Broken needles can happen even with great attention to detail. The second priority after prevention, is to have a procedural plan in place if a needle does happen to break. John Carr, Iowa State University veterinarian, offers these options for dealing with broken needles.

  If the metal piece is still visible:

  • Restrain the pig immediately with a nose snare and remove the pig from the group.

If the metal piece is inside the pig and not visible:

  • Mark the pig with a numbered ear tag.
  • Record the date and the animal’s identity in your medicine book.

Here are some additional options to consider if you can’t remove the metal piece.

1. If the animal is to be retained for use as breeding stock:

  • The animal will not be suitable for human consumption.
  • Ensure the animal’s identification tag is correctly placed.
  • Check the animal’s health regularly.
  • Check the tag regularly and replace it if necessary.
  • If a different tag number is used, record the new number.
  • Once the animal’s breeding life is finished, the animal must not go to slaughter for human

The reason for these procedures is that metal pieces tend to move within the body and in a few weeks the needle part will move from the injection site to any part of the body.

2. The pig can be slaughtered within seven days. Send the animal to the packer with a declaration for casualty slaughter. Advise the packer about the injection site.

3. The pig can be finished for home consumption, but can’t be sold to anyone else.

4. A pig that can’t be slaughtered within seven days, has no breeding future or can’t be used for home consumption must euthanized.