Changes in swine gait over time related to growth, soundness, or trimming
Tinkle, Amanda Kate
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Gait analysis is a common method to obtain quantitative measures of movement. In pigs, it is unknown how much training to the mat is needed to provide quality gait data. In the first study, thirty-three, 68 kg grower pigs were used to study the effect of a week of training on gait parameters. The results of this study showed that while improvement occurred during the week, the weekend was long enough for the pigs to regress in their training. The studies of gait in swine have been limited to studying lameness. Studies are also needed to look at how sound animals move to set parameters that are desired for gait quality. In the second study, thirty-three pigs were recorded every 23 kg from 23 kg to 136 kg to observe if any parameters are predictive across the weights. None of the parameters were maintained, but swing was closest to being steady, which reflects what is seen in horses. Functional trimming has been shown to be beneficial to sow gait qualities. Blunt trimming has not been studied, even though it is easier to perform than functional trimming. In the third study, blunt and functional trimming were compared on nineteen sows to see if the benefits of functional trimming can be seen with blunt trimming. In the end, blunt trimming did not provide the improvements that functional trimming does, but trimming dewclaws did seem to provide some benefits to the sow’s gait quality. Another method of preventing lameness is to feed minerals to strengthen claws from the inside. Organic minerals have been shown to have a higher absorption and retention compared to inorganic minerals. In the final study, 70 gilts were spilt into two groups, with one group being the control and the other receiving a supplementation of amino acid mineral-complex from nursery through the second parity. During both gestations, the sows were brought in and gait analysis was performed along with measurements of claw and dewclaw lengths. Production data was collected for both parities. The amino acid mineral-complex was shown to benefit sows by preventing gait changes that occurred between first and second parity.