Saturday, January 26, 2008

What's a gigli wire used for anyway?

DH has learned to use a new tool. It's called a gigli wire and it's a surgical instrument used to cut bone or, in this case, horn.

Two of our Shetland wethers have horns that needed trimming. I knew we needed a gigli wire to do the job but didn't know where to buy one. The local farm store, which stocks all the usual med supplies, said they hadn't carried them in years. I guess horned livestock aren't as popular as they used to be? Who knows.

Ended up ordering one from a surgical supply store down the road in Roanoke. There was a few weeks delay as they had to order from the German manufacturer but finally it came in the mail.

The saw looks like a piece of woven wire and has a ring on each end. You can buy a type of handle to put thru the rings but DH fashioned his own with some duct tape and a couple of large nails. The wire is wrapped around the horn and crossed so you draw back and forth on the wire from each side so it saws thru the horn.

It's very fast -- takes more time to describe the action than to saw the tip off one horn. The vet had told me we could take off up to 1-1/2" of horn from each horn end or, to measure from the skull, leave about 5" of horn on the sheep. The idea is to not cut into the quick, the blood vessel that runs through the middle of the "live" part of the horn. So it's like trimming a dog's nail only the horn is too dark to be able to see the vein as you sometimes can in a dog's nail.

Considering the vet would charge $175 to do the job and the gigli wire cost less than $15 including shipping and took about 20 minutes of DH's time, I'd say DH made a wise decision when he decided to learn another shepherding skill.


C. Michael Arnold said...

How many inches long was your Gigli wire saw? I see all sorts of sizes online but don't want to get it so long that it's not manageable or so short that I can't get the job done (sawing hog tusks). - Mike Arnold, Eugene, Oregon

Carolyn said...

A 20" wire was adequate for the sheep horns and allowed for about 6" of wire on each side after encircling the horn. Plenty of length for the necessary sawing action. Good luck with the hog tusks.

Onifade,Uche said...

Hi, Is the gigli wire from Aesculap? If yes, does it cut when you were using it.
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