Yesterday Spork and I treated a new pig. He was ear tagged #45 and given 2.3cc of Enroflox Sub q and 3cc of Liquimyacin IM. Previously he’d been given 3 days of treatment with the dewormer paste we’ve been using on the other pigs in the barn. He had been separated from the other pigs in the barn but now that he has his full course of treatment he was let in the stall with everyone else. This pig has decent body condition although it’s dropping. His tail was straight and he looked sad although he was eating well and had plenty of energy. He should be in good shape now that he’s been treated.
On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we treated pigs #27, #29, #31, #32, #33, #34, #36, and #44 with fenbendazole. The vet had recommended a three day course of treatment to break the cycle of the worms. We also treated #34 and #36 with Enroflox, 1.5cc via subQ and 2.5cc of Liquimyacin, via IM. Both were coughing again and needed the boost to help break this pneumonia cycle we seem to be in.
We’ll give the deworming a few days to see how the do, then do a fecal check again to see if we are making progress. Obviously if body condition changes one way or the other considerably, that will tell us as well.
Yesterday marked a big day for #33. His insides are no longer his outsides. I was due to make a medical device this weekend, most likely today, and then perform some home surgery probably this evening. I made sure to discuss this in front of the pig because despite assertions to the contrary, they know what you are talking about. The idea of having a plastic piece stuffed up your bum, and a castrating band placed around whatever bits are sticking out couldn’t have sounded too fun to the pig. I know it would have made my rear end pucker and that’s exactly the effect it had on said piggy. Suddenly that prolapse went right side in and the pig made sure to tell us just how happy she is. Of course, that suited me fine because I didn’t want to have to do any more to her anyway.
We finished the course of dewormers on her yesterday as well so another day of observation and #33 can go back into the big pen with everyone else. I’m not sure after all this, being fed by hand, sleeping under a heat lamp, curled up in a big pile of hay, that #33 is going to want to go back outside but I think some sunshine and being back with the pack will trump giving up the white glove treatment.
When I talked to Dr. Caesar from Rollins Animal Lab, she had a definite answer for what was wrong. I remind you that the vet had already looked at our pigs and had done a fecal exam to look for parasites with zero noted. We had already treated our pigs for pneumonia, and with one of the pigs we had dewormed it hoping to see a change in its condition as an indicator that maybe that is what was wrong. We’d noted no change.
So Dr. Caesar’s answer? Worms. Big time worms. Multiple kinds of big time worms. We don’t treat with chemicals unless there is a diagnosis, and we just couldn’t get one for some reason. Both the vet and I are stumped why we couldn’t but we have one now. That’s good news. The bad news is we now have to treat all the pigs in the barn, and all the pigs in two paddocks on each side of this affected paddock for worms.
Dr. Caesar recommended fenbendazole and Dr. Brady agreed so off to Tractor Supply I went to find the stuff. I’d never heard of it which makes me a bit of a doofus of an animal farmer but like I said we don’t use dewormers unless there is a reason. I thought we’d be injecting something else into the pigs with a needle but it turns out this stuff is a paste that comes in a squirt tube you stick in the pigs mouth. Since the pigs are happy to swallow just about anything and hygiene isn’t as critical since we aren’t giving shots it was actually pretty easy, at least for the ones in the barn. The ones outside will probably have to have a different treatment.
So it looks like the pigs I bought from the crazy old coot in Zebulon brought an infestation with them. We’ll be going with a scorched earth policy for the next few weeks to clean everything up and to break the life cycle of the worms. We are also looking hard at getting some breeding sows and a boar because every time we bring animals from off farm, we introduce some new problem. Miguel and I both think it will be worth just doing it ourselves. We’ll see.
Until we can get our own breeding going, we are going to have to deworm every new pig that hits the farm as a preventative so we don’t have a repeat of this. It will just be to break the cycle and give the pigs a clean start at their new life.
Yesterday we treated 31, 36, 34, 29, 27, 32, 33 with fenbendazole oral paste. We also ear tagged 43 and 44 and also treated them with fenbendazole. I’ll have to get a count of who has passed away because some of the ear tagged pigs are back in the main paddock. I’ll get that list and put it in a different post.
Also on 1/7/15 pig 29 received 1.5cc of Liquimyacin and 1.5cc of Enroflox
Pig 33, the one with the prolapse, had what looked like a blocked rectum. We cleaned everything off and I had to clear an internal blockage with manual interference, which is a fancy term for sticking my finger up a pigs butt. Once everything was flowing again, we treated with sugar. The prolapse is looking really good and is almost gone. It’s easy to push back inside, but it doesn’t stay inside. I have the instructions and the go ahead from the vet to perform a surgical procedure but first I have to make the device. That will be on this weekends to do list. I’ll post about it for sure.
On 1/6, we treated #33 with 3/4cc of penicillin and 1.5ccs of Enroflox and cleared a partial blockage from her prolapse.
