Shoulder Ulcers in Sows

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Thin sows lying on hard floors in farrowing or gestation crates may develop ulcers over the spine of the scapula. Contributing factors include poor body condition, lack of adequate bedding or mats, prolonged recumbency while farrowing or nursing piglets, high humidity or wetness (often from coolers used during hot months), and reduced activity because of confinement. Lesions develop and are more severe during the three weeks after farrowing. The ulcers are the result of pressure ischemia leading to skin necrosis over the spine of the scapula. Control measures including maintaining a higher level of conditioning (fat) in sows and assuring crates are of adequate size to allow frequent repositioning.