinization on the other hand only consists of surface debris or scurf which is easily scrubbed away by the hand, leaving a clean smooth normal skin beneath. The condition is unsightly but of no consequence. It has been associated with a shortage of essential fatty acids. 4.5 litres of cod liver oil per 50 sows per week, added to the sow ration will improve the skin appearance. Alternatively essential fatty acids from other sources may be added in the diet.
The black dead skin rubs away leaving normal healthy skin.