Muscle tear

This disease primarily affects sows and first litter gilts. The key clinical signs include periostitis; dog-sit position; reluctance to move.

Background and history

This is a common condition in sows and first litter gilts whereby the muscle fibres are torn away from their attachment to the bone and periosteum. This occurs where muscles are attached to the inner surfaces of the elbow and knee joints, and the points of attachment to the pelvis.

Clinical signs

Sows, weaners and growers

  • Painful inflammation of bone and periosteum (periostitis).
  • Affected sows often adopt a dog sitting position.
  • Pigs cannot stand.
  • Reluctance to move.
  • Lameness.
  • Incoordination.
  • Shivering.


  • Piglet cannot stand – legs spread laterally.


This is based on clinical signs.


  • Torn muscles arise as a sequel to osteochondrosis (OCD).
  • Trauma.
  • Fighting.
  • Slippery floors.
  • Weak bones.
  • Splay leg in piglets.


Affected pigs as soon as they are identified should be moved to a solid floor area that is deep bedded where the grip for the foot is firm. Soiled or grass areas are ideal. If this is done most will recover.