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Shoulder Sores

Background and history

They arise due to constant trauma over the bony prominences on the shoulder blade. Ultimately the skin breaks, there is an erosion and a large sore develops. It is associated with totally slatted flooring and individual sows that have a prominent spine to the shoulder blade. It is first noticed in the farrowing crates where the floors are slippery and the sow has difficulty in rising, thus constantly bruising her shoulder. Such sows should not be kept for future breeding.

Clinical signs

Sows

  • Highest point of the spine a reddening of the skin appears, which gradually forms into an ulcer.
  • In severe cases the lesion may extend to 40 - 70mm in diameter with the development of extensive granulation tissue.
  • Often both sides of the shoulder are affected.

Diagnosis

This is based on the clinical signs of ulcerated shoulders.

Causes

  • They are associated with totally slatted flooring and individual sows that are too thin and have a prominent spine to the shoulder blade.
  • First noticed in the farrowing crates where the floors are slippery.
  • The sow has difficulty in rising, thus constantly bruising her shoulder.

Treatment

  • As soon as the condition appears move the sow into a well bedded pen. Feed ad lib for 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Cut a hole slightly larger than the sore in a 70mm square piece of foam or thick carpet and place over the shoulder sore. Hold it in place with contact adhesive such as evostik. This pad will then protect the sore and allow it to heal.
  • Large granuloma that sometimes develop can be surgically removed.
  • Watch for cannibalism by sucking pigs. If this occurs wean the sow.