Date Full Report Received12/10/2012
Date Abstract Report Received12/10/2012
Funded ByIowa Pork Producers Association
Lameness associated with painful joint lesions has been identified as a welfare challenge for confined sows. It has been ranked as the number 3 reason for culling sows, comprising 15% of the culls marketed in the U.S. Producers in the U.S. currently treat sow lameness using husbandry tools, for example hoof trimming, housing sows individually to provide easy access to key resources and rubber mats. However, there are no analgesic drugs approved for use in swine by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Behavior is one potential tool that can be used on farm to identify sows that are in varying stages of lameness. Previous work has indicated that lame sows spend less time standing and feeding than sound sows. The objective of this study was to identify changes in a sows’ behavior when sound and over transient states of lameness when offered drug treatments. Sows by nature are fairly inactive mammals, in this study; sows were inactive for around ~60% of the time that behavior was collected (0600 to 1800-h). Therefore, using inactive and active patterns for sows, particularly those kept in more confined systems may not be a useful indicator when trying to assess how well a sow is doing when acute or chronically lame. Sow maintenance behaviors (eating and drinking) might be a more sensitive lameness tool. Sows choose not to be up right and weight bearing on a lame foot on the most painful days. Flunixin treated sows over the drug treatment days spent less time near the drinker compared to the other two treatments but visited more often. Looking at this small study, flunixin seems to have had more effects on the sows maintenance behaviors compared to sodium salicylate and so this seems like an intuitive target drug to consider further.