“Sex” and body region effects on bone mineralization in male pigs

Bernau, Maren; Schrott, Juliane; Schwanitz, Sebastian; Kreuzer, Lena Sophie; Scholz, Armin Manfred

Lameness in pigs is one of the major reasons for culling and early losses in pigs. This can be linked to osteoporosis due to pathologic alterations in bone mineral density (BMD) or bone mineral content (BMC) and may also be linked to the sex. Dealing with the ban on piglet castration without anaesthesia in Germany 2021, we have three male “sex” types: entire boars (EB), immunocastrated boars (IB), and surgically castrated boars (SB). The hypothesis of the present study is that BMC or BMD varies between different male sex types. If sex has an effect on bone mineralization (BMC or BMD) and if this affects leg health, it could result in more lameness and problems during fattening in the negatively affected sex type. The present study evaluated bone mineralization (in terms of BMD and BMC) and body composition traits using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) three times during growth at 30, 50, and 90 kg live body weight. Nine body regions were analysed for bone mineral traits and compared for different male sex types and the fattening season. Significant differences were found regarding BMD (and BMC) among EB, IB, and SB for whole-body BMD (BMC). Additionally significant differences were found in the front and lower hind limbs, where SB showed a significantly higher BMD compared to EB, with IB in between. Additionally regional differences were detected among the groups. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effect of these differences in bone mineralization on leg health.

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Bernau, Maren / Schrott, Juliane / Schwanitz, Sebastian / et al: “Sex” and body region effects on bone mineralization in male pigs. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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