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Swine. Behavior Restraint Venipuncture. Video (squeaky). These piglets have approximately 6 months ahead of them before they go to market. (3 weeks nursing, 7 weeks in the nursery, and 16 weeks of grow-finish) . Ages of pigs are important. Neonates 0-3 weeks <4 kg (8.8 lbs)

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  • Video (squeaky)

Ages of pigs are important

These piglets have approximately 6 months ahead of them before they go to market. (3 weeks nursing, 7 weeks in the nursery, and 16 weeks of grow-finish)

Ages of pigs are important

  • Neonates 0-3 weeks

    • <4 kg (8.8 lbs)

  • Weanlings/nursery3-10 weeks

    • 4-25 kg (8.8 – 55 lbs)

  • Growers/finisher10-26 weeks

    • 25-120 kg (55 – 264 lbs)

  • Breeders/adults>6-8 months

    • >120 kg (> 264 lbs)

  • Age and weight

    Age and Weight

    Pig management

    Pig management

    • Backyard herds

    • All in / all out

    • SPF (Specific pathogenic free)

    • Segregated early weaning

    • Depop / repop

    Aiao or continuous flow

    AIAO or continuous flow

    Violations in pig flow

    Violations in Pig Flow

    • Drying off cull sows in grower/ finishing

      (pen separately or remove immediately)

    • Putting poor doer nurseries back with younger animals (Nurseries must operate as AIAO)

    • Any movement of older sows through nurseries

    Violations in human flow

    Violations in Human Flow

    • Nursery or farrowing not worked first

    • Walking through gestation or grow/finish to get through nurseries or farrowing

    Restraint chapter 20 p 439 lcvt

    Restraint (Chapter 20 p. 439 LCVT)

    • Pigs are very vocal animals that express fear, panic, and stress by squealing and screaming.

    • Pigs are not athletic animals, but that doesn’t meant they are slow

    • Pigs may be aggressive; biting is their only real defense, they will often go after the object (person) of its anger.

    • Sows with litters are specially protective and should be approached with care.

    • Boars with tusk should be also be respected

    Animal human contact

    Animal-Human Contact

    • When approaching a pig be sure it is made aware of your presence.

    • If pigs are startled they may cause injury to themselves or others in the pen.

    • The best way to make pigs aware of your presence is to use your voice.

    • Pigs quickly learn to recognize voices, especially if they are associated with food

    Moving pigs

    Moving pigs

    • Pigs are best moved in a metal (box style) transport designed for use with large animals.

    • At times this is not possible and pigs must be walked to their destination.

    • When moving a pig always remember pigs will move away from walls toward openings

    Flags and paddles

    Flags and paddles

    Forms of swine restraint

    Forms of swine restraint:

    • Hog snare

    • Snubbing rope

    • Casting rope

    • Leg hobbles

    • Piglet restraint

    Acclimation and socialization

    Acclimation and Socialization

    • It should be remembered that pigs are social animals and have a rigid dominance hierarchy. If animals are group housed they will generally fight to establish dominance for the first 24-48 hours.

    • Dominance in pigs is almost directly related to size. The largest animals are dominant and smallest are submissive


    • Piglets pile up in the corner when driven. It is now quite easy to capture one by grabbing onto the hind legs that are presented.

    • Their legs are thin and somewhat easily fractured; catching them or tying them by the legs must be done carefully.

    Commercial hog snare

    Commercial hog snare


    • Demonstration of the capture of an adult pig with the hog snare.

    • The handler approaches from the side of the pig and carefully loops the snare over the upper jaw just in front of the cheek teeth or as far back in mouth as possible


    • After the snare is tightened, it is obvious that the pig resents this and will resist by pulling back against the snare.

    • This allows the handler to brace against the pig and hold it steady for examination or sample collection.

    Snubbing rope

    Snubbing rope



    Effective in crated sows

    V troughs

    V troughs

    • This feeder pig is being restrained on its back in a V trough.

    • Both hind legs are held by an assistant and the forelegs are pulled back to allow access for blood collection.

    V troughs1

    V troughs

    • Procedures such as ear notching and bleeding can be done with the pig in this position.

    • Note that pigs will squeal the entire time they are restrained in this fashion, and all handlers should wear ear protection as demonstrated by the individual performing the blood collection.

    Basic physical examination

    Basic physical examination

    • Physical examination of swine is procedurally similar to the other large animal species.

    • The following are normal values for adult swine at rest:

      -Temperature 101.0º - 103.5º

      (102.0º Average)

      -Pulse 60-90 per minute

      -Respiration 10-24 per minute (16 average)


    Weigh your pig first



    Herding panel

    Basic p e

    Basic P.E.

    • Body temperature may be taken rectally with a thermometer appropriate for the size of the animal.

    • Common pulse points are the auricular (ear) artery along with ear pinna and the coccygeal artery of the tail: the femoral artery may be available in recumbent animals.

    • Respiratory rate is assessed by observing and counting the chest or flank excursions; the lungs are best auscultated between ribs 6 and 11

    Pig medicine

    Pig medicine

    • Blood collection

      • Jugular vein / anterior vena cava

      • Cephalic Vein

      • Orbital Sinus

      • Tail Vein

    • IV injection

      • Auricular vein

      • Rubberband


    Common Bleeding Ports

    Orbital venous sinus

    Auricular (ear) vein

    External Jugular Vein

    Facial Vein

    The left ear showing blood vessels

    The left ear showing blood vessels.


    Bleeding tools: Vacutainer


    Maximum safe blood draw


    Selected normal blood values


    Bleeding Trough for Young Pigs

    Ear veins

    Ear veins

    • The marginal ear veins are the only veins that are easily visible on pigs of any size.

