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Farm Animal Practice
Clinical examination of the pig
  1. Peter Jackson

    Peter Jackson is a former university physician at the University of Cambridge, where he was responsible for both devising and teaching the pig medicine course. He retired in 2002, but maintains a keen interest in farm animal medicine and obstetrics.

  2. Peter Cockcroft

    Peter Cockcroft is a senior lecturer in farm animal medicine at the University of Cambridge, where he has been jointly responsible for devising, and currently teaches, the pig medicine course. He holds the RCVS diploma in cattle health and production.


THE nature of the pig, which characteristically will squeal and run away if frightened, may suggest that an effective clinical examination is difficult, if not impossible. However, a patient and calm approach, and use of appropriate restraint techniques, will usually overcome these defence mechanisms and allow a meaningful clinical examination to be carried out. This article describes the observations and physical examination that may be performed as part of the clinical assessment of an individual sick or injured pig. Illustrations and notes of specific conditions, abnormalities and findings that may be encountered are included, with the intention of providing a clinical checklist for the inexperienced practitioner. A previous In Practice article described other elements of the investigation of clinical problems on pig farms (Green 1999).

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