Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Doctor is In

Yesterday morning I went out to find a new litter of Large Blacks IN THE BARN.  We give them an entire pasture and the sow chooses the barn!  I will give her that it stays pretty cool in the barn, but I maybe would have chose somewhere besides right next to the gate.  (We now have to walk around and go through the pasture to the back of the barn.)  But the litter and the sow's choices are not really why I am writing.  No, I am writing because I noticed a gash above the right leg of one of the piglets.  Upon closer inspection, it was not simply a gash, but an actual hole...through which the piglet's guts could actually be seen with space between the skin and insides.  (The picture does not do the hole justice, it still looks like a surface wound more than a hole.)

Since the wound was an actual hole, we knew it should be stitched so it would heal, but we didn't have a curved needle and Matt didn't want to use a straight needle.  We cleaned the area with a iodine/water solution (we read a saline solution could also be used, but we had iodine) then rinsed it with distilled water.  We patted it dry and used duct tape as make-shift butterfly bandages.

Well, the duct tape kept coming off due to the drainage, so we brainstormed and Matt came up with the perfect solution: super glue.  We super glued the wound mostly shut (we dotted the area with glue so there was still some space for drainage).  We then covered the area with gauze and wrapped it with self adhesive medical tape.

We decided to keep the piglet inside in order to reduce the amount of dirt, etc the wound is exposed to.  However, we then needed to decide how to feed it.  We first tried goat milk in a bottle, but the pig was more interested in trying to suck on my fingers than the bottle.  We then tried a syringe and got some goat milk down, but the piglet wasn't very happy with that option.  We finally decided the sow is right down in the barn, and the piglet was very interested in eating, so we would just take it down to the barn to eat 3-4 times per day.  Both the sow and the piglet seem to be doing well with this choice.

The hole doesn't seem to be slowing the piglet down any.  It is one of the most active piglets while in the barn, has a hearty appetite, and is smart (when the sow flipped to the other side it was the first one to walk around and keep eating).  If we can keep infection out, prognosis is good.  Although I probably shouldn't say that, because mentioning it is just asking for trouble to come our way!

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