Kune Kune pig
Farm Animal Medicine
Polly, a 7 year old female Kune Kune pig with an abdominal swelling
Before visiting the Specialist.
Polly has had an umbilical hernia all her life; this is when some of her abdominal contents protrude through a gap in her body wall muscle (where her umbilicus joined as a piglet) into a pouch under her skin. Unfortunately, the hernia had recently started causing her problems.
She was presented to her referring vets for inappetence and vomiting. Her owners had also noticed that the hernia had enlarged raising suspicion that a piece of gut had become stuck in the hernia and the blood supply to this piece of gut was being cut off. Initially, Polly was treated by her own vet medically with pain relief, antibiotics and rectal enemas. However, when there was minimal improvement in Polly’s condition, her owners agreed to refer her for surgery.
Before Polly could have her surgery the specialist team needed to ensure she was stable enough to cope with the anaesthetic and the procedure. Blood samples were taken which showed signs of inflammation, but luckily her kidneys and liver were functioning well. An ultrasound of her 10cm hernia showed some free fluid, and the gut was no longer moving normally as it had become trapped in the hernia. This finding on ultrasound confirmed that the hernia was strangulating the intestines, and this was the cause of Polly’s discomfort. Polly received further pain relief and drugs to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers forming and to keep her comfortable before her surgery
The day of Polly’s surgery came and with the help of the specialist anaesthesia team, Polly underwent a general anaesthetic. The soft tissue surgeons performed the 2-hour surgery removing necrotic (dead) skin, removing 30cm of the strangulated gut and suturing the remaining gut back together. They then closed the incision and the hernia no longer existed!
Polly recovered well from her surgery in the comfort of a deep straw bed. Polly remained as an inpatient for a further week for nursing and close monitoring to ensure she was comfortable. She continued to improve throughout her stay and her appetite returned in full force!
Article provided by Andrea Turner
Specialist in Farm Animal Internal Medicine