Vet on call: Common birth defects in pigs

David Njoroge feeds piglets in a farm in Nakuru. Pig farmers should note that there are myriads of birth defects that may be observed in the animals and the good news is that the abnormalities are rare if farmers exercise good practices in pig production. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NMG

What you need to know:

  • Animals that give birth to many young ones and frequently like pigs, dogs and cats are good models for observing birth deformities.
  • The most common cause of birth deformities are genetic problems arising from breeding closely related lines of animals. This is termed inbreeding.
  • Furthermore, animals with one observable genetic defect may also be having other internal defects that only become apparent later in life.
  • Hermaphroditism occurs when pigs are born with both male and female reproductive traits and organs. Such animals grow to maturity but must not be bred.

Joy had been waiting for three months, three weeks, and three days or what we call the 3-3-3 wait for her gilts to farrow.

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