Thursday, 28 November 2013

Piglet with a broken foot (Don't look if you are squeemish)

I have to definitely start off this blog post with a much needed apology for my absence. When you try and be a farmer and still have a full time job things can start to pile up leaving you with hardly anytime at the end of the day.

I want to keep this blog going and can hopefully start to give it the proper attention now that things are slowing down for me at the golf course.

This post is very important, it's going to highlight the fact that you as a farmer know your animals better than anybody.

Steve and I had noticed that one of our piglets was limping quite badly on a Friday, by the Sunday he could not put any weight on his front leg and it was extremely swollen. We got him into a stall and held him down so I could examine his leg, it was very swollen and hot and there was a small scrape. We decided that it would be best to have a vet come in to look at it since it was just getting worse by the day and we suspected it could be broken.

The vet got there on the Monday, I held him down while she examined and her thoughts were that maybe something got into the small cut or a thorn or stick punctured into his leg. She gave me a shot of penicillin and a shot of Anafen for the next 3 days and also did a dosage that day (Monday)

Each day I brought him in, playing musical stalls until I had him separated from everybody else and then got somebody to hold him down while I gave him his needles and examined his leg. By Wednesday there were two open sores with puss and a weird flesh material.

I called my vet first thing Thursday morning explaining everything to her and she thought it was likely just the infection trying to come out of the foot. I asked her for more antibiotics and pain meds to get me through the weekend as well as a solution to flush the wound and a topical solution to clean it. She gave me a stronger 48 hour lasting antibiotic called Nuflor as well as a pain killed called Medicam which also lasts 24 hours.  Thursday night I gave him the last of his first set of antibiotics and pain meds, flushed and cleaned the wound and then wrapped it in gauze and plastic to keep the mud out. Friday I unwrapped everything and it almost looked worse and smelt brutal. So I really started to dig around in the cut, I pulled out all the white fleshy stuff and really tried to get the cleaning solution into the cut. As I did that I hit something hard with the tip of the syringe, I grabbed it and pulled out a big piece of bone! What must have happened was something fell onto his foot and broke off one of his toe bones and it was just floating around in there trying to get out. After I got the piece of bone out the wound looked like this.......

Gross! I know! I flushed it all out and wrapped it all up again, gave him his new antibiotics and pain killer. I was getting quite good at giving a needle by now. And then by Sunday when I unwrapped everything his foot looked like this....

Goes to show you how resilient pigs are, he is now running around making up for all the mischief he missed.

This also brings up another point. I have always said I want to stay away from antibiotics and drugs as much as possible. Our pigs are raised on pasture and spent grain and I believe in the more natural route. BUT when one of your animals is suffering and needs intervention what do you do?

Also on another note, during my catching and restraining of this piglet I learned that the best way to hold them down is to grab them by their two back legs with one hand, get them on their side and then with your other hand or arm hold their body. Whatever you do, do not let go of their back legs. My trusty helper did once and got a lovely ride around and around the stall trying to bear hug this piglet!