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Quick guide to: Rectal prolapse

By Dr Andrew Tucker, Charles Street Veterinary Consultancy
Rectal prolapses can occur in any age and sex pig, but are mainly seen in male pigs in the early to mid grower phase. Various causes have been identified, although in many cases the cause remains unknown. Phosphate crystals blocking the urethra have been proved to cause straining and rectal prolapse in male piglets. Coughing and loose faeces, both fairly common health issues, have both been shown to cause rectal prolapse. The condition can also be caused by excess lysine in the diet. Hyperoestrogenism associated with the mycotoxin zearalenone may predispose sows to the condition.
How can a rectal prolapse be treated?
The result of a rectal prolapse and how it should be treated depends on how severe a case it is. Most cases will require an antibiotic as well as an anti-inflammatory treatment.
Some mild cases will reduce naturally, others may become necrotic and drop off while others may be bitten off by pen mates and not be seen at all. Some healed cases will develop a rectal stricture which is seen as a pig that loses condition but has a distended abdomen. Pigs developing this condition will need to be euthanased.
Many surgical techniques have been described and can be performed under anaesthesia.
Severe cases may require either emergency slaughter or euthanasia.
References:
Pig Diseases – D.J. Taylor; Diseases of Swine – Straw,
Zimmerman, D’Allaire, Taylor

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