Pirate, a Landrace cross pig, was rescued by a sanctuary in Canada. He had suffered either an unknown trauma or birth defect resulting in his tarsus being fused in a flexed position. Landrace pigs can grow to an estimated weight of 450-600 pounds for sows and 500-700 pounds for males. Pirate began his journey with us when he was 4 months old and still had a considerable amount of growing to do.
There are considerations in pursuing V-OP (veterinary orthotic and prosthetic devices) for patients who are not yet fully grown. Typically, the younger the patient, the smoother the transition to a device will be. This is due to less compensatory time. Many times, a supportive device can help reduce or prevent compensatory changes prior to them developing. However, the younger you begin a patient, the more likely it is for a patient to outgrow their device increasing the likelihood of multiple devices.
Pirate’s device required special consideration due to his size, age and the environment that he lives in. As he’s grown, his tarsus has also become more flexed. He received an accommodative tarsal orthosis that was designed to cradle his tarsus, metatarsals and hoof. The device utilizes a “runner” for him to easily maneuver whether on grass or while wallowing. His device was also designed to accommodate some circumferential growth and featured extra foam liners that can be removed as he grows. Pirate took to the device right away.
Now on his third device due to growth, Pirate continues to do well. The sanctuary plans to continue use of the orthosis for the rest of his life. He has regained his quality of life and is able to spend his days wallowing with the other pigs on the sanctuary.