- Preparing Pigs For Sedation
Pigs are omnivorous animals that have largely been under the spotlight for their recent domestication. Despite not being the most outstanding looking fellows around, pigs provide more to the benefit of humanity than half of the world population.
Not only are they extremely smart, but close inspection proved them to be extremely faithful as well. People who are aware of the various benefits of these underrated animals have great regard for them.
Fossils prove that pigs have been in this world for ages. They have gone through various evolutionary stages, starting from the common Eurasian boar to the even-toed ungulates.
Preparing Pigs For Sedation
This process includes using a drug to produce a state of calm and tranquility to living organisms. Sedation is used by animal workers and owners for an operation, to something as minor as teeth clipping.
Pigs are usually subjected to this behavior during various trivial tasks, in this case, hoof trimming. Yes, people, hygiene is essential! Pigs are generally considered to be the most difficult to sedate.
Their heavy, bulky bodies and a great mass of muscles make it tough to locate suitable points for injecting an intra-muscular. However, if authentic measures are taken to ensure easy sedation, it might not be as difficult as it seems.
The sedation process consists of injecting the drugs and waiting for the pig to pass out. One needs to fully monitor the vitals and reactions of the pig to not cause any complications.
Physical Examination Before Sedation
First and foremost, pigs should clinically undergo a physical examination for ill health. One should always be aware of the underlying conditions that the pig is going through.
With the help of hematological and clinical chemistry tests, the animal should be treated based on results. The result values should always be compared to the normal values announced in the protocol.
Proper diagnosis, including radiology and ultrasound, should be done to watch out for hidden diseases. Pigs that have undergone trauma in the past require a full body examination to not create any complications.
Rabies, for example, is not a common disease in pigs. However, it has been reported in pigs where it is endemic, so extreme caution is required. Common signs of depression and difficulty in walking are also not something that should be overlooked.
Fluid deficits present before the process should be removed by fluid therapy. Also, the existence of drug therapy such as antibiotic food additives or anthelmintics becomes a huge issue. These should be pre-removed before sedation. If present, they can make interactions with anesthetic agents.
Drugs For Sedation
Three main drugs that can be used to trigger the sedative effect in pigs:
- Acetylpromazine (ACP)
- Azaperone (Stresnil)
- Primidone (Mysoline)
These medicines, with varying dosages as prescribed by the vet, are used as sedatives for pigs.
It is essential to be well aware of the consequences of these drugs, before subjecting animals to them. These drugs, in general, cause drowsiness, hypotension, decreased respiratory rate, and bradycardia. It can also lead to cardiovascular collapses; however, it is rarely seen in pigs.
Method Of Sedating Drug’s Administration
Aforementioned, it is discussed that obesity is what makes the process difficult to handle; however, using effective measures of drug administration comes in handy. They include using a low-flow extension line connected to the syringe.
It allows the medic to sink the plunger from afar if the pig loses control. Other than that, make sure to inject the drug at areas with the least amount of fat i.e. caudal to the ear or in the distal thigh.
Gaining Iv Access
It is no easy task to have IV access while sedating pigs. However, a simple rubber band around the base of the ear can make the job a lot easier.
Fasting Before Sedation
Pigs, like human beings, can face post-sedation nausea. Hence it is wise to keep them away from food at least 12 hours before sedation. Water can be provided at any time.
Monitoring The Oxygen Supply
Also, the respiratory rate of the pig is to be monitored continuously. It should be supplied with an ample amount of oxygen using an oxygen mask while it is unconscious. This is mainly because they rely on breathing through their mouths.
By nature, anesthetic drugs cause hypothermia and hypotension in pigs. Hence it’s best to provide the pigs with supplemental heat during the process.
By using water blankets and heating devices that can produce heat by safe chemical reactions, this can be achieved. It is crucial to make sure that the animal is not in direct contact with the heating device.
Checking Sedation Time
Overweight pigs are particularly vulnerable to hypoventilation, respiratory acidosis, and death during the procedure. Therefore, it is wise to keep the sedation time minimal.
Measuring The Right Doses
- Dose: Telazol: 2-8 mg/kg + Xylazine: 1-3 mg/kg. Route: Intramuscular (IM)
- Dose: 2-8.8 mg/kg. Route: IM
This includes difficult intubation due to minimal muscle relaxation.
- Dose: Ketamine: 20mg/kg + Xylazine: 2 mg/kg. Route: IM
This specific dose is used in swine for shorter sedation time.
Using The Reversal Drugs
As mentioned before, the use of reversal drugs is helpful to the pig for a swift recovery. Some of these drugs used are:
Another thing to keep in mind is to be schooled on the after-effects of these drugs. Generally, no medication should be administered to an animal without its consequences sought out. This can be ensured by taking professional help.
It is vital to monitor the following during sedation:
- Respiratory Rate
- Heart Rate
- Blood Pressure
- Pulse Oximetry
Sedation is a process that not every individual is capable of performing with the required protocols. Even if it’s temporary for something as trivial as hoof trimming, it’s better to have trained personnel for the process.
It requires a great deal of responsibility to have a vulnerable animal at your charge. To avoid harmful circumstances, one needs to be properly schooled on the topic before they attempt to perform such a procedure.
If the standard protocols of drug administration are followed, the process can be successful. It is indeed easier said than done.