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Photo of Joint-ill in piglets and its consequences for production losses in the grower-finisher herd

Steve Dunkley

Head of Knowledge Exchange (Interim)

AHDB Pork KE

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Joint-ill in piglets and its consequences for production losses in the grower-finisher herd

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Research partner: University of Cambridge

Industrial partner: AHDB Pork

Duration: 2007 

Aims and objectives

To establish whether animals treated for joint-ill as piglets suffer recurrence of joint problems in later life, or if cases observed later in life are actually new cases with a different cause. 

Findings to date

  • The results of studies on two 500 sow units and a 5,000 pig finisher unit showed a higher proportion of piglets which suffered joint-ill were affected by lameness as finishers
  • Plastic slatted, raised farrowing crates reduced the amount of piglet joint-ill compared with concrete crates and piglets with skin wounds were more likely to become lame with joint-ill (hock and ear-biting wounds being particularly important)
  • The same types of environmental bacteria were found in the joints of lame piglets and finishers indicating that contamination of wounds is commonly associated with lameness in both ages of pig

The results of this study demonstrate the importance of controlling joint infections in piglets in order to reduce the risk of lameness in finisher pigs.