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Ruptures, Hernias

Of many congenital abnormalities, umbilical or inguinal ruptures are most common. They are considered to be developmental defects and have a very low heritability. Umbilical hernias can sometimes be traced back to a particular boar in which case he should be culled. These are most evident from 6 to 12 weeks of age.


Weaners & Growers
  • Swellings 30 - 200mm in diameter protruding from the umbilicus and abdomen, or below and in front of the testicles or in the groin (inguinal rupture).
  • If the swellings are large trauma to the skin may cause ulcerations particularly umbilical ruptures.
Sows & Piglets
  • N/A

Causes / Contributing factors

Environmental factors can increase the incidence of umbilical hernias so if there is a problem (more than 2% of pigs) consider the following:
  • Are prostaglandins used to synchronise farrowings. If so check that piglets are not being pulled away from the sow at farrowing and the cord stretched excessively.
  • Is navel bleeding occurring on the farm? Are naval clips being used to prevent bleeding? If so make sure they are not placed close up to the skin otherwise the tissues will be damaged and weakened.
  • Identify the precise time when the ruptures appear. Do these coincide with a change of housing?
  • In housing where the pigs pass through a small hole to the dunging area sudden severe abdominal pressure may cause ruptures.
  • Are stocking densities high and causing increased abdominal pressure?
  • In cold weather do the pigs huddle thereby increasing abdominal pressure?
  • Check records to see if any particular boar is implicated.
  • If the rupture is large and the pig is on a concrete floor or slats it should be moved to a soft bedded area so that the overlying skin does not become sore and ulcerated.
  • Examine navels at births and two days later to see if there are any abnormalities.


Visual evidence. Reduction of the bowel contents in the rupture when squeezed back into the abdomen.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to find out more about this disease, including treatment, management control and prevention information. The top link is the main article on this disease.