Surgical castration of male piglets is routinely performed in most countries to prevent the occurrence of boar taint in pig carcasses. An alternative to surgical castration, especially from the point of animal welfare is active immunization against gonadotropein-releasing hormone (GnRH), known as immunocastration. The aim of this study was to investigate the difference of claw growth between pigs which underwent immunological castration and pigs after surgical castration as well as female pigs.
For this the claws of the investigated pigs were filmed at the time of slaughter and measured with a special computer program. Following parameters were obtained: Horn surface, length of claws, width of claws.
The surface of the claws was identical in female and surgical castrated male pigs. On the contrary, the surface of the claws of immunologically castrated pigs was significantly bigger.
The surface of the claws was bigger in the forelimbs than in the hindlimbs in all three groups. The difference was evident in the medial claws.
The lateral claws were mostly bigger than the medial claws. This was most obvious on the hind claws of the immunologically castrated animals. In female pigs there was no difference in size between the medial and the lateral claw of the forelimb. In the hindlimbs the surface of the lateral claws was significantly bigger.
In the castrated pigs the lateral claws were broader than the medial claws.
In the immunologically castrated pigs the lateral claws of the forelimbs were broader and bigger.
In all three groups both claws of the forelimbs were bigger then ones of the hindlimbs.
The study showed that the surface of the claws of immunologically castrated pigs is bigger than those of animals after surgical castration.