Inherited thick legs (Hyperostosis)

This disease primarily affects piglets. The key clinical signs include think, boney legs; lameness; poor piglets.
calendar icon 14 November 2018
clock icon 6 minute read

Background and history

This is a very rare condition of newborn piglets which is thought to be inherited. Individual litters are born with boney thickening of the legs, most notably the front legs. The pigs cannot walk properly and usually fail to thrive. If such a condition arises check that the boar has not thrown other similar litters and do not mate the sow with the same boar again.

Congenital hyperostosis is described in the literature and is suspected to be a rare autosomal recessive condition.

Clinical signs

Piglets have thick, boney legs. They cannot walk properly.


This is based on the clinical signs.


Genetic inheritance.


Check the litter history of the boar. If it has a history of throwing piglets with hyperostosis, do not breed from it again.

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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