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Harry's Operation

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Our vets at Meadows Farm do a fantastic job with our animals. They’re not always used to seeing the problems that some of our older animals face, but always do a wonderful job working with them; using their expertise and putting research into things that they haven’t seen before. After all, most farm vets don’t often come across sheep and goats in their teens!

We were recently fortunate enough to be joined by vets John Burford and Gayle Hallowell from The University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, as well as some of their very capable students; assisted by our vet, Rhys.

Harry the Pig needed dental work to correct his overgrown tusks, and exploratory surgery in the hope of finding his missing testicle, which we all assumed had remained inside his body. These start inside the body and eventually grow and drop, but it is not unheard of for one to remain inside!

An ultrasound scan was inconclusive and so surgery was necessary. The team worked extremely hard and treated Harry with the utmost care and respect. Unfortunately, it could not be found, and it is assumed that it may have been removed earlier in his life before he joined us here at the sanctuary. His behaviour will have to be closely monitored over the next couple of months to determine whether it is indeed present (the testosterone produced creates certain behaviours).

His vital signs were constantly monitored during the operation.

Harry was castrated so that he can continue to live with his friend, Hermione, without any problems. Unfortunately, we cannot risk the birth of piglets, as we simply don’t have the space for them, and there are so many pigs out there in need of good homes already. This will also safeguard Harry against testicular cancer. In our experience, older pigs seem to become afflicted with health problems of the reproductive organs, so this is one step that we can take to keep him safe.

The vets and students stayed with him for most of the day, monitoring him closely as the anaesthetic began to wear off, ensuring that everything was going as it should. They kept him warm and kept a close eye on his vitals, and eventually he started to perk up. His care was then handed over to our keepers, who spent the evening in his stable, keeping him warm, comfortable, and reassuring him after what must have been an enormous ordeal for him.

Vet, John Burford, reassuring Harry and keeping him warm as he started to wake up.

He’s a strong boy and we’re very happy to say that he’s recovering very well. He’s up and about today, eating well (enjoying the use of his beautifully trimmed teeth!), and back with his best friend Hermione. We’ll continue to give him lots of extra care and attention, and he should be completely back to normal very soon.

An ENORMOUS thank you to the amazing vets and future vets for not only a job very well done, but for treating him so well. We learned a lot and can’t thank you enough for patiently answering our many questions and letting us be part of it.

Get well soon, Harry!

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