Sow mortality, specifically as the result of pelvic organ prolapses, has significantly increased in recent years in the U.S. swine industry. This recent increase in prolapses has been reported across different regions, frustrating producers and veterinarians alike primarily due to lack of mitigation strategies, or even the ability to execute mitigation-based research projects. In 2018, the Iowa Pork Industry Center received funding from National Pork Board to lead an industry-wide effort in identifying specific areas that may be contributing to the increasing incidence of prolapses.
The original survey project was completed in early 2019 and identified some potential risk factors that could be areas of interest for research. Research on understanding the root causes and potential mitigation strategies for pelvic organ prolapse is ongoing. Please see more information about our work below.
Zoe Kiefer describes her research on biological factors associated with pelvic organ prolapse in late gestation sows. This video focuses on the vaginal microbiome of commercial sows. Sows are classified as high or low risk for prolapse and the vaginal microbiome is analyzed for differences.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Project Overview
Body Condition and Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Water and Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Perineal Score and Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The full final report from the initial Pelvic Organ Prolapse study is available for download!
• An industry-wide survey was conducted with 104 sow farms representing approximately 400,000 sows and nearly half of the US swine industry, including large integrated companies and many independently owned sow farms.
• Multiple factors that may contribute to POP in sows were identified, enabling the design of subsequent studies in specific areas of interest.
• Many areas of presumed potential influence on pelvic organ prolapse have been shown to be minimally influential if at all.
• A perineal scoring system was developed that is reproducible and indicative of risk of prolapse for individual sows.
In order to determine rates of pelvic organ prolapse and develop solutions, pelvic organ prolapses need to be properly identified and recorded on-farm. This video will help pig caretakers identify and document prolapses. If you would like access to this video and accompanying fact sheet, please fill out this form.
By Amanda Chipman, Chris Rademacher, Daniel Linhares, Gustavo Silva, and Jason W. Ross, Iowa State University Iowa Pork Industry Center.
Check out this webinar about the Pelvic Organ Prolapse project given by Dr. Jason Ross for the National Pork Board Animal Science Research Webinar Series, August 2018.
Prolapse Incidence in Swine Breeding Herds Is a Cause for Concern. Supakorn, C., Stock, J.D., Hostetler, C. and Stalder, K.J. (2017) Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 7, 85-97. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojvm.2017.78009
Summary: Beginning in the fall of 2014 there has been a general and widespread increase in the incidence of prolapse in the U.S. swine herd. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the incidence, causative factors and treatment of rectal, vaginal, uterine and preputial prolapses. Rectal and vaginal prolapses are most common in swine when compared to other prolapse types. The cause of prolapses supports a fixation mechanism failure overcome by pressure on or weakening of support tissue. The fundamental factors affecting the incidence for prolapses are many and include factors related to nutrition, physiology, hormones, genetics, environment and other disease factors such as chronic diarrhea, cough, and dystocia. Treatment of prolapsed swine includes surgical and therapeutic management that can lead to complete recovery. However, in most cases, euthanasia is the final result. Economic loss was calculated at approximately $5220 dollars/year/1000 sows.