[MUSIC PLAYING] [PIG SOUNDS]
GINA DINALLO: Mouse is a lot of fun to work with. So he's one of the first pigs I've had the chance to work with. I'm actually a small animal person. I didn't know what to expect. But I like how vocal he is and how much he responds.
And, really, the moment you walk in the room for 8 o'clock treatments, if it's food time, he'll let you know. And then when you're in doing a physical, he'll bounce around. But if you rub him behind the ears in the right spot or rub him on the belly, he'll roll over and let you do it and clearly tells you what he likes, which is a lot of fun.
NORM DUCHARME: We didn't have much history. But we discovered that he had suffered two fractures to his leg-- one to his femur and one to his tibia. And he had a secondary deformity on his digit on his feet.
GINA DINALLO: He was significantly smaller, actually, and a little bit skinnier at the time. And at that point, we didn't have a bandage on his leg yet. He just had the malformed right, hind leg that was kind of curled backwards and to the side a little bit.
He's still hopping around a little on three legs, doing surprisingly well for an animal his size with only three functional limbs.
NORM DUCHARME: So his foot was bent 90 degrees. His right, hind foot had a tibial fracture that created marked shortening of the leg, as well as some deformity. And the femoral fracture had healed surprisingly well with minimal deficit. So he really has just three functional legs. And pigs get so heavy that Mouse has no chance of surviving, unless we figure a way to resolve this problem.
Because of the complexity of the problem-- and some aspects of this are far more common in small animals-- we consulted the doctor, Ursula Krotscheck. And one of the elements of treatment is lengthening back the tibia to a normal length. That leg is still 8 inches too short. And so we'd lengthen the tibia as the first step. And so she actually did the main part of that procedure. And that's the first step. And that's working well.
To make the tibia longer, we make a cut in the bone. So now they're the top part and the bottom part. And then we put pins across the top and the bottom with basically a twisting device that lengthens the leg. So every day multiple times a day, we just twist a bolt that increases the distance between the two pins. And that makes the leg longer.
Once we know how much length we have, then we'll decide if we need to do the same thing to the lower part of the limb. Or we can add a prosthetic limb to that. It'll be sufficient. We treat them like they're our own. So we can't do too many things at once. Right now, he's happy. He's happy to see us. He's happy to be alive. And so we really don't want to do too much. So we do one step at a time.
GINA DINALLO: He's very social. Our technicians come in and visit with him when they have time. They'll give him belly rubs, give him attention, or sneak him a treat. He definitely seems to enjoy the interaction with people.
NORM DUCHARME: He's a really good patient. To be able to let us take these nuts on either side of his leg and twist it three, four times a day, and let us do that-- and he's happy with us. And he's really like a dog. And they're so smart. Pigs are as smart as dogs, and I suspect smarter. Although, that's probably not common knowledge. But pigs are very smart.
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Mouse the pig was rescued from the farm of an unlicensed butcher. In addition to unspeakable filth and lack of food and water, he suffered from an unusable deformed leg. Now with treatment and special care by the Nemo Farm Animal Hospital at Cornell, Mouse is on his way to living life on four legs for the first time.
Mouse recently underwent surgery for his leg and a CT scan was used to create a 3D model that will help doctors create a prosthesis. He will live at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY.