Umbilical outpouchings in Danish piglets and weaners: prevalence and clinical characteristics - a cross-sectional study at herd level

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Background: Umbilical outpouchings (UO) in pigs present a welfare concern because of ulceration risk and complications. Danish legislation requires pigs with larger UOs to be housed in sick pens with soft bedding, and some UO pigs might not be suited for transport. Because of this, many UO pigs are euthanized, adding to the costs of pig production. The true prevalence of UO is unknown as no scientific reports with randomly sampled herds exist. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of UO in Danish piglets and weaners and describe their clinical characteristics: size, texture, reducibility, and occurrence of ulcers. Lastly, risk factors for the occurrence of ulcers on UOs were investigated. Results: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 30 Danish conventional herds, with at least 800 weaned pigs and 200 sows. The herds were selected randomly from the Danish Husbandry Register and visited once between September 2020 and May 2021. Piglets were examined during their last week in the farrowing unit, and weaners were examined between weeks three and eight after weaning. The abdominal area was palpated on all pigs, and all irregularities were recorded; the results presented are umbilical outpouchings measuring at least 2 × 2 cm. The within-herd prevalence of piglets with UO averaged 4.2% with a range from 0.8 to 13.6% between herds. The within-herd prevalence of weaners with UO averaged 2.9%, ranging from 1.0 to 5.3% between herds. Approximately 80% of the UOs were classified as small or medium (< 7 cm piglets/ < 11cm weaners). Large outpouchings had significantly higher odds of ulcer occurrence (OR = 9.9, p < 0.001). Conclusion: UOs are common in Denmark, with a prevalence of 2.9% in weaners and an estimated annual production of 32 million Danish pigs almost a million pigs are affected yearly. Most of these pigs will have a small or medium UO. If the pigs have large UOs the odds of ulcer occurrence increase significantly. Numerous of these pigs are wasted, challenging sustainability and economy. UOs might also affect the welfare of the pigs. More research is therefore needed, especially in the prevention of UOs.

TidsskriftPorcine Health Management
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2024

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the Pig Levy Foundation. The funding body had no impact on study design, data collection/ analyses, interpretation, or manuscript writing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s).

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