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An experimental model for studying claw lesions in growing female pigs

Olsson, Anne-Charlotte and Svendsen, Jörgen and Botermans, Jos and Bergsten, Christer (2016). An experimental model for studying claw lesions in growing female pigs. Livestock science. 184 , 58-63
[Research article]

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2015.12.005


Problems with claw lesions leading to lameness are a growing concern in pig production. However, the causes and development of claw lesions are poorly understood and studies on prevention of claw lesion problems in gifts and sows are limited.This study tested a new experimental model which facilitates evaluation of the impact of different risk factors on pig feet lesions.The model consisted of using young gilts with a well-known background and promoting traumatic claw lesions for study purposes by increasing social and agonistic activity through regrouping on concrete flooring. Then claw lesions were assessed systematically and objectively on feet after slaughter. To test the model, two levels of exposure to concrete flooring were compared; normal activity in groups of gifts (no regrouping=NR) and increased activity in groups of gifts by performing several regroupings (repeated regrouping=RR).A total of 72 gilts (pairs of litter mates) in two batches, aged 4 months, were randomly distributed to the two treatments (NR and RR) in group pens (3 gilts per pen) with concrete flooring. The gilts were given approximately 200 g of straw per gilt every day. At 8, 9 and 10 months of age, half the gilts (36 animals) were regrouped with each other. At 11 months of age, all gifts in both treatments were slaughtered and the left rear foot from each was removed and collected for detailed studies of claw lesions. Lesions of the heel, transition heel/toe, white line, wall and toe and over-growth of the heel were assessed on the outer and inner digit. Blind scoring of claw lesions on a scale from 0 to 3 was carried out in laboratory conditions on cleaned claws. Body lesions were also blind-scored on a scale from 0 to 3 one week after the third regrouping.The results showed claw lesions on the soft and hard horn of the claws and significantly (p = 0.004) higher claw lesion score in RR gifts (0.40) than in NR gilts (0.23).It was concluded that as expected, regrouping gifts on concrete flooring resulted in both more numerous and more severe claw lesions than ungrouped gilts. Likewise, body lesion score was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in RR gilts (1.71) than NR gilts (0.46).It was also concluded that the proposed model could be a successful experimental design for challenging different risk factors, e.g. flooring and management, for development of claw lesions in pigs. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Authors/Creators:Olsson, Anne-Charlotte and Svendsen, Jörgen and Botermans, Jos and Bergsten, Christer
Title:An experimental model for studying claw lesions in growing female pigs
Series Name/Journal:Livestock science
Year of publishing :2016
Page range:58-63
Number of Pages:6
Associated Programs and Other Stakeholders:SLU/LTJ - Partnership Alnarp
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Accepted version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Agrovoc terms:animal welfare, sows, claws
Keywords:Sows, Claw lesions, Regrouping, Aggression, Flooring
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000370094300009
ID Code:14077
Faculty:LTV - Fakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:27 Feb 2017 14:06
Metadata Last Modified:09 Sep 2020 14:17

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