Yesterday ended up being a pretty bad day on the farm. One of the little pigs we’ve been treating looked terrible when we milked at 5:30 but he was still hanging in there. Both the vet and I were clueless what was causing the problem but I had hopes that we’d learn something that day that would tell us what to do. We’d done a fecal check and found zero evidence of parasites and the pneumonia certainly didn’t seem to be the culprit. Later that morning, I went back to check on the pig and found her dead so that morning when I’d held her was right at the end. I talked to the vet and he quickly suggested I take the pig to Rollins Animal Lab on Blue Ridge Road and have a necropsy performed. I agreed readily as we’d already discussed this as a next step. I made arrangements to get by there later in the day as it was plenty cold to keep the pig until we could get there.
First I had to work on the animal trailer we’ve been building because I’m trying to get it out of the shop so we can clean up and move onto the next desperately needed project. Our shop isn’t that large, and a trailer sitting in there pretty much takes up the whole work area. It’s been in there for over a month and it only needed the hydraulics working and the rear section made to be finished. After doing some testing and figuring out that I’d configured the hydraulics incorrectly, I had to get ANOTHER set of hoses made. While I was spending hours getting our latest set of hydraulic hoses made, Miguel texted me and said that cow #24 was dead! What?! This is one of the two heifers we bought when we bought Benjamin. She had had a still born calf last year but I attributed it to the fact that she was bred too young. Now suddenly she is dead. I got back to the farm, minus the final hose I needed due to a fitting we didn’t have to find our cow hanging and Miguel asking if we can save any meat from the cow.
I stood there for a good 10 minutes looking at this cow. She weighed about 900 pounds. She was pregnant from Benjamin which meant she would have thrown a pure Angus calf and probably 15 more over her life. Instead she’s hanging there dead and still warm. Miguel thought it was from bloat and a quick bit of home surgery confirmed he was right. From perfectly fine to dead in a couple of hours!
Miguel was game to dress her out and save the meat. However that would have kept us processing beef till about 10pm, getting her skinned, gutted, halved, and broken down into primals. Our freezers were full of existing meat so there wasn’t really any room to put another cow away anyway. We could have hung her in the reefer truck that we pick up and deliver our meat in, but I haven’t built the rack to hold a side yet (it’s on the to do list.) Also, I had to get the dead piglet to Rollins so they could find out what was causing the problems with our pigs. Finally, the trailer mentioned above, which couldn’t be moved due to a lack of the hose I didn’t get that morning, was in the way so the area where we would work was occupied because I hadn’t finished the trailer project. This was a comedy of errors, or just too many things happening at once. However the Lord doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle so stop, step through it, and execute.
The meat would be of questionable value. We couldn’t sell it. Miguel was game to try some and I debated on doing a quick butcher just to see what the quality was however even if it was ok I didn’t have the time to vacuum seal 425 lbs of meat so even if it was ok, I didn’t have the time to do it correctly. With a sigh I put the cow in the bucket of the backhoe and buried her. That’s about a $2000 cow on the hoof, and much much more than that over her life when you count her offspring. On top of her being a perfectly nice cow that I just feel terrible about.
The moral of the story with this cow is a saying I read in a cattleman’s magazine about culling. It said”Love your kids, forgive your enemies. Do neither for your cows.” This cow already had a problem. If I had culled her and sent her to the sale barn, I’d have cut my losses. Instead I’m spending money and time burying her. There isn’t enough margin in farming to make many mistakes. Loosing a prime cow if a pretty expensive mistake. I can’t say lesson learned, but lesson reinforced.
In my next post, I’ll tell about the pigs and what we’ve learned is the problem.
Today we had a pig coughing in the paddock. This pig was much larger than the other pigs in the barn and was doing fine otherwise. Miguel and I caught the pig and era tagged it #42. We then administered 1.5ml of Enroflox and 3ml of Liquimyacin and released the pig back into the paddock rather than taking it into the barn.
We also had the vet out today, Dr. Brady and Amber from Summit Equine. We were planning on having them out today anyway but Sunday night we lost #35, #41, and #26 to whatever is keeping these pigs unhealthy. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep them alive through the weekend. They really went downhill fast. The vet checked the two worst looking remaining pigs. One had a small temperature. One didn’t have a temperature at all. He took a fecal sample and will be checking it and getting me results tomorrow. We’ve given the pigs plenty of food, water, and pedialyte to help with any dehydration. We’ll adjust what we are doing based on the vet’s findings. It’s worth noting that all of our problem pigs have come from one breeder so it’s likely not our practices as much as the quality of the pigs we bought.
Miguel brought a new pig into the barn on 1/3/15 that was not keeping up with the other pigs. He was ear tagged #41 and was given 2.5ml vitamin and 1ml of iron IM.
On 12/31/14 we treated pig #33, the one with the prolapse, with the soapy water and sugar treatment. We’re treating that pig about every other day and the results are looking good. The prolapse is still there but it’s definitely shrinking. On the 31st when I was treating the pig the scab or hard crust that had formed began coming off in about a 1″ wide ring in the area closest to the pig. By using water to moisten and a little gentle pressure I was able to peel off that entire 1″ ring. Now that area has retracted back into the pig and we’ll be working the next area today with soap and water. It may take another week at the rate we are going but it looks like we’ll be able to heal this prolapse.