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General Potbellied Pig Information

Glossary: Know What Different Pig Terms Mean

Abscess: A walled-off wound, usually infected with Streptococcus.

Afterbirth: Fetal membranes and/or placenta which can be expelled during the birth of each piglet, or afterwards.

Amino Acids: Components of protein that are essential to development and life. There are over 25 different types of Amino Acids. Various breeds of animals (including pot belly pigs) require various and different Amino Acids during different stages of growth.

Anemia: A condition caused by lack of iron, especially in baby piglets. Baby pigs should be given an Oral Iron Supplement or some dirt to root in.

Anthrax: Usually fatal infectious disease transmissible to humans. Kills by blood poisoning and suffocation. Swollen throats, high temperatures, and bloody feces. Treatment is not effective. Vaccine available. Remember Anthrax has been around for "a very long time".

Antibiotic: A substance derived from certain fungi or bacteria that inhibits or destroys the growth of various microorganisms. (Penicillin)

Antitoxin: An antibody produced in the blood in response to the toxins in certain microorganisms.

Arthritis: An inflammation of the joints that can be caused by walking on hard, damp surfaces. Several treatments are available.

Barrow: A male hog that is castrated at a young age before becoming mature.

Blowing Coat: When your pig sheds his hair. Usually in the spring or summer.

Boar: An adult male hog that has not been neutered.

Brucellosis: Bacterial infection caused by Brucella suis that can cause abortion, weak or stillborn piglets and sterility.

Castration: Extraction of testes of a male animal.

Cholera: Serious disease that must be reported to state veterinarians. High fever, constipation, matted eyes, diarrhea, convulsions, death. Vaccine available. Treatment not always successful.

Coccidiosis: Form of enteritis or scours causing inflammation of intestines and profuse diarrhea and weight loss. Treatment available. Often associated with poor pen management.

Colostrum: "First" milk that contains antibodies to diseases to which the mother is resistant and passes on to her young for temporary immunity.

Compost: A mixture of manure, earth and other organic waste materials that is "fermented" until broken down. Usually used in gardens and flower beds.

Constipation: Difficulty in passing an unusually hard stool. Use "Piggy Lax" regularly and your pet pig will be regular.

Creep Feeding: A feed setup that contains an area with food (Starter Feed) that the piglets can enter, but the mother cannot.

Crossbreeding: Mating of two distinct breeds of animals.

Cryptorchidism: Condition where neither testes has descended into the scrotum.

Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin. Can be caused by allergy, nutritional deficiencies, reaction to sunlight, or infectious materials.

Dewclaw: The two small hooves on the back of the foot.

Dippity Pig: A skin condition that causes the pig to drop it's hind end and scream in pain; as if unable to walk. Oozing sores along the pigs spinal cord are another sign. Can be treated. The cause is still unknown.

Enterotoxemia: A disease causing severe diarrhea in piglets. Can be treated with antitoxin.

Enzyme: A protein secreted by the body that acts as a catalyst in promoting chemical change.

Erysipelas: Disease caused by widespread, persistent bacteria which causes fever, lack of appetite, sore joints, and weakness. A chronic form appears as arthritis. Vaccination available. Treatment possible.

Estrus: Active portion of the reproductive cycle where the female becomes receptive to the male.

Farrow: Terminology used for swine giving birth.

Farrowing Pen: An area designated for farrowing, usually containing rails or an area where piglets can retreat to avoid crushing by mother. Sometimes called "farrowing crate."

Froathing: The white foam from the mouth that a pig makes when agitated or excited, usually over food.

Gestation: The period of pregnancy in the female. The easiest way to remember is approximately 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days.

Gilt: Young female swine.

Hernia: Displacement of an organ or part of an organ through an abnormal opening in the wall that normally contains it. Can be abdominal, umbilical, etc. This can be hereditary.

Heterosis: Hybrid vigor-increased vitality due to crossbreeding.

Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar content often affecting young pigs due to low milk production by the mother.

Immunity: Ability of a body to recognize substances foreign to itself, and to destroy, immobilize or neutralize them without injuring itself.

Immunization: Making an individual resistant to a harmful agent.

Inbreeding: Deliberate mating of closely related individuals to preserve desirable characteristics as in father-daughter, mother-son, sister-brother.

Influenza: Highly contagious respiratory disease caused by many different viruses. Vaccines are available for some of them. Treatment is for the secondary infections.

