Osteoporosis, ricketts, Vit D deficiency

Osteoporosis is characterized by a lack of calcium, phosphorus, or vitamin D, which causes to have weak bones prone to fractures.


The incidence of this process is increased in modern swine production systems, especially in gilts whose skeleton is still growing and is having a high calcium demand for milk production, which results in bone demineralization. Since pigs are housed inside buildings, they have restricted access to the sun, which reduces the natural production of vitamin D.

Affected bones have a fairly normal structure but become thinner, especially in the dense parts and in the diaphysis of long bones. This increases the susceptibility to fractures.



Sows and fattening stage

  • Pain.
  • Sudden lameness.
  • Fracture of long bones.
  • Sudden death.

Lactating and nursing piglets

  • Rare.


Causes / Contributing Factors

  • It may be due to a diet with insufficient calcium or an imbalance between calcium and phosphorus.
  • Poor or inadequate dietary absorption.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Using a supplement of inactivated vitamin D, especially when the vitamin is purchased and stored for several months.
  • Errors in the formulation or mixture of diet.



  • It is based on clinical signs.
  • On farms with these problems, X-rays studies of bones of affected animals must be performed to differentiate osteomalacia from osteoporosis.
  • Levels of calcium and phosphorus may be normal.
  • Analysis of diets.
  • Histopathology.
  • Analysis of bones, especially of the 2nd rib.



  • In cases of bone fractures is better to cull the pig.
  • Increase exercise levels during gestation period, if possible.
  • Control levels of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in the diet.
  • Give oral supplement of Vitamin D to piglets at weaning.

Atlas of pathology

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