There is plenty to do when it’s time to process piglets, and workers often get in a hurry, but be sure to have them take time to inspect piglets for various ailments and abnormalities.

During the castration stage, often performed when pigs are 4 to 10 days old, have workers look for hernias. Since pigs are easy to manage at this size, scrotal hernias are sometimes discovered during the process, and it’s best to address them right away, says Melissa Farber Billing, a veterinarian with Murphy-Brown.

A scrotal hernia allows the intestines to protrude into the scrotal sac, and a variety of methods may be used to permanently reduce the hernia.  Some examples may include surgical correction or the use of a stabilizer to temporarily hold the inguinal ring closed.

Surgical correction should only be performed by a veterinarian or an experienced herdsman with training and a thorough understanding of anatomy.

Elastic tape also can be used with success by those handlers with an advanced knowledge of anatomy, Farber Billing says. For this process, one person holds the pig by its hind legs and gently replaces the intestine into the abdomen. Then, the testicle is removed.  The second person then applies Elastakon tape in a figure-eight pattern over each inguinal ring and around the legs, and secures it around the back of the pig. 

The pig will need to be checked often to see that the tape is not interfering with circulation or movement, she adds. The tape should be removed in two days.