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A cross-sectional study on the prevalence and risk factors for foot and limb lesions in piglets on commercial farms in Ireland
- Quinn, A.J., Boyle, L.A., KilBride, A.L., Green, L.E.
- Preventive veterinary medicine 2015 v.119 no.3-4 pp. 162-171
- alopecia, commercial farms, cross-sectional studies, environmental factors, feet, floors, livestock and meat industry, piglets, questionnaires, regression analysis, risk factors, risk reduction, Ireland
- A cross-sectional survey of 68 integrated Irish pig farms was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors for foot and limb lesions in 2948 piglets from 272 litters. One litter was selected per age category; 3–7 days, 8–14 days, 15–21 days and 22–28 days per farm. All piglets were examined for sole bruising, sole erosion, coronary band injuries, limb abrasions, alopecia, swollen limbs and swollen feet and scored from 0 to 3 based on relative size. Environmental parameters were recorded for each litter examined. A questionnaire was completed on management, health and performance factors for each farm. The overall prevalence of each lesion was calculated and multilevel mixed effect logistic regression models were used to elucidate risk factors. The prevalence (farm range) of lesions were: sole bruising=61.5% (7–100%), sole erosion=34.1% (0–100%), coronary band injuries=11.3% (0–46%), limb abrasions=55.7% (11–98%), alopecia=24.8% (0–83%), swollen limbs=2.4% (0–11%) and swollen feet=4.4% (0–14%). Age was negatively associated with sole bruising (OR 0.42; CI 0.37, 0.50) and coronary band injury (OR 0.69; CI 0.60, 0.81) and positively associated with limb abrasions (OR 1.54; CI 1.12, 2.14). There was a reduced risk of sole bruising in piglets in pens with plastic slats with oval voids in the piglet area of the pen with a plastic solid area for piglets and metal slats under the crate (OR 0.32; CI 0.15, 0.70) compared with plastic stats throughout and a plastic solid area for piglets. There was an increased risk of sole erosion (OR 1.81; CI 1.07, 3.09) and foot and limb swellings (OR 1.90; CI 1.01, 3.57) in pigs in pens with metal slats only and a solid plastic area for piglets compared with plastic stats throughout and a solid plastic area for piglets. There was an increased risk of coronary band injury in pens with metal slats throughout and a metal solid area for piglets (OR 4.25; CI 1.96, 3.57) compared with plastic stats throughout and a plastic solid area for piglets. We conclude no single floor type was ideal for piglet foot and limb health with all floors influencing different lesions in different ways, however, the positive association between sole erosions, coronary band injury and foot and limb swellings and metal slats suggest that this floor type was most detrimental and most likely to be associated with joint infections that lead to severe health and welfare concerns.