Neuter Inguinal Hernia
A Deadly Complication
Mini pigs need to be neutered to make good pets. Male piglets that are intact can become fertile as young as 8 weeks old. These little boys will have a very strong foul odor that is unbearable indoors. This offensive smell will also soil the piglet’s bedding and any furniture he spends time on. The behavioral problems of an intact male piglet drives pig parents rushing to have these babies neutered! They will chase and hump the family, other pets, and toys leaving a sticky stinky ejaculate. There is no doubt, all pig parents will want their little boys to be neutered ASAP!!
When scheduling your piglet’s neuter there are a couple things to keep in mind.
Piglets can be neutered as young as 4 weeks old by experienced veterinarians. The AMPA recommends waiting no longer than 8 weeks old to neuter. If you have trouble finding a veterinarian to neuter your piglet, check the AMPA Vet Map for a veterinarian near you. Older boars can be neutered at any age.
The inguinal canal, also known as the inguinal ring, needs to be sewn closed in mini pigs during neuter surgery. The inguinal canal is the opening between the abdominal wall and the testicles. If this is not closed, the mini pig is at great risk of herniating during or after surgery, called an inguinal hernia.
Anesthesia and/or anesthetics should always be used for the comfort of the pig or piglet. While it is routine practice to neuter pigs on farms with no medication, it is our job to ensure our pets are given the care they deserve.
The incision site may be sewn closed or left open to drain. Either way is acceptable. There are pros and cons to both practices. It’s a personal decision your veterinarian will make, but feel free to discuss with them and ask why they choose the method they do.
Aftercare is fairly simple for male piglets. The younger they are, the quicker they spring back. Offer canned pumpkin with their meals to keep stools soft. Don’t expect perfect potty habits as they may be sore from the surgery. Their potty habits should resume shortly. It may take several weeks for the hormonal habits and odor to dissipate. Pigs can be fertile for up to 4 weeks after neuter. Read more pre and post surgery care from Dr. Cathy here.
Inguinal Hernia – Dangerous & Preventable
Inguinal hernias are a life threatening & expensive neuter complication. Once the testicles are removed during neuter, the intestines can push out through this canal if it is not closed by the veterinarian. This results in either a bulge under the stitches, or the intestines will spill out of the incision site. If you believe your mini pig has herniated, seek emergency veterinary care immediately. If the intestines spill out of the body, the piglet will go into shock with death shortly after. If the hernia is held in by the stitches, it is still life threatening. The intestines can easily become strangulated, causing extreme pain and death.
In rare cases, piglets are born with an inguinal hernia. This is often caused by a hereditary defect. The parent(s) of these piglets passing on the hereditary defect should be retired from the breeding program and altered. Breeders should NEVER sell an intact piglet with an inguinal hernia.
Whether the hernia is apparent before or after neuter, it is important to receive veterinary care promptly. The neuter can be repaired with surgery to pull the intestines back into the abdomen and suture closed the hernia. This surgery is not always successful, many piglets die during surgery, but the risk of not treating the hernia is certain death.
Always discuss this with your veterinarian before surgery. Some vets are not aware of the anatomical differences in full size pigs and mini pigs. When full sized pigs are castrated on the farm, it is common procedure to leave the inguinal ring open. Farms operate on cost benefit. The full size pigs have a far lower incidence of herniation than mini pigs, and if they do herniate they are culled. This is not an option for our pet pigs that depend on us. Always insist the veterinarian closes the inguinal ring to prevent herniation.
Breeding Responsibly Saves Lives
Avoid the hassle of an intact piglet and the risks associated with high cost surgery by choosing an AMPA Registered Breeder. AMPA Breeders neuter all male pet piglets by an experienced veterinarian before they go home with their new parents.
If a piglet is born with or develops a hernia, the AMPA Registered Breeder will have corrective surgery done before he leaves their care. Healthy piglets will also be neutered prior to leaving, closing the inguinal ring. If any complications happen post surgery, the breeder will have an experienced veterinarian on standby.
Pig parents should not be faced with these challenges, financial burdens, and heartache. It is the breeder’s responsibility to ensure piglets are neutered and healthy, ready to join their new family!