How Trimming Pig Hooves Helps in the Prevention of Swine Lameness

The effect of lameness on animal welfare
and animal performance is costly and wide-reaching. Whether you’re a
large-scale livestock operator or a family pet owner, the sign of an animal
in pain is distressing and must be addressed. To shed new light on this
important issue Zinpro Corporation is proud to sponsor Experts Talk. The place
where leading authorities on foot health and lameness prevention share their
expertise. This episode of Experts Talk examines claw trimming in sows as a
method to manage lameness. Our expert today is Dr. Robert Dove. Dr. Dove is an
Associate Professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science at the University of Georgia where he
teaches multiple animal science classes and conducts research. When we went to
group housing now we have sows that have to get up and walk every day, they
have to go to the feeder, they have to go get water, they have to protect
themselves from that dominant sow, they have to be able to move much easier, much
better to maintain their productivity. We know that lameness and feet like
problems are one of the leading causes of culling in most of our commercial herds.
Some research indicates that maybe as many as half the gilts that we
cull from a commercial herd or cull because they can’t walk. One, I think we
make the sows much easier to move they’re going to move a little quicker
potentially, but just simply the ease and getting the sows to move from barn to
barn, location to location has to be a big plus for him because it makes his
life easier. Secondly, from a management standpoint we’re decreasing the number
of gilts we have to bring into the herd, means we don’t have to manage as many
gilts, means we’re using getting more productivity out of the sows that we
have, we decrease our culling rate … all of those things or things that a lot of our
managers get paid for so I think that would be an incentive as well. In our study we we were looking at a number
of sows that had long claws and we were looking at what effect trimming those
claws had on their locomotion, and to do this we set up a couple of high-speed
cameras and we videoed them as they walk through a defined track so that we could
very accurately measure things like how long a step they were taking, how long
they were standing on three feet versus two feet within each step, how long they
were moving the foot versus how long they were standing on the foot within
each stride and then we also captured some video from the rear that just
simply allowed us to look at how she was walking how she was tracking. And we were able to show some
significant changes in how she locomotion down the track after we
trimmed her versus before we trimmed her. We can see changes almost with well
within that hour in how she walked and by 48 hours later there were significant
changes in the way she moved her stride length was about the same a little
longer, her stance time or how long she was standing on each foot tended to
shortened down a little bit, how long she was swinging the feet were shortened
down so she was moving faster calculation is that she’s probably
moving another meter and a half a minute, so we’re moving her down the hall that
much quicker, but more importantly you could just see by the way she was
walking that she was much more comfortable, she she seemed to be much
happier moving, much easier to move, much easier to handle after we got her feet
trimmed. I think you’re going to have to have a
chute of some kind to trim claws. You’ve got to get those feet up where you can
get to them … the Feet First Chute works very well for doing that whether the
claws have gotten overgrown, whether we bruised one and it’s misshapen … whatever
by trimming those up and put bringing them back to the proper shape we allow
her to walk properly, we reduce stress on the joints and the hips and the
shoulders. I believe that in a lot of herds it’s
going to be a very useful management tool and I think it’s going to be one
that would pay for itself given the number of gilts that we’re going to save
back or the number of sows that we’re going to save back and avoid having to
replace gilts. I think from an animal welfare standpoint it’s going to become
one of those things that we’re going to have to start being responsible and
doing. For more information on the Feet First Swine lameness management
program visit Thank you for watching this episode of Experts Talk.
Additional episodes are available at Experts Talk promoting foot
health. preventing lameness.

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