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TDK conference 2015

Data on teat necrosis in newborn piglets
Krizsán János - year 5
SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Anatomy and Histology
Supervisor: Attila Mihály Kertész DVM


Teat necrosis in newborn piglets becomes evident 8–12 hours after birth. It usually involves the thoracic, first two pairs of teats but may occur on the fourth and fifth teat pairs as well. The initial signs are a slight reddening or a yellowish discoloration and paleness of the parts between the tip and the base of the teats. This is followed by rapid necrosis manifesting itself in the appearance of a brownish or black crust on days 2–4. On days 8–9 the necrotic part is sloughed off, which results in a shortening of the teat the extent of which depends on the severity of necrosis, and a healing surface becomes visible. If affected female piglets are subsequently used for breeding, the above-described pathoanatomical change will result in shorter teats, “pin teats”, teat sphincter insufficiency, or non-functional, ‘blind’ teats. The prevalence of teat necrosis in pig herds may be as high as 20–80%, which is a source of substantial economic loss in the production of high-quality breeding gilts.

According to relevant data of the literature, the risk factors predisposing for the development of teat necrosis include the following: rough floor surface that causes injuries to piglets during suckling, lack of bedding, heated concrete floor, too small litters, and endogenous or exogenous oestrogenic effects causing teat swelling. The endogenous oestrogen effect has been associated with the elevated oestrogen levels of sows at farrowing, which is even more pronounced if synchronised farrowing is practised. The exogenous oestrogen effect is attributed to the presence of the mycotoxin zearalenone (F2 toxin) in the feed of sows.

The results of our study can be summarised as follows: (1) teat necrosis of newborn piglets may occur with all floor types but not at the same rate; (2) the problem occurs with identical frequency in male and female piglets (there is no statistically significant difference between sexes); (3) there is no breed predilection (there is no statistically significant difference between breeds); (4) the synchronisation of farrowing in sows does not have a role in inducing the problem (there is no statistically significant difference); (5) in our study the role of zearalenone could be excluded; (6) litter size does not have an influence on the occurrence of teat necrosis (there is no statistically significant difference); (7) more common occurrence of teat necrosis is associated with the more severe form, i.e. necrosis extending to the fourth and fifth teat pairs; (8) the type of floor plays the decisive role in the occurrence of teat necrosis in newborn piglets; (9) the so-called ‘piglet-drying powder’ sprinkled on the floor in moderate amounts in the first 2–3 days after birth can substantially reduce the incidence of teat necrosis, in our case from 49 percent to 8 percent.

We have also performed histological examinations to study the lesions.

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