Gross and histopathological evaluation of umbilical outpouchings in pigs

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Clinical presentations of umbilical outpouchings (UOs) in pigs cover a variety of pathological manifestations. Pigs with UOs often do not reach the abattoir as they die due to complications or are euthanized for welfare concerns. The primary objective was to characterize the gross appearance of UOs in pigs with respect to the different types of pathological manifestations. Also the association between the pathological manifestation and presence of a wound on the UO was evaluated. Pigs (in different age groups, n = 444) with an UO were sampled in Denmark from different locations (two herds and at an abattoir) and examined post mortem. Tissue samples from animals with an enterocystoma or internal umbilical proliferations were collected for histological and immunohistochemical characterization. Hernia umbilicalis was the most frequent cause (72%, n = 320) of the UOs. It was the only diagnosis in 57% (n = 254) of the pigs, and in 15% (n = 66) of the pigs the hernia appeared in combination with other manifestations. Thus, 28% (n = 124) of the pigs were diagnosed with an enterocystoma, internal umbilical proliferations, subcutaneous abscess/ fibrosis or another diagnosis, presented alone or in combination. The distribution of diagnoses varied in the different age groups. Overall, 38% (110/291) of the pigs presented a wound on the UOs post mortem. The age of the pigs confounded the relation between the pathological manifestation and the presence of a wound. The odds that an UO had a wound were lower among pigs with a subcutaneous abscess/ fibrosis compared to pigs diagnosed with an umbilical hernia or enterocystoma (OR, 0.3; 95% Cl, 0.1-0.7). The odds of wounds were higher among weaners (OR, 4.3; 95% Cl 2.3-8.3) and finishers (OR, 6.5; 95% Cl, 3.4-12.7) compared with piglets from the farrowing unit. The area of wounds ranged from 0.03 to 78.5 cm 2 and increased with age (P < 0.001). Histologically and immunohistochemically the enterocystomas and internal umbilical proliferations seemed to be lined with mesothelial cells and both had a content comparable with mesenchymal embryonic connective tissue. However, only the cavities of the enterocystomas were also lined with mesothelial cells. In conclusion, UOs in pigs are caused by complex pathological conditions with hernia umbilicalis as the dominating diagnosis. Knowledge clarifying the different pathological manifestations causing an UO and the presence of wounds on the UOs is essential for future prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105621
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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