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Prolapse of the uterus (womb)

Background and history

This involves the complete eversion of both horns of the womb which turn completely inside out. It usually takes place within 2-4 hours of the completion of farrowing but sometimes up to 24 hours afterwards. Prolonged straining causes a small part of the tube to be propelled outwards by uterine contractions.

Clinical signs

Sows

  • The prolapse occurs over a period of approximately one hour and commences with the appearance of the red congested lining of the womb.
  • This rapidly increases in size until the large exposed mass is presented.

Piglets, weaners and growers

  • N/A

Diagnosis

This is based on the clinical signs.

Causes

  • Uterine prolapses are uncommon but usually occur in old sows with large litters or where large piglets have been born.
  • The supporting structures of the uterus become weak or the uterine wall becomes flaccid.
  • Faulty farrowing mechanisms.
  • Previous damage to womb.

Treatment

  • This involves replacing the womb inside the sow. It is often impossible or the sow dies from internal haemorrhage.

In most cases on welfare grounds the sow should be destroyed. Uterine prolapses are uncommon but usually occur in old sows with large litters or where large piglets have been born. The supporting structures of the uterus become weak or the uterine wall becomes flaccid.