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Vulval Haematoma

Background and history

This is a condition where shortly after farrowing blood vessels inside the vulva rupture, due to stretching, pressure or trauma to the tissues. The vulva fills with blood. When this occurs the tissues become very fragile and if they are crushed the vulva splits with severe haemorrhage. Vulval haematoma can also arise where a gilt has to be assisted at farrowing and damage occurs from a large arm.

Clinical signs

The vulva becomes swollen and very dark blue. If it ruptures it may bleed continuously. Blood clotting is poor and the animal becomes anaemic and ultimately bleeds to death. Always consider this as a serious condition that is life threatening and requires frequent monitoring over 24 hours.

Piglets, weaners and growers

  • N/A

Sows

  • The vulva fills with blood and becomes swollen and dark blue.
  • When this occurs the tissues become very fragile and if they are crushed the vulva splits with severe haemorrhage which may not stop.
  • The animal becomes anaemic and may bleed to death.
  • Pale pigs.

Diagnosis

A blood filled vulva at farrowing.

Treatment

The animal should be sedated using stresnil and local anaesthetic injected around the tissues nearest the body of the sow just forward of the bleeding area. Three methods are then used for control:

  1. A piece of band or bandage is placed between the lips of the vulva and behind the bleeding tissues. It is then tightened to produce a tourniquet. This should be left for 24 hours.
  2. If this does not stop the bleeding then a series of mattress sutures should be passed through the vulva and tied to the exterior.
  3. If the haemorrhage still does not stop, the haematoma must be opened by a veterinarian who will use a pair of artery forceps to clamp the ruptured blood vessels and tie them off.

Observe the effectiveness of the measures taken by placing a paper bag beneath the vulva so that any subsequent haemorrhage can be observed.

Cover the tail gate of the crate with a bag of straw or other suitable protective material to stop further crushing.