Week of 24-Nov-2017

This sow has been weaned 2 weeks ago and has this lesion on the shoulder. What is the most likely cause of this lesion?



Correct answer

Shoulder sores on sows are not common, but they can occur from time to time, the most likely stage for them to develop is during the first two weeks in the farrowing house. The sores can vary from small red patches on the skin, to wounds of up to 10 cm in diameter. Various factors can lead to the development of shoulder sores, with poor sow condition and prolonged lying periods on hard floors during lactation being the main contributors. 

Sores are caused by pressure compressing the blood vessels supplying the skin and tissues covering the shoulder blade, this interrupts the blood flow causing tissue damage and the formation of lesions. These are different from other skin wounds resulting from causes such as fighting, and need different treatment. 

The best method of prevention is good management, however if sores do develop, interventions must be put in place immediately; these include fitting a mat in the crate or moving the sow to a more spacious pen with soft bedding.

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