It may be hard to imagine, but humans and pigs have something important in common. They are both mammals which means that before they are born, they are carried inside their mothers’ bellies.
Like humans, pigs grow from a few small cells to the size they will be when they are born. So baby pig develops in a similar way human baby develops, and if this is the case:
Do pigs have belly buttons? Yes, they do. All mammals do. While inside their mothers, pigs, like all mammals, are nourished through the umbilical cord. When the baby pig is born, it is still attached to the umbilical cord. Soon after birth, the baby pig stands up and tries to begin walking.
The struggle of walking will cause the cord to break free of the baby pig’s body. Then, the place where the umbilical cord had entered the baby pig’s body forms a circular scar.
The pig’s skin and hair then cover this area up. Although you may not be able to see a pig’s belly button, you may be able to feel a small elevated area on the pig’s belly.
What Is a Pig’s Belly Button For?
A pig’s belly button has no continuous function after the pig is born; it just represents the place where the umbilical cord once was.
As long as the belly button does not develop a hernia, it does not affect the pig in any way.
What Causes an Umbilical Hernia in Pigs?
A hernia is an abnormal swelling on the pig’s belly. This swelling happens because some of the abdominal contents don’t stay inside the abdomen.
Those abdominal contents flow out of the abdomen inside a pocket of skin. This causes the skin of the abdomen to swell.
When that swelling happens around the belly button, it is called an umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernias can swell up to 200mm from the umbilicus.
While the developing baby pig is still inside the mother, the abdomen’s connective tissue usually closes entirely around the cord.
This closure allows the umbilical cord to completely detach from the baby pig’s body once it is born and for the skin in that area to close.
Hernias are sometimes hereditary in pigs, but they can also be due to a cord infection. Some farmers have had success in preventing hernias. They spray the end of the umbilical cord with iodine right after the piglet is born. This spraying has been shown to prevent the infections that can cause some hernias.
Sometimes, one specific boar (adult male pig) will sire several piglets with hernias. When this happens, it may lead the boar’s handlers to cull (euthanize) him.
Hernias can also occur if the boar is related to the sow (adult female pig); so it is wise not to breed pigs who are too closely related.
Hernias can also be caused during the birth process if the baby pig is pulled out of its mother too forcefully. This stretches the pig’s belly muscles too forcefully and can cause a hernia.
How Do You Treat an Umbilical Hernia in Pigs?
A new piglet’s belly button should be examined as soon as it is born; to check if there is a hernia.
It should also be examined 2 days after its birth. If a hernia is found, this will cause the pig discomfort.
A pig with a hernia should be placed on soft bedding until it can be treated. If they do have a hernia, the skin around the hernia should be frequently checked for open areas, drainage, bleeding and infection.
Some hernias can be reduced. This means the pig handler should press the swollen area until the abdominal contents go back into the abdomen.
One method to treat hernias after reduction is with tight rings called Elastrator rings.
The pig must be placed under sedation before the hernia is reduced in this way. After reduction, the Elastrator ring is placed around the sac (the now-empty skin pocket); very close to the abdominal wall.
The tightness of the ring will cut off the circulation of the skin that had swollen around the hernia.
After 21-28 days, since the sac of skin has stayed empty and the skin on the bottom of that sac has died, the sac will fall off.
If this is successful, the piglet may successfully be able to thrive until it is of the age to be sold.
Is It Safe to Eat a Pig with a Hernia?
No, it is not safe to eat a pig with a hernia, except if it has successfully reduced. Some experts on pig marketability believe that if the hernia does not touch the ground, it could remain marketable.
If the hernia touches the ground, this will result in too much inner contamination from the abdominal contents.
If the hernia can’t be repaired, the pigs can’t be eaten and must be taken as soon as possible to be slaughtered.
Since healthy pigs may also be slaughtered at the same time at the same slaughterhouse; It’s essential to let the slaughterhouse know the pig had a hernia.
This is because the infection or internal damage done by the hernia could be spread to the flesh of other pigs. This is even more important if the hernia led to an open area and/or infection of the pig’s skin.
A spread of infection to the healthy pigs would be even more dangerous. For these reasons, some pig processors will not process pigs with hernias.
Conclusion:Do Pigs Have Belly Buttons?
A pig’s belly button is a reminder they are mammals just as humans are, and they were also once attached to their mother’s body by an umbilical cord. But when the development of an umbilical hernia disfigures a pig’s belly button, it can result in discomfort and possible infection.
It is also likely to mean the piglet must be euthanized and will not be able to be eaten.
You might have come to this article just looking to learn if pigs have belly buttons or not but I thought it would be interesting to explore the diseases pigs can develop in this specific area. Since it’s important for you to be aware.
So I do encourage you to keep learning all the parts of the pigs buddy what is their function and possible problems they might develop.