Epidemiologic study of decubital ulcers in sows

Peter R. Davies From the Department of Food Animal and Equine Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Davies, Deen), and the Department of Animal Science (Morrow, Miller), North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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 BVSc, PhD
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W. E. Morgan Morrow From the Department of Food Animal and Equine Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Davies, Deen), and the Department of Animal Science (Morrow, Miller), North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Dale C. Miller From the Department of Food Animal and Equine Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Davies, Deen), and the Department of Animal Science (Morrow, Miller), North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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John Deen From the Department of Food Animal and Equine Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Davies, Deen), and the Department of Animal Science (Morrow, Miller), North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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 DVM, PhD

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Objective

To determine prevalence and risk factors for decubital ulcers of the shoulder in sows.

Design

Descriptive cross-sectional study.

Sample population

All females of breeding age in a large confinement swine facility.

Procedure

1,916 females were examined for lesions of the skin over the tuber of the spine of the scapula and for body condition scoring. Observational data were combined with sow data (parity, date of farrowing, litter size) contained in computerized records.

Results

Decubital ulcers were observed in 8.3% of females, predominantly lactating sows. Ulcer prevalence was strongly associated with time after farrowing. Lesions apparently healed rapidly after weaning. Ulcer prevalence was associated with low body condition scores, but was not associated with parity.

Implications

Decubital ulcers are a multifactorial condition. Housing on concrete floors per se did not result in ulcers. Prolonged recumbency during parturition, reduced activity in early lactation, periparturient illness, thin body condition, moist skin, and floor type are potential risk factors. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1058–1062)

Objective

To determine prevalence and risk factors for decubital ulcers of the shoulder in sows.

Design

Descriptive cross-sectional study.

Sample population

All females of breeding age in a large confinement swine facility.

Procedure

1,916 females were examined for lesions of the skin over the tuber of the spine of the scapula and for body condition scoring. Observational data were combined with sow data (parity, date of farrowing, litter size) contained in computerized records.

Results

Decubital ulcers were observed in 8.3% of females, predominantly lactating sows. Ulcer prevalence was strongly associated with time after farrowing. Lesions apparently healed rapidly after weaning. Ulcer prevalence was associated with low body condition scores, but was not associated with parity.

Implications

Decubital ulcers are a multifactorial condition. Housing on concrete floors per se did not result in ulcers. Prolonged recumbency during parturition, reduced activity in early lactation, periparturient illness, thin body condition, moist skin, and floor type are potential risk factors. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1058–1062)

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