Dipped shoulder (humpy back, kinky back, kyphosis)

This disease primarily affects gilts and boars up to six months in age. The key clinical sign is a disfigurement of the body.
calendar icon 14 November 2018
clock icon 6 minute read

Background and history

This is not an uncommon condition, seen in both gilts and boars up to six months of age. Mild forms can sometimes be seen in individual mature boars in different herds. It has been described in pigs as young as 3–4 weeks of age where there may be a genetic predisposition.

The condition is abnormal and unsightly but, in the absence of other diseases, the pigs remain healthy and normal in every other way.

Clinical signs

As the animal approaches maturity its body changes shape and it starts to give the appearance of two different pigs joined together at the middle. The back above and behind the ribs becomes increasingly dipped and the back above the middle and rear abdomen becomes humped.

In severe cases partial or complete paralysis may be seen.

Diagnosis

This is based upon clear clinical signs.

Causes

  • In some cases it is a developmental condition and probably environmental although what factors in the environment cause it are not known.
  • The affected farms may have a significant proportion of their growing breeding stock with it but closely related breeding stock on other farms all develop normally.
  • In herds where the condition is common there may be a boar conformation involvement.
  • It has also been associated with excessive riding of boars and back damage.
  • Early onset of puberty has been implicated in boars.

Treatment

In cases of paralysis, animals should be culled. Mortality is usually low.

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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