Pigs: Lameness (PB1148)

Treatment for Pig Lameness

Where any doubt exists over treatment or the pigs do not respond to the stockkeeper's care, a veterinary surgeon must be consulted immediately. Infections caused by injuries should also be treated under veterinary supervision.

The daily observation of stock must include the identification of any leg or foot problems. Pigs must be made to move around the pen, as lameness will not be seen if they are lying down.

Depending on the severity of the problem, lame pigs may need to be isolated from their pen mates. They should be housed in warm, draught-free pens with dry deep bedding. The floors of these pens should be dry, provide adequate grip and be free of steps and rough edges. It is essential to ensure that adequate feed and water are supplied and that the pigs can reach them.

Techniques such as foot bathing and paring may prove helpful for severe cases of lameness. Paring should be carried out by a skilled stockperson or veterinary surgeon.

Where lameness does occur, the pen should be examined for any rough or sharp edges that could have caused injury and repairs carried out as necessary.



Any injured, ailing or distressed pig should be treated without delay and veterinary advice sought when necessary. Provision must be made for the segregation and care of seriously sick and injured animals. When the lameness is so severe that a pig has to be destroyed on the farm, this should be done humanely, and, where possible, by a person who is experienced in both the technique and the equipment used for slaughtering pigs.


Further Information

For further advice and information on farm animal welfare

  • For advice on pig welfare and on any outbreak of disease consult your veterinary surgeon.

General advice on pig welfare may also be obtained from:

  • The State Veterinary Service (Local Animal Health Office address and telephone number in your local telephone directory)
  • Specialist consultants

Other publications available from Defra that may be of interest:

Copies of the above publications, together with a 14 minute video (ref.: V766) on Lameness in Farm Animals, can be obtained, free of charge (except the video which is available at £7 + VAT) from:

Defra Publications
London SW1A 2XX

Tel: 08459 556000

The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 can be viewed on-line at www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2000/20001870.htm

Printed copies (ISBN 0 11 099593 7, Price £3.00) are available from The Stationery Office Limited. Tel: 0870 600 5522 or contact any Stationary Office Bookshop/Agent.

Defra Publications Online: www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/publications/pubfrm.htm



(C) Crown copyright. Reproduced for ADLib under Licence.
Updated reprint October 1992. PB1148

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