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calendar icon 9 November 2018
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The indications for anaesthesia in the pig are limited but include caesarean section, vasectomy and ovum transplants, operations that are carried out by a veterinarian. Most other surgical procedures can be carried out by the use of tranquillisers and local anaesthetics. Anaesthesia is carried out by intravenous injection, inhalation, spinal anaesthesia or local infiltration of tissues. The first three are only used by a veterinarian but local anaesthesia is frequently necessary to suture small skin wounds or replace rectal prolapses. Sedatives are frequently used by non veterinary pig people.

Medicines used for general anaesthesia

  • Halothane - Inhalation POM
  • Pentobarbitone - Intravenous injection POM
  • Tanopestone - Intravenous injection POM

POM = Prescription Only Medicine for veterinary use only.

A sow may also be killed for an emergency hysterectomy by shooting and bleeding by cutting the jugular veins, or destroying the spinal cord using a pithing rod. Only after pithing or bleeding is complete anaesthesia achieved to allow removal of the piglets. Details of this procedure are given in chapter 15.

Medicines used for local anaesthesia

  • Procaine
  • Lignocaine
  • Amethocaine

Some Trade Names (all injections)

  • Corneocaine POM
  • Dunlop local PML
  • Lignovet PML
  • Lignocaine adrenalin POM
  • Lignocaine A POM
  • Lignol PML
  • Nopain plus PML

PML = Pharmacy Merchant List.

Check with your veterinarian for trade names in your country.

There are three medicines available for sedating pigs, acetylpromazine (ACP), azaperone (stresnil) and primidone (mysoline).

ACP (10mg/ml injection POM) - This medicine is used in animals to prevent travel sickness and occasionally in pigs as a general sedative at a dose level of 0.1mg/kg liveweight. It is also useful for treating abdominal pain in cases of colic or to provide sedation together with local anaesthesia.

Azaperone (40mg/ml injection POM) Trade name Stresnil - This is a sedative and analgesic widely used in pigs and very effective.

Indications for use:

  • To prevent fighting.
  • Sedation prior to anaesthesia.
  • To examine pigs feet.
  • To prevent a gilt savaging her newborn piglets.
  • To calm an excitable animal.
  • Prior to mixing or transportation.
  • To facilitate any manipulative procedure.

The dose level is 0.5 to 2ml/20kg body weight. The effects of the medicine are dose dependent. When used at 2ml/20kg the pig is completely sedated after 20 minutes and lies on its side. The lower level of 0.5ml/20kg will prevent fighting when pigs are mixed.

Some guidelines to dose levels:

  • Prevention of fighting in adult and growing pigs 1ml/50 kg
  • To prevent savaging 2ml/20kg
  • Sedation prior to anaesthesia 2ml/20kg
  • Sedation prior to manipulation 1ml/20kg

It is important not to disturb the pig for 15 minutes after injection. Distractions will reduce the effectiveness of the medicine.

Primidone (Mysoline POM 250mg tablets) - This is an excellent yet little used medicine for preventing the savaging of piglets particularly by gilts. One tablet per 12kg body weight per 24 hours divided into two doses given am and late pm is advised. Treatment should commence at least 24 hours before farrowing and continue for at least 24 hours after farrowing. The tablets should be crushed onto the food.



Some trade names:

  • Tomanol POM injection
  • Equipalazone POM injection
  • Equipalazone POM powder

This medicine is very useful in treating painful conditions such as acute lameness and torn muscles, bush foot infections or acute mastitis. It can be given by injection, by powder or by mouth and its use will be advised by your veterinarian.


  • Trade name KETO FEN

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