18 hours ago
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Farms and Vets and economics and reality
Calling the vet has two issues; one, is the treatment likely to result in a good result, and is it cost-effective to do the treatment at all.
The black and white piglet in the forground has a rectal prolapse. Part of the rectum is protruding outside the body, and it appears a little swollen and red. So here's the brutal farm math: Piglet in good condition, retails for $90, costs probably $45 to produce. Veterinary visit to the farm is $190. Office visit is $90.
Several sources on the internet all agree that this may spontaneously go away -- no treatment -- or that it may become inflamed and eventually scar tissue forms and blocks the anus, or infection sets in. Several different treatments are mentioned; manually replacing it and then purse-suturing the opening loosely, to prevent the tissue from re-emerging. In cases where it's inflamed or necrotic (dead tissue) amputation is indicated.
I've called a friend of mine who works for a local university assisting in animal surgery to see if she can reccomend a local anasthetic that I can buy. Prolapses happen both with the anus and with the vagina, and I'm willing to try a surgical solution to this little pigs problem in the interest of being able to treat sows with prolapsed vaginas in the future. I'll be practicing a purse suture tonight.
But what I'd like you, the reader, to understand the next time you hear about a farmer killing a small animal, is that it's not unusual, or cruel, or even something that the farmer wants to do. It just needs to be done. As swiftly and kindly as possible.