Farrowing Management (Part 2)



The last issue we talked about understanding sows farrowing process. This issue we will talk about “What to do when sows are having farrowing problems”

Step 1: Identifying the sows which are in difficulties

– Lack of piglets born.
– Sow stress and panting heavily.
– Sow keep pushing but no piglets released.
– All stillborn piglets released.
Figure1. Sows produced stillborn piglets caused by uterine inertia.

Factors that affects the failure to deliver piglets

– A large litter with uterine inertia(mostly in old parity sows).
– Very large piglets with small pelvis.
– 2 or more piglets presented in the birth canal at the same time.
– Illness of the sow: acute MMA.
– Dead pigs inside the uterus.
– Mummified piglets.
– Too fat sow.
– Heavy panting caused by high temperature and poor ventilation.

Step 2: Investigation

– Preparing a container of clean water containing mild antiseptic (Dettol, Betadine) and obstetrical lubricant (KY Gel, Cooking oil).
– Do not use detergents or soup as lubricant.
– Don’t attempt to force a dry hand into the vagina of the sows.

Step 3: Wash the hands and arm well

– Ensure the finger nails are short.
– If sow is lying down on left hand side, use your left hand.
– If sow is lying down on right hand side, use your right hand.
– Hold the fingers of hand together and insert the hand into the vagina, progress to cervix and beyond then you can feel the entrance to each horn of uterus.
– Take all piglets out as soon as possible.

Step 4: Inject oxytocin 20-30 IU, intramuscular/intravenous

– To increase speed of farrowing process, stop bleeding following delivery process and increase milk let down.
– Piglets sucking the sow’s teats helps stimulate uterine contraction.
– Gentle massage of the udder with hands may be helpful.

Step 5: Inject fast action antibiotics and Non Steroid-Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID)

– Inject Ceftiofur 2 times, on farrowing day and 1 day after farrowed to prevent any bacterial infection is recommended.
– Flunixin or Diclofenac or Paracetamol could be given to farrowed sows on the same day as Ceftiofur or when needed.

Step 6: Always monitor the sow frequently over the next 24 hrs to make sure that infection is not developing in the udder or uterus

– Placenta has been expelled.
– Sows call piglets to suck her udder normally.
– Sows can stand up for drinking and eating normally.

Effects of udder edema and failure of milk let down

– Excessive fluid in the mammary gland.
– Affected gilts and sows are normal with no fever or loss of appetite
– Affected sows show hard mammary glands, uncomfortable but no pain
– Produce less quantity and quality of colostrum
– Piglets have diarrhea during lactation period
– Weaned piglets have low immunity
– Leading to PRDC problem in nursery and grower pigs
Figure2&3 MMA in post-farrowed sows.
Figure4 Unhealthy weaned pigs, leading to PRDC problem.

Control and preventive management

• Antibiotics prevention program must be implemented in pre-farrowing and farrowed sows.
– Oxytetracycline LA on 5-7 days before farrowing.
– Amoxy+Gentamicin or Amoxy+Enrofloxacin on 1-2 days before farrowing.
– Ceftiofur+NSAID+Oxytocin on farrowing day.
– Ceftiofur+NSAID on 1 day after farrowed.
 Some sows that cannot eat, may inject same antibiotics as previous day for another shot.
• Identify the problems early and medicate individual sows.
• Inject oxytocin 1-2 ml; 2 times/day (am/pm).
• Re-check late-gestation feeding program particular 7 days before farrowing.
– High feed intake, excessive energy & protein intake may cause MMA in pre-farrowing sows.
– Limit feed intake (2.5kg/day) for pre-farrowing sows start from entering day to farrowing house until farrowing day, then change to lactation feed with maximize feed intake until weaning.
– Add fresh & clean water in feeder help to minimize MMA symptoms and improve feed intake during lactation period.
• Ensure that pre-farrowing sows have no symptom of constipation.
– Increase level of fiber (>5.5%) in gestation feed.
– Provide enough drinking water for pre-farrowing sows.
– Keep them under good ventilation and cool condition, no heat stress, no panting.
To improve sow health and piglets weaning weight, farmers are advised to understand the farrowing problems and follow the guidelines above.
The highlight of next issue is “Farrowing Management (Part 3): MMA and how to overcome it“. See you once again. Thank you.

Author: Dr. Paiboon Sungnak, D.V.M.
InterCons 3P Co., Ltd.

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