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FEET FIRST SEMINAR: Spain

The latest developments about claw lesion problems in sows and gilts are presented at a Iberian tour of Feet First seminars, organised by Zinpro Performance Minerals. Pig Progress editor Vincent ter Beek attended one session of the series in Spain.

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  • Zaragoza, in the heart of the Spanish pig production area of Aragon, just south of the Pyrenees, was one of the cities in which the Feet First seminar was organised.

    Zaragoza, in the heart of the Spanish pig production area of Aragon, just south of the Pyrenees, was one of the cities in which the Feet First seminar was organised.

  • About 100 delegates, mainly from the veterinary industry, showed up at the sessions at the University of Zaragoza's veterinary faculty.

    About 100 delegates, mainly from the veterinary industry, showed up at the sessions at the University of Zaragoza's veterinary faculty.

  • Prof Dr John Deen, University of Minnesota, was the first speaker, introducing the latest facts and figures around sow management - and analysed questions as to why sows are culled prematurely - culling some may improve a farm's productivity figures, but may impede its total piglet production.

    Prof Dr John Deen, University of Minnesota, was the first speaker, introducing the latest facts and figures around sow management - and analysed questions as to why sows are culled prematurely - culling some may improve a farm's productivity figures, but may impede its total piglet production.

  • Sows reaching up to seven parities should not be an exception, Deen said. In order to allow more sows to produce more litters, scrutinising the reasons for culling sows is important. He said the reasons mentioned above pave the way for success, but apply to only 10% of all sow cullings. Hence, 90% of removals is 'unsuccessful', adding that many sows are culled too young after being wrongly diagnosed.

    Sows reaching up to seven parities should not be an exception, Deen said. In order to allow more sows to produce more litters, scrutinising the reasons for culling sows is important. He said the reasons mentioned above pave the way for success, but apply to only 10% of all sow cullings. Hence, 90% of removals is 'unsuccessful', adding that many sows are culled too young after being wrongly diagnosed.

  • Next, Dr Mark Wilson, reproductive physiologist, Zinpro, zoomed in on the theme of lameness in sows - and how Zinpro's trace mineral product Availa Sow can step up sow feet strength.

    Next, Dr Mark Wilson, reproductive physiologist, Zinpro, zoomed in on the theme of lameness in sows - and how Zinpro's trace mineral product Availa Sow can step up sow feet strength.

  • Age does not matter, Wilson said: Tests with bone tissue from gilts and sows from different parities up showed that sows can maintain storage capacity for e.g. copper and zinc through to up to even seven parities.

    Age does not matter, Wilson said: Tests with bone tissue from gilts and sows from different parities up showed that sows can maintain storage capacity for e.g. copper and zinc through to up to even seven parities.

  • Prof Sarel Van Amstel, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, then gave an explanation about the interior of sow feet. He said that most feet lesions happen at the outside hoofs of a sow's hind legs. Hind legs carry the most pressure as they propel the animal.

    Prof Sarel Van Amstel, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, then gave an explanation about the interior of sow feet. He said that most feet lesions happen at the outside hoofs of a sow's hind legs. Hind legs carry the most pressure as they propel the animal.

  • Dr Christof Rapp, research nutritionist, Zinpro, then reminded the audience that leg problems in sows can be prevented by paying attention to new gilts to be used in group housing.

    Dr Christof Rapp, research nutritionist, Zinpro, then reminded the audience that leg problems in sows can be prevented by paying attention to new gilts to be used in group housing.

  • Young gilts should be firm on their legs, according to certain 'ideal' situations, he explained. One example is presented above.

    Young gilts should be firm on their legs, according to certain 'ideal' situations, he explained. One example is presented above.

  • Last but not least, Prof Van Amstel moved into the faculty's necropsy room to show some examples of sow feet from breeding animals that had been culled five days earlier, due to bad legs. He said that this sow suffered from strong heel exposure.

    Last but not least, Prof Van Amstel moved into the faculty's necropsy room to show some examples of sow feet from breeding animals that had been culled five days earlier, due to bad legs. He said that this sow suffered from strong heel exposure.

  • Another example, showing an severe but untreated inflammation. Van Amstel added that it is difficult to treat this kind of problem in commercial herds.

    Another example, showing an severe but untreated inflammation. Van Amstel added that it is difficult to treat this kind of problem in commercial herds.

  • Horn cracks or infections, be it vertical or horizontal, may impact a sow's performance, depending on their severity. This is an example of a big crack that probably caused a sow much pain...

    Horn cracks or infections, be it vertical or horizontal, may impact a sow's performance, depending on their severity. This is an example of a big crack that probably caused a sow much pain...

  • ...as the crack can also clearly be seen on the inside. Some horn cracks or fissures simply do not go down to the corium or basement membrane, which means the animal will not have felt any pain.

    ...as the crack can also clearly be seen on the inside. Some horn cracks or fissures simply do not go down to the corium or basement membrane, which means the animal will not have felt any pain.

  • This slide provides a cross section of the pig feet, dividing it into bone, sub cutis, corium, basement membrane and the epidermis. The corium and the basement membrane are the critical structures for horn formation. The horn or epidermis consists of cells that have undergone 'programmed death' as he called it. Van Amstel devised and introduced a claw trimming programme, consisting of five steps.

    This slide provides a cross section of the pig feet, dividing it into bone, sub cutis, corium, basement membrane and the epidermis. The corium and the basement membrane are the critical structures for horn formation. The horn or epidermis consists of cells that have undergone 'programmed death' as he called it. Van Amstel devised and introduced a claw trimming programme, consisting of five steps.

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