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Ruptures or Hernias

(451) Of many congenital abnormalities, ruptures at the umbilicus or the inguinal canal are most common. They are considered to be developmental defects yet have a very low heritability. Umbilical hernias can sometimes be traced back to a particular boar in which case he should be culled. Environmental factors can increase the incidence of umbilical hernias and 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 abnormally.
  • 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 veranda type 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 increase abdominal pressure?
  • In cold weather do the pigs huddle thereby increasing abdominal pressure.
  • Check records to see if the boar and the sow are related.
  • 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.
Inguinal ruptures are not as important a problem unless they become very large. Where castration is the farm policy a minor surgical operation needs to be performed. This is described in chapter 15.

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