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Research article2008Peer reviewedOpen access

Post mortem findings in sows and gilts euthanised or found dead in a large Swedish herd

Engblom, Linda; Eliasson-Selling, Lena; Lundeheim, Nils; Belak, Katinka; Andersson, Kjell; Dalin, Anne-Marie


Background: The aim of this study was to get information on post mortem diagnoses of sows found dead or euthanised and to understand the diagnoses aetiology (causative background). Moreover, the study was to evaluate the association between the clinical symptoms observed on farm and post mortem findings.Methods: A large Swedish herd was studied from January to September 2006. During the 32-week period 3.9% of the removed sows and gilts (old enough to be mated) were found dead, 12.0% were euthanised and the rest were sent to slaughter. Of 32 sows/gilts found dead 17 (53%) were post mortem examined, and of 98 sows euthanised 79 (81%) were examined. The 96 examined carcasses were after 70 sows and 26 gilts. The findings at examination were together with data from the herd monitoring program PigWin Sugg the base for the descriptive statistics presented.Results: The average parity number at removal was 2.8 for those found dead and 2.1 for those euthanised. The highest number euthanised and found dead was in parity 0 (gilts). The main proportion of post mortem examinations was made on sows being in the period = 28 d of gestation at death (37.5%), followed by weaning to next service period (24.0%). Arthritis, with an incidence of 36.4% was the most common main finding of pathological-anatomical diagnosis (PAD). Of sows/ gilts found dead were circulatory/cardiac failure (23.5%) and trauma related injuries (23.5%) most common PAD. The most commonly observed clinical symptom and reason for euthanasia of the sows/gilts was lameness. Notably, in 43% of the cases with PAD arthritis, the clinical symptoms suggested it being a fracture. Further one or more abscesses (38.5%) and teeth injuries (31.0%) were common findings when also incidental findings were included.Conclusion: This post mortem study based on carcasses from sows/gilts found dead or euthanised showed that arthritis was a significant problem in the studied herd and that post mortem examination was important to get proper diagnosis.

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2008, Volume: 50, article number: 25