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Hoof-trimming Helps Reduce Lameness in Sow Herds

16 October 2013
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - Research conducted by the Prairie Swine Centre shows hoof trimming can help prevent lameness among sows within the breeding herd increasing the productive capacity of the animals and improving profitability, Bruce Cochrane writes.

The impact of hoof trimming on sow lameness will be among the topics discussed next Wednesday when a series of meetings to outline research being conducted in the area of sow lameness, longevity and temperament hosted by the Prairie Swine Centre in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc travels to Winnipeg.

Dr Yolande Seddon, a post doctoral fellow in swine ethology and welfare with the Prairie Swine Centre, notes lameness can result from genetic factors infectious or non infectious conditions or injury.

Dr Yolande Seddon-Prairie Swine Centre

In terms of economic considerations, if she is lame, we know that her productivity is very likely to be affected often because they are in pain, they show a reduction in feed intake, they can start to lose weight.

There is research out there showing that there can be fewer pigs born per sow that's lame, links to piglet mortality in the farrowing crate that she's less stable on her feet as well, less better milking ability perhaps because she's not eating so much.

It's something really as simple as lame sows even they don't want to get up and eat as much.

That in itself is a problem.

Also then, if she is lame and can't stay in the herd, you have the culling out, perhaps the higher sow turn over and when exactly you cull her out can cause even greater problems if she is already through gestation and needs to ne euthanized due to a severe lameness problem then you have a gap in the system that needs to be filled with replacement sows.

Dr Seddon says researchers were able to reduce the incidence of lameness through hoof trimming however whether it was solely due to hoof trimming can't be confirmed because other factors were also brought in.

She suggests certain sows could benefit where as it might not be a suitable remedy for other but if hoof confirmation is a problem that's causing lameness, then hoof trimming will help out.

ThePigSite News Desk

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