Henrietta, the hog found roaming loose this winter with a big, bony mass on her left foreleg, has a return trip to Raleigh on Monday.
Surgery was delayed after a February examination at the N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine when the 400-pound hog had difficulty under anesthesia. Doctors decided to give her more time to recover before removing the tumor.
“She wasn’t quite herself,” said Dr. Callie Fogle, an equine surgeon. “It took her a little while to figure out how to use her legs again, and she was pretty distressed about that.”
Henrietta’s had a lot of stress.
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She was found in Sampson County in January, underweight, with both ears chewed off by a dog or dogs, and the mass on her leg.
Most likely an abandoned pet, she was taken into custody and put up for adoption. Several offers came in to take her for slaughter.
Instead Triangle Chance for All, a small farm-animal sanctuary in northern Chatham County, adopted her. The sanctuary mostly works with chickens, so they boarded her with Dr. Kristie Mozzachio, a veterinarian and pig lover in Cedar Grove, just north of Hillsborough in Orange County.
“The plan is to do leg surgery, hopefully do a spay (operation) a few days after, and then bring her back to Kristie’s for recovery,” said Justin Van Kleeck, who runs the sanctuary with his wife, Rosemary. “We are hoping to find her a local home – probably not with Kristie, but you never know!”
The mass looked benign on the January scan, Fogle said. But the exam revealed Henrietta also had an old fracture on the top of her ulna, which in humans corresponds to one of the two long bones that makes up the arm between the elbow and wrist. It’s likely that the mass developed after the fracture, Fogle said.
Her caregivers don’t know how long ago she got hurt or how.
The tricep muscle has atrophied, and her shoulder is essentially frozen in place. But Henrietta uses the leg, which stays in an bent position, to stay balanced when lying down.
“It is doubtful she will ever regain use of that leg,” said Van Kleeck, who initially had hoped Henrietta might be able to get a prosthetic leg.
“We are hoping to get her a brace for the good leg, and a protective sleeve for the bad one,” he said. “A dangling leg has risks, but at least she would not lose it.”
Want to help?
Triangle Chance for All has raised most of the antcipated $6,000 cost of Henrietta’s surgery and CT scan. To contribute to her ongoing care or to learn more about the sanctuary’s work with rescued farm animals, go to