The Genetic and Non-Genetic Aspects of Leg Weakness and Osteochondrosis in Pigs - Review -

  • Fukawa, K. (Central Research Institute for Feed and Livestock) ;
  • Kusuhara, S. (Faculty of Agriculture, Niigata University)
  • Published : 2001.01.01


Leg weakness in pigs is one of the most serious problems in the pig industry. Leg weakness is responsible for an increase in the rate of culling of breeding pigs, which results in economic loss in the pig industry. Many researchers have investigated the cause of leg weakness, and that of osteochondrosis, in pigs, as well as in other mammals. For evaluating leg weakness, subjective scoring criteria have been applied, but the scoring systems varied widely. Subjective scoring systems have also been used in evaluating osteochondrosis lesions in leg joints. The lesions were scored optically, radiographically and histologically. Leg weakness and osteochondrosis are to some extent heritable traits. The heritability of leg weakness and joint lesion scores was found to range from 0.01 to 0.42. Leg weakness and osteochondrosis are associated with production traits (lean percentage and back fat depth). Nutritional aspects of leg weakness and osteochondrosis have also been extensively studied. Although the energy level of the diet may affect leg weakness and osteochondrosis, other nutritional factors seem to have very little effect. Confinement conditions also have an effect on leg weakness and osteochondrosis. Although studied extensively, the cause and etiology of leg weakness and osteochondrosis remain uncertain. It could be that there are multiple causes of leg weakness.


Leg Weakness;Osteochondrosis;Heritability;Pigs;Nutrition

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