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Vaccinations and Worming


Should your pet pig be vaccinated?

That is a question of some debate in the pig world. I personally had my house pigs vaccinated yearly for their first six years then stopped. They are pets and no longer do any traveling, nor do they come in contact with any other pigs. Bonnie & Clyde our rescue pigs have never been vaccinated. Of course, if your local laws require it, then they will be vaccinated.

The vaccines are made for farm pigs and don't seem to have much value to the potbellies since the vaccines are made for one particular strain of a disease that potbellies rarely, if ever, get. If you do have it done, don't let them talk you into every year because we are seeing problems with pigs getting them too often and their immune system is so good that it ends up doing more harm than good.

We have also heard of cases where the vet over vaccinates the pig. Meaning too much of the vaccination was given for the size/weight of the pig.

If you must vaccinate, the recommended vaccinations may vary depending on where you live. Vaccinations should include Erysipelas, Bordatella, and Pasturella on a yearly basis after initial double dose at 6 -10 weeks and 12 -14 weeks. Be careful: Reactions to lepto vaccinations are common. As of this writing, rabies vaccine is not approved in pigs. Pigs are resistant to rabies and are very unlikely to contract the disease.

Using cat or dog vaccines are unacceptable. Lymes vaccine is not approved in pigs. Remember, vaccinations are expensive and if they are doubtful in value they should be avoided, especially since occasional reactions do occur.

Vaccinations can be given either in the butt muscle or in the neck about 2-3 inches behind the ear.


Your pig should be wormed twice a year. This can be done with a shot, but given orally is easiest and best. If giving orally, it is not necessary to have a vet do the procedure. The antiparasitic of choice is Ivomec 1% solution, while others are using Dectomax.

If your pot belly pigs dry skin has a somewhat red tint to it then you may have mange mites.

You can get the Ivomec at some feed stores or ask your vet to give you enough for two doses. Tell your vet you want to give it by mouth instead of in shots and he needs to give you a little more than what would be in the shot. If you cannot get it from your vet or find it at your local feed store then you will need to shop on-line. We get ours from KV Vet Supply. You are looking for Ivomec for swine, the 1% solution.

Everyone has their own way of giving Ivomec. If you go to the vets he will want to give a shot. Pigs don't handle shots very well so ask if it can it to be given orally. Some use 2/10th of a cc per 10 pounds of body weight and 1/10th of a cc per 10 pounds if given by injection. Others give 1cc per 50 pounds of body weight. This is the formula we go by here, 1cc per 50 pounds and we have never had a worm problem in over 14 years. Ivomec is safe and very hard to overdose so don't worry.

If your pig will sit nice for a treat then you can just squirt it into the side of their mouth. (Make sure it is the side of their mouth, not straight in, so it doesn't go down the wrong tube in their throat.) Or you can dampen his food just a little and squirt the Ivomec on the food and stir and they will usually eat it. If you have more then one pig keep them separated so that you make sure each pig gets his full dose.

Also remember that the pigs can build up an immunity to Ivomec so it is good at times to alternate with Dectomax. Dectomax is a pour on and it comes with a measuring bottle so you don't make a mistake. It can be ordered from Jeffers Catalog (1-800-JEFFERS). It is as good as Ivomec for up to 7 different kinds of parasites including mange.

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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.