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.

10 Comments on “Hernia

  1. Does the duct tape hurt the pig at all? My pig had hernia surgery a month ago, shes a pet but not a potbelly, and after about 2 weeks it started popping back out. I’ve been in contact with my vet but I am looking for ideas and I was thinking vet tap might help when I ran across this post. I watched an episode of Dr. Pol recently and he suggested using duct tape also on a piglet when it got a hernia. I would think the duct tape would hurt the poor pig. I know this post is quite a few years old but I’m looking for options.

    • I don’t know how it would work for a pet pig. For a pig on pasture, the duct tape only lasts a day or so. They manage to get dirt in between the tape and their skin so the tape doesn’t seem to stick to them like a bandage would stick on human skin.

      • Hi Dave, Meghan! These message came in my InBox because I’m subscribed to replies to the blog post! What memories from so long ago. 🙂 Meghan – I had a similar situation, hernia came back in 2 week – however, that was actually swelling from the surgery, it wasn’t the hernia. Our pig Bootleg lived on for an extra year and even had piglets (and they and their offsprings showed no signs of hernia, thankfully). What killed Bootleg ultimately were turmours growing in his abdomen, not the hernia.

  2. I know this is a post from 2 years back but I found your site while searching “pigs with umbilical hernia.” My Bootleg had hernia repair surgery when he was about 2 and a half months old. The hernia returned after about 2 weeks, it’s about the same size as the pig’s in your banner image. Bootleg will be 4 months in September 9. I made a girdle/truss for him (with a small hole for peeing through) but he kept taking it off. So I was thinking of the duct tape. Did you put a hole under the tape for his prepuce? Bootleg’s hernia is really just over his prepuce so I couldn’t easily do the “pack in and tie up” solution when he was younger. Thanks for any advise you can give me! I’m curious too if your pig’s hernia healed when the duct tape was removed.

    • Fats: I can’t remember the situation with that particular piglet too clearly now. I think we were able to push in the hernia and place the tape and tennis ball over the navel without blocking off his ability to urinate. Again, my recollection of this particular incident is fuzzy and we rarely deal with hernias so I don’t have a lot of experience to offer on this topic. Sorry I can’t be more help. Dave.

      • Thanks anyway, Dave, I’m new to pig farming and have lost lots of piglets (to scouring), sow had MMA and she was later killed by a vet by mainlining Ivermectin. So now I’m left with one boar with hernia. I’m getting more piglets end of this month and will try not to get too attached to one pig so as not to stress myself out to much when something goes wrong! For now, Bootleg eats a little each time but frequently so as not to affect his hernia too much. He’s a happy pig! Cheers! 🙂

  3. Yeah, Ben has one of these. Should have used duct tape to correct it. Whenever he screams, it pops out. hehe. I guess he shouldn’t be a breeder later on in life…

  4. Haha! This is fantastic! Just tonight JZ was hailing the wonders of duct tape. Great job, farmers!!


    India* sent from my iPhone

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