Donning our veterinary hats today, we wrestled an uncooperative piglet (actually, there are no cooperative piglets) into a manageable position and applied what we hope to be a healing bandage. The piglet’s intestines had begun to bulge in the belly button area, so we pushed them back in and placed the rounded half of a tennis ball into the area and duct taped it. By the time the piglet rubs off the tape, we hope that the problem will be resolved.
Immediately after being returned to the herd, this guy went back to eating. He didn’t show any signs of discomfort. A few other pigs sniffed his new fancy plastic belt, but then lost interest.
Hernias are heritable traits so we don’t want to keep affected pigs as breeders. This pig came from another farm. None of our homeborn piglets have exhibited this trait, but it is a problem that we watch for.
Here is more from Dave:
The earliest book Google has on record for hernias in pigs is from 1847, ambitiously titled “The Pig: a Treatise on the Breeds, Management, Feeding, and Medical Treatment, of Swine; with Directions for Salting Pork, and Curing Bacons and Hams.” There William Youatt states “There is little doubt but that umbilical and congenital hernia are of frequent occurrence among swine but as yet the attention devoted to the diseases of these animals has been so slight that we dare not venture positively to assert the fact.”
By the 1870s, the veterinary books recommend using a small piece of wood laid across the hernia and tied around the pig to restrain the hernia. Some spark of genius must have occurred in the intervening 140 years where someone discovered yet another use for duct tape. Apparently the duct tape method is now pretty much ubiquitous. Although I can’t find out when it was first documented.