Potbellied pigs can suffer from a number of serious health problems, including rectal prolapses. Rectal prolapses occur when the rectum—the last section of the large intestine—falls out of position and protrudes through the anus. Here are four things potbellied pig owners need to know about rectal prolapses.
Why do potbellied pigs get rectal prolapses?
Your potbellied pig can develop a rectal prolapse if they strain themselves while defecating. This can happen if they have severe diarrhea or if they are constipated. Essentially, they push so hard that they expel their own rectum.
What are the signs of rectal prolapses?
If your potbellied pig has a rectal prolapse, you'll notice a red ring of tissue sticking out of their anus after they defecate. This tissue may slip back inside their anus, but it may remain outside of their body. If you notice this happening to your pig, take them to a vet right away.
What complications can they cause?
Rectal prolapses can cause multiple complications. Your pig may develop bladder retroversion, meaning that their bladder gets trapped within the prolapsed tissue. Eventration of the small intestine can also occur. This means that the small intestine bulges out of place. Finally, they can develop rectal stricture. Stricture is a medical term that means narrowing, so in simple terms, a rectal stricture is a narrowed anal opening. All of these complications can cause serious pain and distress for your pet, so seek treatment for rectal prolapses right away.
How do vets treat rectal prolapses?
Your vet may be able to treat your pig's condition by injecting iodine into the lip of their bowel. Multiple injections will be given in this region. Iodine is a caustic substance, so when it's injected into the bowel tissue, it forces the body to create scar tissue. This creates a ring of scar tissue around the lip of the bowel and holds the tissue in place.
Rectal prolapses can also be treated surgically. Your pig will first be sedated to help it relax, then your vet will give it gas anesthesia to make it sleep through the procedure. While your pig is sleeping, your vet will pull your pig's rectum back into place and then secure it with stitches. This is a routine procedure, so as long as you choose an experienced vet, you have nothing to worry about.
After the surgery, your pig will be sent home to recover. Painkillers or antibiotics may be given to ensure that their recovery goes smoothly. Your vet may also prescribe a stool softener to keep your pig from needing to strain their bowels while they heal.
If you think your potbellied pig is experiencing a rectal prolapse, take them to a vet, like those at the Edinburgh Animal Hospital, immediately.