Why is it measured?
Shoulder lesions are likely to be painful, are usually present for a prolonged period and often recur. They indicate that aspects of housing, feeding or management of the sow are suboptimal, that levels of comfort are poor and suggest the presence of a long term welfare issue. Poor body condition, affected by food and water availability and feeding strategy, and factors which increase lying times such as illness and lameness may increase the risk of shoulder lesions. Prolonged lying on hard floors can affect shoulder lesions and there is an increased risk in sows housed on slatted floors compared with those housed on solid concrete floors with bedding.
How to assess and score using the AssureWel measure
| Shoulder lesions (Dry sows) Individual measure
||Stand near the animal and visually assess one side only for shoulder lesions. Typical shoulder lesions are round rather than scrape marks which are more indicative of fighting or treading.
0 None =
1 Mild =
2 Severe =
No skin damage on the shoulder;
Grazed or broken skin or swelling on the shoulder;
Grazed or broken skin or swelling on the shoulder <5x5cm;
Or deep tissue injury − these may also need to be recorded under ‘Pigs needing further care’.
| Record if too dirty to assess.