By Dr. Hollyn Maloney DVM, Prairie Swine Health Services
Producers, in consultation with their veterinarians, need to complete many procedures in the first few days of a piglet’s life. Piglet processing can include umbilical care, injections, castration and tail docking.
Each procedure produces a site where infection may occur. Therefore, proper technique, equipment maintenance, and hygiene are essential to improve piglet survivability and performance later in life.
We trim a piglet’s umbilical cord to reduce the risk of trauma and infection.
Once the cord is completely dried, trim it to a length of two to five centimetres (0.8 to 2.0 inches). The drying process closes the vessels in the cord and prevents bacteria from travelling up the cord and causing an infection. If the cord is too short, then bacteria can enter the animal’s body and cause an infection. If the cord is too long, then the piglet may step on it and cause trauma and cause trauma.
Clip the cord with clean, sharp side cutters. During processing, dip your side cutters in disinfectant between each piglet. Discard these tools as soon as they become dull. Then, spray the area with iodine. Umbilical infections reduce the ability of the tissue around the cord to heal, which makes the pig more likely to develop an umbilical hernia later in life. Injection and medication administration Give piglets iron injections within 72 hours of birth to prevent iron deficiency. Use a 20-gauge, 0.5-inch needle to inject the iron into the muscle of the neck.
View this complete Herd Health article in the June edition of Better Pork magazine.