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General Potbellied Pig Health Care


Although there are more and more vets that have had some experience with potbelly pig, it can still be difficult finding a vet with exotic pet knowledge, let alone potbelly pig knowledge or one that is willing to learn and treat your pot belly pig. PBP's are not farm hogs and should not be treated as one.

NEVER allow your vet to use Ketamine or Halothane to sedate your pig.

These drugs are not safe and can kill your pig. The only safe anesthesia to use on a pot belly pig is ISO (Isoflourine Gas). Your pet pig will go under quickly and recover quickly with no after effects. For more information on anesthetics, click here.

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Loss of Appetite

If your pig doesn't have much of an appetite or is not eating, THIS IS A BAD SIGN! A pig that has lost it's appetite is definitely sick.
The cause could be one of too many things to mention here so you should call your vet right away. Remember we are talking pigs here and they love to eat.

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Body Temperature

We are talking rectal temperatures now. Hey, these are things you NEED to know and do. If you cannot handle it, don't get a pig!

It is recommended that you take your pig's temperature once a day for one week at the same time each day. This will help you and your vet know what your pig's average temperature is.

Through a recent study (JAVMA, Vol 215, No. 3, August 1, 1999) it was concluded that potbellied pigs have a lower rectal temperature than farm pigs (or swine). We did this on our pigs for 34 days straight in January/February of 1999 as part of a larger test and discovered that their average temperature was 99.3° F, far less than what was believed to be normal.

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Sick Pig: Know the Signs

  • The first sign of a sick pig is his loss of appetite. If he does not eat like a pig then something may be wrong. A sick pig also looks sick and will not act normal. Know your pig and his routine.
  • His hair will stand on end like he is cold or when you give your pig a belly rub.
  • If, when standing, his back is hunched and his hind legs are under his body, that is a sick pig.
  • Remember, any change in behavior that is unusual could be a sign that something is wrong.
  • In any of these cases make sure you take his temperature to find out if he is running a temperature and then call your vet. The faster you act the better.

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Potbellied pigs do get constipated. This usually occurs during the winter months when they aren't walking around as much. Our pigs seem to almost hibernate during the winter and this makes for lazy pigs.

Mine get up to eat and up to potty that is it. They are not out grazing like they are able to do in the summer so they probably won't poop as much. It's called a lack of exercise. Your pig is not blocked if he is pooping.

You will know if your pig is constipated if you give his poops the step test! When you step on the poop, does it smash easily or crumble? If it crumbles rather than smashes down, it can be a a sign of constipation.

A few things to help your pig through the winter constipation blues are Piggy Lax (we use this with Ziggy and get great results), Bulky Lax, a teaspoon of olive oil on their food, some canned prunes or canned pumpkin. We use Piggy Lax here during the winter months and add the olive oil to the food year round for the older pigs.

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Poison Control

If you think your pig has gotten into some poison or eaten a poisonous plant then call: 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435) $65.00 per case. For more information go to: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center . We also suggest the VetDepot for information on pet poisoning.

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Health Articles

There are a number of excellent Health Care Articles on Potbellied Pigs on the Pig Pals Sanctuary web site. This is another great resource for medical information.

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The information presented within our information and resources section has been collected from what we consider experts and various reputable persons including vets, sanctuary owners, and private pig owners among othsrs. Information shown is the latest available. Although we have had pet pigs for 20 years and consider ourselves quite knowledgeable, we are by no means veterinarians. Any health related information presented below should be checked out with your personal veterinarian.