Research Article Open Access

The Splay Leg Syndrome in Piglets: A Review

Vassilis G. Papatsiros1
  • 1 University of Thessaly, Greece


Problem statement: The splay leg syndrome is the major congenital cause of lameness in suckling piglets. It is characterized by a temporarily impaired functionality of the hind leg muscles immediately after birth, resulting in an ability to stand and walk. Etiology and pathogenesis is complex and remain still poorly understood. Approach: The aim of the present study is to perform the update information about the etiology, clinical signs and control strategies of the syndrome. Results: A sex-affected inheritance of the splay leg syndrome is assumed since higher frequencies have been observed in male piglets. Several biochemical and histomorphological investigations indicate an immaturity of the skeletal muscle in the affected piglets at birth. Splay leg is caused by a reduction of the axonal diameter and myelin sheath thickness of the fiber that innervate the hindlimb adductors. The existence of one or more major genes for congenital splay leg seems possible. Among the fragments strongly displayed in the splay leg muscle, are identified the porcine CDKN3 gene. Various management and genetic factors have been connected with the etiology, such as the farrowing induction, low birth weight, short gestation lengths, slippery floors and breeds (e.g., Large White and Landrace). Moreover, nutrition can play a role to pathogenesis, as choline or methionine deficiency in sow diets and the fusarium toxicity. Furthermore, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) are also involved in etiological factors. Piglets suffering from splay leg should be kept in a warm place and be helped to take colostrums or artificial milk for 2-3 days. Conclusion: Management practices should be applied in order to be avoided the occurrence of splay leg syndrome, such as non-slip floors, use of anti-mycotoxins products in feed, avoiding the farrowing induction before day 113. Finally, a herd health management programme should be applied in order to prevent and control PRRSV infection.

American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Volume 7 No. 2, 2012, 80-83


Submitted On: 14 May 2012 Published On: 19 July 2012

How to Cite: Papatsiros, V. G. (2012). The Splay Leg Syndrome in Piglets: A Review. American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 7(2), 80-83.

  • 11 Citations



  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV)
  • skeletal muscle
  • piglet
  • splay leg