Shoulder Ulcers Affect Sow Maternal Behaviour

DENMARK - Shoulder ulcers in lactating sows lead to changes in behaviour such as shorter lying time, increased restlessness and lower nursing frequency, according to an investigation conducted by Aarhus University and the Danish Pig Research Centre.
calendar icon 8 April 2015
clock icon 2 minute read

Shoulder ulcers are pressure wounds most often observed in the shoulder region of lactating sows housed in production systems.

The study was based on observation of 19 sows with shoulder ulcers and 19 without sows for a 24-hour period approximately two weeks after farrowing.

It also showed that affected sows had less contact with their young compared with healthy sows without shoulder ulcers. Sows with ulcers also showed greater rubbing of the shoulder against the fittings than the healthy sows.

Although sows two weeks after farrowing are motivated to nurse and care for their young, the investigation showed that their maternal behaviour was affected.

Overall, the results can be interpreted as the sows attempting to ease pain or discomfort through frequent changes in posture and by spending less time lying.

Further research in the area is needed for a more detailed knowledge of the implications of the lesions for the welfare of the sow and the piglets.

Further Reading

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