Lactation: The production of milk.

Leptospirosis: Kidney infection with fever, bloody urine, abortions, low milk production, etc. Vaccine is available. Treat with antibiotics.

Lice: External skin parasite causing violent scratching, rubbing and general discomfort. Can be treated with louse spray or powder.

Line Breeding: Breeding of closely related individuals to enhance certain characteristics. They are usually more than one generation distant.

Mange: Demodex or sarcoptic. Caused by invisible mites that borrow into the skin or hair follicle causing intense itching. Sprays or powders are available that are effective in controlling them.

Mastitis: Inflammation of the mammary tissues.

Middlings: Byproducts of milling certain grains comprised of fine particles of germ and bran.

Mites: Microscopic insect that causes mange.

Mohawk: The hair along the pigs spine that goes up and down when agitated or enjoying a belly rub.

Monorchid: Condition where only one testis has descended into the scrotum.

Monogastric: Non-ruminant digestive system containing a simple stomach system.

Mycoplasma Pneumonia: Respiratory disease characterized by continuous coughing. Treatment available.

Needle Teeth: The eight tiny teeth present at birth that must be clipped to prevent injury to sows mammary tissues other piglets ears, etc.

Overeating: Is caused by overfeeding. This may in turn cause digestive problems, excessive weight gain, poor reproductive abilities, poor mothering, etc.

Overlaying: Crushing of babies by sow, as she lies down.

Ovulation: Period in estrus when ova are released.

Oxytocin: A hormone that increases smooth muscle contraction, including uterine contraction, and causes milk letdown.

Pasteurellosis: Shipping Fever. Lung disease which can be treated by antibiotics. Vaccine available.

Piglets: Infant pigs.

Pneumonia: Respiratory inflammation caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and other factors. Treatable with antibiotics.

Pseudorabies: Contagious disease of the brain and nerves.

PSS or Porcine Stress Syndrome: Pneumonia like symptoms. Could be of genetic origin.

Rescue Center: A place that takes in animals in the hopes of placing them in good homes. This is just a temporary home until then.

Rickets: Dietary deficiency disorder of bones and joints due to inadequate vitamin D, calcium, and/or phosphorus.

Rooting: Natural behavior of swine using cartilaginous snout to unearth food.

Salmonellosis: Intestinal infection contracted from contaminated food or water. Similar to food poisoning in humans. Antibiotic and fluid treatment.

Sanctuary: A place of refuge and protection. A place that offers care and safety for the life of the pig. A forever home.

Sarcoptic: A mite that causes a type of mange.

Scrotum: Sac enclosing the testes.

Shoat: A young pig.

Sigmoid: The "S" shaped flexure of the penis.

SMEDI: (Stillbirth, mummification, embryonic death and infertility) A combination of several diseases.

Sow: Adult female swine, usually has given birth to one or more litters.

Stag: A boar that has been castrated as an adult.

Standing Heat: Period during estrus when the female will permit mounting and penetration by the male.

TGE: Highly contagious disease, with diarrhea, weight loss, dehydration. Vaccinations are available. Antibiotics may help.

Trichinosis: Parasitic disease of swine (can be transmissible to humans) caused by Trichinella spiralis. Usually the worm is found in raw garbage which may be consumed by the pig.

Tusk: Upper and lower canine teeth which grow curved and upwards.

Vulva: Female genital opening.

Wallow: Mud hole made by pigs to keep cool and control parasites.

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 others. 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.

Pigs are where it's at.

ALL pet pigs should be spayed or neutered before sold. They should be at least 6-8 weeks of age and weaned from mom.

PLEASE do your homework before getting a pig for a pet. Make sure that you are zoned for pigs as pets. Is there a vet in your area that will see mini pigs?

Please make sure that you're ready to commit to this pet for the next 12-15 plus years. The truth is that the potbellied pig is only a good pet for those who take commitment and responsible pet ownership very seriously.


"Potbelly pigs are not products you just throw away when you get bored or become overwhelmed. They are intelligent, caring creatures who depend on you for their survival.

PLEASE: Do your homework BEFORE getting one. Don't be stubborn or worse, ignorant. Know the facts before you get into unexpected problems."

Richard Slayton
Proud Pot Belly Pig Dad.
Animal Poison Control

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is your best resource for any poison-related emergency, 24/7, 365. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call 888.426.4435. A $65 per case fee may apply.