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Pot Bellied Pig Health and Information Articles
Just a few of the articles Phyllis has written on the care and well being of Potbellied Pigs.

FAQS Center
Here you will find Questions that people like you have asked Phyllis over the years with her Answers.

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LOTS of pictures of pigs that call Pig Pals Sanctuary home.

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A few pictures of some of the other critters that call Pig Pals Sanctuary™ home.

King Charles and BinBin

Potbellied Pig FAQ's and Information

Below: Spaying/Neutering

Q: What is the average age to neuter a male mini potbelly pig? Sincerely, Lauren

A: They can be done as young as 8 weeks, but unlike a farm pig they need to be done by a vet while they are knocked out with ISO Fluorine gas, not an indictable. Most vets have ISO fluorine but check first. There is a good article with some pictures that my vet gave me to post on my web page that you might want to take with you to your vet if he is not familiar with potbellied pigs. Neutering The Potbellied Pig

Q: I have a Vietnamese miniature potbelly female pig who is about 9-10 months old and Lilo weighs about 50-60kgs and I was wondering if it was dangerous to have her spayed at this late stage. Dottie did stress that the Vet would have to use ISO (Isoflourine Gas) and not Ketamine.

Living in Betty's Bay, South African I have not contact with anyone in the vicinity to ask advice. I would be grateful if you could give me some feedback. All the best, Debby

A: At that age she is still a good candidate for spaying. The key is a good vet who uses ISO Flourine gas. We spay them up till about two years if they are not extremely fat and are healthy in all other respects. Now that we are seeing the results of not spaying....the tumors and pyometrias etc. in females that reach ten years, it far outweighs the risk of the spays. (There are some articles on these problems on my web page) I would think your university probably does spaying there if you would want to check. Universities tend to make it into a bigger deal than it needs to be, but if you can't find a good vet they are the next choice.

Q: Thank you so much for answering my e-mail. How old does a male pig have to be to have him fixed? And is this recommended? Do they give off a scent like a cat? This is all new to us and we want to be informed Pot Belly Pig owners. Peggy

Beau is doing well and adjusting to our household nicely. He is very smart and does better day by day with his leash training.

A: The only way to keep a little boy pig as a pet is to have them neutered. If you need to have your vet check out how to do this ...my vet wrote a good article on my web page with how it is done here. Potbelly's can't be done like farm pigs because they need the Iginal ring sewed up during the surgery to prevent hernias so it's a good thing to print out my vets article and let him read it in case he isn't familiar with pots. We neuter between 8 and 9 weeks as a rule. There is an odor to a boar...that's for sure! Neutering!

Q: Hi Phyllis,The vet checked Peanut out...He ruled out tumors for now..Says it's the infection you mentioned, and put her on 2 weeks of TM2...I'm not sure what it is, but he seemed very informed about pigs, and I told him I had been in touch with you, re: the problem. He also mentioned, that if it turned out to be uterine tumors, that the only cure would be a hysterectomy.. however, because of her age, she wouldn't be a good candidate. I'm praying that the pills will cure her. Thank you again for your help. Connie

A: Hi Connie, I hate to hear that Peanut has a real problem problem...as opposed to just a small problem. You might suggest to your vet that anything like this has to be treated with a pig with much aggression. High ends of the dosage scale of "big guns" antibiotics and ask him about the Oxytocin that makes the uterus contract which helps clean it out. I'm just not sure that TMZ is strong enough to do the job by itself. We are talking about Pyometria aren't we? Which is an infection in the uterus. Let me hear from you OK? Phyllis

Q: I have an 18 month old female PBP who is sweet and gentle. We live on one acre and she has plenty of room to roam and root. Last week, we "adopted" a baby male PBP from a family that did not investigate before they ran out and got a pig. When he got to be too much for them, we agreed to take him in. It appears he wasn't weaned so we have been giving him a little goat's milk in a bottle at night. He and the big pig get along great -- though he searches her body for a teat all the time.

But he seems to have some aggressive tendencies. He is always charging at our ankles. When we shoo him away he sometimes comes back stronger. Again, he seems to be looking for a teat to suck on (which is why we got the bottle). But today he bit my elderly mother on the ankle. A very deep gash. He may have been frightened by her walker. But I fear that something else will frighten him and he will do the same thing -- this time with one of my children. Have you encountered an aggressive baby male before? He is about 2 months old. My kids are horrified that we might have to get rid of him but I am scared about this behavior. Please help. Ria

A: Hi Ria, It sounds to me like this little guy isn't neutered. Boy potbellies are sexually aggressive from the start. What he probably is trying to do is ride your ankle and he is frustrated over it. You might ask the family that had him if they got him neutered. You can usually tell with the little boys because of their actions....a lot of pushing and rooting and they come back strong when pushed away. They usually will foam around the mouth and their breath will have a strong odor...we call it boar breath.

