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Method of Animal Treatment Using Physiologically
Acceptable Phosphorus Compounds
This invention relates to a method of treatment of animals.

While the description will be given as directly applied to pigs it is not intended that the invention at least in its broadest form should be necessarily so limited.

Maintaining live piglets immediately after birth is a known great difficulty in intensive animal breeding of pigs.

Mortality of approximately 40% of all piglets born soon after birth, is a commonly experienced percentage.

A number of such deaths are attributed to an effect known as "overlay" in which it has been previously considered that such death is caused simply by the sow laying on top of the piglet and causing either injury or death in this way.

After extensive observation I have determined that most deaths do not occur because of such circumstances as the primary cause but that each of the piglets develops very shortly after birth symptoms which after approximately two hours after birth exhibit themselves firstly by an apparent unco-ordination starting to occur when the animal walks.

Soon thereafter, the back legs appear to stiffen together with the back and within three to four hours the stricken piglet has back legs which appear to be uncontrollable and are splayed behind the animal and also spread.

Such symptoms are known by others but I have discovered that a number of deaths attributed to overlay have been caused by the initial inability of the piglet to avoid the mother.

Further, the disease of splay legs has appeared to be incurable and the piglet is thereafter incurably deformed for the remainder of its life which also can be very short.

I have discovered a treatment of advantage in respect to this condition.

The invention can accordingly be said to reside in at least in one form in the method of treatment of an animal at birth for alleviating such a condition which comprises introducing into the animal at birth a material carrying in an appropriate physiologically acceptable form and quantity phosphorus.

Preferably such treatment should take place at the earliest possible time subsequent to birth and certainy before final symptoms are set within the animal especially comprising fully splayed legs.

While various compounds can apparently provide the necessary immediately available form of the element phosphorus, I have found that the phosphorus can be provided as a phosphite.

I have found that the treatment of the animal requires the rapid access to phosphorus in any appropriate physiologically accepted form and I have found hitherto that a most appropriate form and method of treatment includes a solution which comprises a compound calcium hypophosphite dissolved in an appropriately compatible and
pharmaceutical acceptable carrier and that this is injected

By routinely injection a sufficient quantity of such material subcutaneously behind the ear of each piglet within munutes of birth I have found that there does not appear to be any disadvantageous result and I have been able to substantially eliminate any piglet having the symptoms of splay leggedness and I have therefore in trials significantly reduced mortality of piglets in circumstances where previously this was 40% of all births this is now approximately 20% where the only changed factor is routine injection subcutaneously of a phosphorus containing compatible material.

The experiments conducted thus far evidence that symptoms upon becoming apparent such as shivering and unco-ordination and an apparent stiffness of the back legs are relieved within twenty minutes of the injection.

For a better understanding of this invention it will now be described with respect to a particular trial.

It is to be emphasised that while the application is to piglets, equivalent circumstances are known to exist with other animals and trials have extended to both sheep and birds.


Two sows were selected of equibalent weight and each having had four litters and being of generally similar health. Each was mated at substantially the same time and held in substantially the same
conditions until farrowing.

Sow A was treated as a control and no attempt was made to treat any of the piglets in accordance with this invention.

Of ten piglets, two were observed to firstly develope a shivering almost immediatley after birth and thereafter within three hours both of the piglets had developed a classical splay leg syndrome.

Each of the pigs was taken and cared for individually but the treatment according to this invention was not administered.

The piglets did not recover and remained deformed with the classical splay leg back legs genetic weakness that is characteristic of this apparent disease.

Sow B delivered eleven piglets of which three were observed to commence shivering almost immediately after birth and within twenty minutes of such birth were starting to show signs of lack of coordination.

At this stage, all of the eleven piglets of the litter were then injected subcutaneously behind an ear with 1 millilitre of solution comprised of 3.3% weight per volume of calcium hypophosphite dissolved in a remainder of distilled water to make up 100% of solution.

Each of the three piglets which had previously displayed coordination problems were observed to recover within about twenty minutes of the injection and thereafter showed no further signs of any splay leggedness lack of co-ordination or any other symptom of this problem.


Sow A was selected again as the control and in respect of sow C again of similar shape and size and health, two piglets of a litter of 1 1 were observed to show initial lack of co-ordination, shivering and just the commencement of some characteristic of the splay leggedness syndrome.

Each of the two were then injected with an aqueous solution of calcium borogluconate 25% weight/volume, dextrose monohydrate 22% weight/volume, magnesium citrate 2.9% weight/volume, and calcium hypophosphite 3.3% weight/volume the remainder being water.

In each case again the injection was subcutaneous and behind the ear of each of the two piglets and the quantity was 1 millilitre in each case.

Within twenty minutes, the previously observed symptoms had disappeared and the animals appeared to again be healthy and continued to grow to be adequate animals.

This then illustrates typical use and the specific mixtures that have been found appropriate for piglets.

It does appear that the subcutaneous injection must be given as soon as possible after birth but in any event before full splay leggedness is actually observed whereafter it does appear that this cannot be reversed.

The treatment therefore can be used prophylactically.

The quantity does appear to be critical in that a further test, 2% of the same mixture, that is, the second mixture was injected into an animal displaying the symptoms of splay leggedness but only at the developing stage but symptoms equivalent to an excess of phosphorus were observed and the animal deceased soon after.

From observations conducted, it appeared that an excess of the material is toxic and some experimentation must occur with respect to each type of animal as to the quantity and concentration that will be physiologically acceptable.


In this example a flock of one hundred sheep were divided into two approximately equal numbers the wethers of the whole flock being mated and the flock then being kept together until delivery at which time the flock was divided into two halves of equal numbers of 50 each and lambing was allowed to proceed in the first half without assistance at least in respect of splay leggedness.

In the second half of the flock, a continuous watch was kept and upon any lamb being delivered, as a routine, an injection of 1 millilitre of 3.3% by weight as an aqueous solution of calcium hypophosphite was injected behind the ear of the respective lamb within an hour of delivery.

Whereas, six cases of splay leggedness which appeared to be irrecoverable were observed in the first half of the flock, no examples were observed in the second half. It is accordingly presumed that the prophylactic treatment of phosphorus containing material in a
physiologically acceptable base had the effect of removing this
difficulty from the animals.