Atlas of pathology
Where: skin and subcutaneous tissue
This lesion is suggestive of an abscess inside the foot of the pig – this is also known as septic laminitis or bush foot. Over a week or so, the affected foot becomes noticeably larger and hot and painful. The swollen foot and hoof eventually forms a dry abscess and bloody ulcers just above the hoof. Affected sows often remain lame, do not eat properly and are usually culled. This can be a common problem in some farms, where larger, heavy pigs may stand their hoof in dirty areas of manure in pens. If there is any crack or opening in a toe in the foot, then this leads to contamination of the inner part of the toe hoof with bacteria from the environment. These are not specific bacteria, but a range of E coli and many others present in manure and environmental materials. Once they enter, these bacteria will then grow inside the hoof area and form an abscess, which will swell and burst just above and around the hoof. The condition is more likely where the floors or slats are old and rough, as this will abrade and damage the toes, and so open up foot cracks and openings. Other conditions that may appear similar include foot and mouth disease, physical injury, joint ill.