Hoof lesions and lameness in sows in three Greek swine herds
Objectives: To characterize foot lesions, estimate their frequency and severity, and investigate their association with parity and lameness in three Greek farrow-to-finish swine herds. Materials and methods: The studied sows, which had been individually stalled during previous gestations, were examined for foot lesions upon entry into the lactation facilities. Lesions scored included heel hyperkeratinization, erosions or cracks, and toe and dew claw overgrowths. When exiting the farrowing facilities, the sows were observed while walking along an alley and their degree of lameness was scored. Results: The proportion of sows with at least one lesion on any foot was very high and similar among herds, with 121 of 125 (96.8%), 123 of 125 (98.4%), and 377 of 386 (97.7%) sows affected in herds A, B, and C, respectively. The most frequent lesions were those located on the heel, and overgrown toes and dew claws. For these sites, lesion severity increased with sow parity. The concurrent presence of lesions on more than one foot site, on the same or different feet or both, had a multiplicative effect on the likelihood of lameness. Implications: Under the conditions in the herds participating in this study, sow foot lesions are extremely common, with older sows more likely than younger sows to have lesions on the heel and overgrown toes and dew claws. The degree of lameness may be affected by a causal interface among foot lesions.