Bush foot - hoof rot - bumble feet

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Bush foot - hoof rot - bumble feet

Post by Koen » Wed May 04, 2016 11:35 am

In the past 6 litters I never encounter any problems with the hoofs of the piglets.
In the current 2 litters (13 piglets, 4 weeks old) five piglets have a swollen and infected hoof! The are on a thick bed of straw with free access outdoors. Sows get the same feed as other years.
It is always only on (half) hoof that is affected.
I treated them by disinfecting the foot regularly. The abcess is already disappearing in two cases but the hoof has not regrown yet.
The piglet general health, appetite and happiness is not affected by this.

Has anybody any experience with this? Will the hoof regrow or are this piglets for slaugther?


The Rushbury Pig
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Re: Bush foot - hoof rot - bumble feet

Post by The Rushbury Pig » Thu May 05, 2016 9:52 am

Hello there,

I'm afraid I don't have any experience of this problem and haven't heard of it as a common problem but I will ask around and see if anyone else has. It is strange that it is across two litters, I cannot think what might cause this.
Cheerio for now, Sam Jones :-)

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Re: Bush foot - hoof rot - bumble feet

Post by claire86 » Fri May 06, 2016 9:26 pm

Hi Koen,

Sam asked me to help out on this one so I'll try!

I have to say I haven't come across this in a pig but I see it very commonly in sheep, and doing a bit of research, it seems to be incredibly similar.

True 'Bush foot' or foot rot, is an infection of the foot, normally only involving the outer claw of a hind foot (the weight bearing claw). It begins as a superficial infection that will then track into the deeper tissues if not caught early. The bacterium involved (a fusiform bacterium, often Fusobacterium necrophorum, or (in sheep) Dichelobacter nodosus) gains access to the foot through penetrating wounds, cracks or disturbances in the foot/hoof junction. Unfortunately, it is highly contagious. It may be this reason that it has spread through so many of your litter but you need to try to find the inciting cause - a rough/stony area of ground, a patch of bad flooring or maybe even a biotin deficiency in the herd (check your breeding/boar, feed and water supplies).
It is a very painful condition and I would be encouraging you to initiate a course of antibiotics if possible, and consider anti-inflammatories. Because the infection tracks deep into the foot, you can end up with permanent damage to the internal structures which can then predispose to further infections or arthritis or potentially, lead to a pig that is chronically lame. The sooner the antibiotics are started, the better - in sheep I find oxytetracycline works well if caught early, otherwise penicillin/streptomycin, tylosin or in the worst cases, tilmicosin (VET ADMINISTRATION ONLY!!). In valuable animals (sheep) I have also operated on the severe cases by flushing the joint with saline and antibiotic solution. The disinfection you are currently doing will help with the surface infection but not the deeper infection.
As it is a group problem, it may also be worth considering a formalin or copper sulphate foot bath.
It is also important to clean and disinfect any areas the pigs go that you can clean and disinfect!

Unfortunately, in sheep, it can be hard to control and in some cases, euthanasia is the best option for the animal. However, if you say your piglets are bright happy and eating, there is no reason you can't try and treat!
In sheep there is a vaccine available against it but I don't know of one for pigs.

Hope this helps. If you have any pictures, it would be interesting to see them!


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