Vol. 34, Nº 3

Meningoencephalocele, bilateral anorchia with radial and fibular hemimelia in a piglet


KEYWORDS: meningoencephalocele, anorchia, hemimelia, anophthalmos, pig

ABSTRACT: Introduction: Birth defects still remain one of the major causes of economic wastage in livestock farming. It may be caused by a number of aetiologies. Meningoencephalocele results from neural tube defect during embryology. It is incompatible with life. Materials and methods: This is a case report of a stillbirth pig, which was presented with a swelling on the frontal part of the skull, and a number of other musculoskeletal defects. The affected piglet was farrowed with 5 other piglets by a 4 year old sow with previous uneventful farrowings. All other piglets in the litter showed no physical abnormalities post parturition. Results: Gross examination revealed meningocele with a circumference of 19 cm. Necropsy and x-ray (dorso-ventral view) revealed skeletal deformities which involved the long bones and the axial skeleton. The long bones were considerably shortened, with some having a ‘twisted’ appearance, while the vertebral column showed scoliosis. X-ray also revealed non-closure of the frontal bone of the skull, which resulted in herniation of brain material. Other abnormalities included bilateral anorchia, anophthalmos, cleft lip, atresia ani and multiple skeletal deformities. A rudimentary phallus was present, but dissection of abdominal and pelvic cavities revealed absence of any identifiable reproductive organs (male or female). Conclusion: Abnormalities observed were not compatible with life. This is probably the first electronically documented report of meningoencephalocele of the pig, with the reported accompanying multi organ and skeletal abnormalities in Nigeria.