Umbilical hernia

A hernia is an abnormal protrusion of an organ or tissue through a defect or natural opening in the covering skin or muscle. Hernias often cause welfare problems as well as economic loss.

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

Clinical signs.
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.

1) Visual evidence of the swelling .
2) Reduction of the bowel contents in the rupture when squeezed back into the abdomen.

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.

If there is a problem (more than 2% of pigs are affected ) 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.
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.

Treatment and management
Inguinal ruptures are not as important a problem unless they become very large

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.

Reduce stocking density of a pen if Hernias often occur in the pen.
Cull pigs with known history of hernia to avoid reoccurrence.

Veterinarians can also reduce Hernias surgically.

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