The impact of elbow and knee joint lesions on abnormal gait and posture of sows
Rikke K Kirk1,3, Bente Jørgensen2 and Henrik E Jensen1
1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, Tjele, Denmark
3Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Nordisk Park, 2760 Maaloev, Denmark
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2008, 50:5. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0).
Joint lesions occur widespread in the Danish sow population and they are the most frequent cause for euthanasia. Clinically, it is generally impossible to differentiate between various types of non-inflammatory joint lesions. Consequently, it is often necessary to perform a post mortem examination in order to diagnose these lesions. A study was performed in order to examine the relation of abnormal gait and posture in sows with specific joint lesions, and thereby obtaining a clinical diagnostic tool, to be used by farmers and veterinarians for the evaluation of sows with joint problems.
The gait, posture and lesions in elbow- and knee joints of 60 randomly selected sows from one herd were scored clinically and pathologically. Associations between the scorings were estimated.
The variables 'fore- and hind legs turned out' and 'stiff in front and rear' were associated with lesions in the elbow joint, and the variables 'hind legs turned out' and 'stiff in rear' were associated with lesions in the knee joint.
It was shown that specified gait and posture variables reflected certain joint lesions. However, further studies are needed to strengthen and optimize the diagnostic tool.