    • Usually there are three prominent veins. The lateral or central vein is usually the largest of these.

    • The ear veins are branches of the caudal auricular vein and the superficial cervical vein. Their pattern, anastomoses and relative sizes vary from pig to pig.


    • Pigs cannot sweat and blood circulation through the ears is important for temperature regulation. In a warm environment the veins are more dilated and blood collection is facilitated.

    • When the vein has been punctured, the emerging blood can be collected directly by capillary action into appropriate tubes. This technique is suitable for measurement of haematocrit and haemoglobin levels, and for making blood smears.

    I v injections

    I.V. injections

    • It is possible to undertake intravenous injections using the ear veins even on newborn piglets.

    • The needle and ear are fixed between the operator's thumb and forefinger. When this has been done, the assistant can stop raising the vein and the injection can begin

    • Intravenous injections and solutions for fluid therapy are most often given in the lateral auricular (ear) vein


    • Infusion sets are also commercially available, consisting of a tube connected to a needle. These 'butterfly needles' must be fastened to the skin using adhesive tape or a louse.

    • Their great advantage is the flexibility of the tubing. These sets are available in a variety of sizes, such as 19 and 21 gauge

    • Use for larger volumes of solutions


    • This picture shows the central ear vein (the intermediate auricular vein) on a young sow.

    • The animal has been given azaperone as a sedative. This compound has the added advantage of causing peripheral vasodilatation, making the vein more readily accessible.

    • A venous catheter equipped with a stiletto (Braunule, 18 gauge) has been inserted into the vein.

    • Rubber band on the ear

    The external jugular vein

    The external jugular vein

    • Blood samples from adult pigs are most commonly taken from the external jugular vein.

    • The animal must be held using a snout rope and the neck must be stretched well upwards. This is best achieved if the pig stands on all four legs.

    • The rope is placed behind the canine teeth so that it does not slip off so easily or move rostrally towards the nasal cartilage


    • The correct point of venipuncture is illustrated in this picture.

    • The needle should be directed caudo-dorsally, in this case perpendicular to the skin.

    • The correct puncture site is in the deepest point of the jugular groove formed between the medial sternocephalic and lateral brachiocephalic muscles


    • A vacuum tube has been connected, and the needle inserted in its full length. This is important, since these needles are really slightly too short for large sows.

    • It is vital that the needle holder is held firmly if the operator wishes to change vacuum tubes

    Cranial vena cava

    Cranial vena cava

    • Lies in the thoracic inlet between the first pair of ribs and gives rise to both right and left jugular veins.

    • The right side of the animal is always used to access the cranial vena cava to avoid damage to the phrenic nerve.

    Venipuncture of the cranial vena cava in a small pig restrained in dorsal recumbency

    Cranial vena cava1

    Cranial Vena Cava

    • Several structures may be accidentally be encountered during this procedure . If the needle hits a rib, pull backward slightly and try different angle .

    Collecting blood from the cranial vena cava in a standing pig. The needle is inserted at the caudal extent of the right jugular furrow, lateral to the manubrium


    Bleeding sows

    • Large animals are restrained standing usually with long snare, the head should be raised slightly


    • Pigs weighing between 20 and 50 kg can either be held on their backs in a 'trough' or immobilized with a snout rope

    Orbital sinus medial canthus of the eye

    Orbital Sinus (Medial Canthus of the Eye)

    Collection of blood from the medial canthus of the eye

    Venipuncture of the left orbital sinus. Note the firm manual restraint of the head.

    Cephalic vein

    Cephalic vein

    • The cephalic vein can be used for blood collection in newborn piglets and weanling animals.

    • It will only be possible to withdraw small amounts of blood from animals weighing less than 10-15 kg.

    • When they weigh 20-50 kg, it is possible, with some training, to withdraw blood nearly as quickly as with the other methods described

    Milk vein

    Milk vein

    • The milk vein (the subcutanous abdominal vein) is easily visible lateral to the teats on smaller pigs.

    • For blood sampling a vacuum tube and a 20 gauge needle is used. The needle is inserted where the vein is most visible.

    The tail vein

    The tail vein

    • The medial caudal vein lies in a groove under the tail, next to the artery.

    • The operator raises the tail with one hand and punctures the vein with the other.

    • Vacuum tubes and 20 gauge needles are used.

    • The puncture site is at the first freely movable tail joint. This is around the fifth tail vertebra.



    Giving injections

    Giving injections

    Intramuscular injection im

    Intramuscular Injection IM

    • The prime cuts of pork come from the hams, loins, and shoulder areas.

    • Therefore intramuscular injections are preferably given in the dorsal neck muscle behind the ears


    Necropsy – Why?

    • To improve the herd health

    • To contribute to the herd health program

    • To identify causes of illness or death so that

      • Effective treatments can be applied

      • Preventative measures can be implemented


    Necropsy – What to look for

    • Skin condition

    • Swollen joints

    • Wounds or abscesses

    • Intestinal condition (fluid-filled, bloody, gas, etc)

    • Lung condition (hemorrhage, non-functional tissues, edema, etc.)

    • Liver condition (look for milk spots; indication of a parasitic infection)

    • Condition of other organs (kidneys, spleen, heart)

    • Snout condition (condition of the turbinates)


    Necropsy – “normal”


    Necropsy -- Tools

    • Scalpel

    • Probes (spatula or equivalent)

    • Saw (hack saw or equivalent)

    • Water

    • Mechanism to dispose of parts (plastic bags)



    • http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/swine/7080.html

    • http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an051

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