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Identification of risk factors and strategies for reducing sow mortality
DCA rapport, nr. 97, 2017

Af Jan Tind Sørensen og Rikke Thomsen

A dead sow represents an economic loss for the farmer and it may indicate compromised animal welfare in the sow herd. This review of literature find a decreasing sow mortality in Denmark during the last seven years. However, sow mortality is still high when compared to other countries and needs to be further reduced. The dead sows fall into two equally sized groups, unassisted dead sows and euthanized sows. The dominant reason for euthanasia of a sow is leg problems. The reason for unassisted death is often not known. Euthanized sows are typically found in the loose housing unit for pregnant sows, in the farrowing unit or in a sick pen. A major part of the unassisted dead sows was found in the farrowing unit. When examined by means of a necropsy the cause of unassisted death is mainly due to heart problems, torsion of organs and farrowing complications. Identified risk factors for sow mortality include: hot summers, solid floor in the gestation unit combined with poor hygiene. Large variation between herds indicates the importance of management in preventing sow mortality.

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