The influence of floor type before and after 10 weeks of age on osteochondrosis in growing gilts

D.B. de Koning, E.M. van Grevenhof, B.F.A. Laurenssen, P.R. van Weeren, W. Hazeleger, B. Kemp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Osteochondrosis (OC) is a degenerative joint condition developing in a short time frame in young growing gilts that may cause lameness at an older age, affecting welfare and leading to premature culling of breeding sows. Causes of OC are multifactorial including both genetic and environmental factors. Floor type has been suggested to affect OC prevalence and effects might be age dependent during the rearing period. The aim of this study was to investigate possible age-dependent effects of floor type, conventional concrete partially slatted versus wood shavings as deep bedding, on OC prevalence in gilts (Dutch Large White × Dutch Landrace) at slaughter (24 wk of age; 106.5 [14.7 SD] kg of BW). At weaning (4 wk of age; 6.9 [1.3 SD] kg of BW), 212 gilts were subjected to 1 of 4 flooring regimens. Gilts were either subjected to a conventional floor from weaning until slaughter (CC), wood shavings as bedding from weaning until slaughter (WW), a conventional floor from weaning until 10 wk of age after which gilts were switched to wood shavings as bedding (CW), or wood shavings as bedding from weaning until 10 wk of age after which gilts were switched to a conventional floor (WC). After slaughter the elbow, hock, and knee joints were macroscopically examined for OC and scored on a 5 point scale where 0 indicates no OC and 4 indicates the severest form of OC. There was no significant difference (P > 0.4) between treatments on the overall OC prevalence for any joint assessed or at the animal level (all joints combined). At the animal level, however, gilts had greater odds to have OC scores 3 and 4 in the CW treatment (odds ratios [OR] = 2.3; P = 0.05), WC treatment (OR = 2.6; P = 0.02), and WW treatment (OR = 3.7; P <0.001) compared with gilts in the CC treatment. The results indicate that there are no age-dependent effects of floor types on overall OC prevalence. However, wood shavings as bedding seems to increase the odds for severe OC and might affect animal welfare in the long term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3338-3347
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume92
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • different coping characteristics
  • leg weakness
  • finishing pigs
  • growth-rate
  • genetic-parameters
  • epiphyseal growth
  • production traits
  • stocking density
  • claw disorders
  • behavior

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