Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2549



Summary and Implications

Lameness has been incorrectly labeled as a “cow and not a sow” concern, and this has possibly arisen due to the majority of sows being far more stationary over their productive lifetime compared to dairy cows. Therefore, the objectives of this study were record hoof lesion frequency, proportion, type and severity from sows housed in gestation stalls during a one month period. A total of 30 sows were used (Yorkshire [n = 3], Duroc [n = 14] and Yorkshire x Duroc crosses [n = 13]). All sows were individually housed in stalls that had concrete flooring and manure fell into a holding pit. Sows were feed at 0600 h once a day a commercially available ground feed. Caretakers observed all sows twice daily, at 0600 h and 1600 h. Hoof lesion and severity was scored (medial and lateral toes, dew claws and the sole) and recorded once a week by a single observer using the FeetFirst lesion scoring guide produced by the FeetFirst™ Team. Lesion severity was scored as, one (mild), two (moderate) and three (severe) which occurred on any anatomical area of the hoof (toes, dew claw, heel and sole). Lesion severity scores was reported numerically (actual number of hooves involved) and presented as a proportion of the total number of hooves in the study. Lesion type was defined as toe growth, dew claw, heel overgrowth and erosion, heel sole crack, white line, cracked wall horizontal and cracked wall vertical (FeetFirst™ Team, 2009). Lesion type was reported numerically (actual number of hooves) and presented as a frequency and proportion of the total number of hooves in the study. On average, 50.8 % of the sows had at least one hoof lesion. Lesion severity was predominantly categorized as a level one (mild). The most common lesion type was cracked wall vertical. There were a greater percentage of recorded lesions on the hooves from parity two sows compared to parity three and parity one sows over the weeks measured, but these frequencies were not significantly different (P > 0.05). In conclusion, it is important for producers to closely monitor parity two sows for hoof lesions, as they seem to be at a higher risk for obtaining lesions.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University