Feet First® Makes Strides Toward Swine Lameness Prevention

Feet First® Makes Strides Toward Swine Lameness Prevention

Eight years of research and education boost industry efforts to improve swine wellness

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Sept. 27, 2016 – Basic questions about swine lameness prevalence and its impact on animal wellness and productivity were yet unanswered when Zinpro Corporation first spearheaded the Feet First® Program eight years ago, with international collaboration. Today, thanks in part to this industry-leading program, swine producers and practitioners around the world have a greater awareness of lameness and what can be done to help mitigate its effects on swine production systems. 

In the most recent episode of Experts Talk, two members of the Feet First team sat down to discuss what has been learned about swine lameness management and prevention as a result of the Feet First Program. 

“People are now much more aware that lameness is a problem,” noted Zach Rambo, Ph.D., swine research nutritionist, Zinpro Corporation, when asked about how Feet First has helped change the conversation around lameness. “Now, the conversation is drifting more toward, ‘What are the downstream impacts of lameness within a production system? How does it impact total system profitability? And what are some things that we can do to help mitigate its effects?’” 

Mark Wilson, Ph.D., swine reproductive physiologist, Zinpro Corporation, added that the interaction between lameness and decreased reproductive performance is now also better understood. “It’s important to recognize the connection between inflammation, lameness and reproduction,” said Dr. Wilson. “When there’s an inflammatory response to lameness, this impacts the production performance of that sow and actually decreases her reproductive capabilities.” 

According to Dr. Rambo, the area of gilt development is, and will continue to be, an extremely vital component of the Feet First Program. “Gilt development is very important for the long-term profitability of the system,” said Dr. Rambo. “If we only measured a sow system on pigs per sow, per year, we could miss the impact that a high percentage of pigs originating from gilt litters will have on that system. We know from research that progeny born to gilts are lighter at birth and have decreased wean-to-finish performance, lower average daily gains and greater mortality.” 

Since its introduction in 2008, the Feet First Program has focused on the identification and prevention of swine lameness. Led by an international team of industry experts, the program has concentrated on locomotion scoring, lesion identification, gilt development and management, reproductive implications, nutrition and other factors that may contribute to lameness. 

Experts Talk is an award-winning online video series, sponsored by Zinpro Corporation, which features one-on-one discussions with leading authorities on foot health and lameness prevention for multiple species. Each episode features a different expert who discusses topics ranging from lameness detection to treating claw lesions to best management practices for lameness prevention. To learn more, visit the Experts Talk video library at zinpro.com.

This press release is also available in the following languages: Español (Castilian Spanish) and Español (Latin American Spanish).

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