What he is searching for on your female isn't a teat if he is indeed an intact boar. They have been known to be able to produce babies as young as nine weeks so until you know for sure you might want to keep them separate. The fact that he gets along with her tells me too that he is probably a boar. Females won't fight a boar. This could turn into a disaster if you don't keep them separate as then the babies will breed mom and the sisters will get bred by the brothers and it turns into a big mess of way too many pigs in a short period of time. If you can do it and you want to keep him he should be neutered as soon as possible and kept away from your girl until you can get it done. They don't make good pets unless they are neutered...too much else on their minds. They CAN NOT be neutered like farm pigs as most of the testicles are internal on a pot. Check out my webpage there is an article written by my vet for other vets on neutering the potbellied pig. Neutering The Potbellied Pig

Q: Hi, I have a pot-belied pig that is 8 weeks old. I had him netured 2 days ago. He just screams and screams when you pick him up now. Is this common because he is sore? If so how long should I wait to pick him up. Thanks, Kim

A: I would wait a while before picking him up...which is something they don't really like on a good day. Seems that the only time a pigs feet leave the ground in the natural state is when a predator picks them up to carry them off...so you can see why it might upset them. But you need to let him lay with you on the floor and check out the tummy area too...just in case there is something wrong.

Eight weeks is extremely young to be able to neuter one...not much there at eight weeks to work with. My vet prefers them at about 12 weeks and 25lbs. Check under the tummy...up between the hind legs etc. for any lumps which would indicate a problem. A hernia would look like a tiny tumor...soft and squishy swelling that can be anywhere but usually is high up on the inside of a hind leg or right down the center of the belly. Go to articles section of the web site. There is one there that my vet wrote on neutering the pot belly pig. He wrote it for vets but it tells why the Iginal ring must be sewn on these young ones to prevent hernias....they can't be neutered like farm pigs because the testicles are more internal than external. You didn't say if your vet did him like a pot or like a farm pig but if he was done farm pig style than they hung him up by his hind legs and did it and YES he would be very sore for a while. Let me know ok?

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Q: We have a 5 year old male potbelly that weighs around 300lbs at a guess. We have raised him since he was 3 months old and never had him neutered. We did not know that it was the best for them. He has developed a knot on his left testicle in the past 2 months but we are unable to find a vet that takes care of potbellies. Can you give us an idea as to what this may be and if you know of any vets in West Virginia or surrounding areas that can take care of him. We have had him to a vet for minor things but we want someone that knows how to put him to sleep for surgery.

He is very active and has a good appetite as you have read but he is not over weight we can see his eyes and his hoofs are in very good shape. We love him very much and want to find the best vet so that he can get better. We would like to find someone that does house calls because he does not like to ride but we are willing to take him anywhere that is needed. We would also like to know what to give him to keep him calm for the ride. Thank you for you time and we love reading your site. Andrea

A: Andrea, your boy has developed a testicular tumor and it will have to be removed and at the same time take off the other testicle to avoid it going to that one. This is not a hard surgery to do and tumor is local in the testicle so once it's removed he should be just fine for the rest of his life. I'm going to send you to an email address of a lady that lives in WV who might have a vet that will do this for you. You will have to take him in to her but guess it depends on how far you are from her. She did the same surgery for this lady I'm giving you the email for with great results. When you email please tell her that I referred you to her to give out her vets name and number and location...and title the post PIG NEEDS HELP...that way she will pay attention. linda_henriksen@hotmail.com If you want to call her her prefix is the same as yours....304 758 4766 her name is Linda Henricksen hope this helps and let me know OK? Phyllis


Q: Thank you for taking the time to answer me. I have made an appointment with the Vet but it is a four hour drive and Suie (Funny name for a boy but my husband named him) is not use to a car or truck. The last time we had him in a car he was only about 50 pounds and he was really scared. I have a Blazed that I can put him in the back to take him to the vet I was just wondering what is the best way to haul a potbelly and is there anything that is safe for me to give him to make him sleep or to calm him so we can make it to the vet. I would take him to a vet around here but no one takes care of Pots and I am so afraid that something will happen to him if they don't know what they are doing. I also wanted to know do these tumors hurt and how bad do they get. We are going to get it taken out but I want to make sure that he is not suffering while I am waiting to take him. Thank you for your time.

A: Hi Andrea, The best way to haul any pig is inside a pet carrier but that depends on the size of the pig and how big a carrier you might have. He also could go in the back of the Blazer...have had several brought here that way but put down some old blankets cause pigs that aren't used to travel usually make a mess. Regular tranquilizers that they give dogs don't work well on pigs and can have the opposite effect. We don't give anything for travel and usually after the first hour they settle down.

As for the tumor itself...I don't think there is a lot of pain involved at the beginning..just a bit uncomfortable but if not removed it will certainly grow much worse. These tumors are almost always malignant but contained. (Thanks to them being in the testicle sack) We like to get them out early as possible just to make sure they don't spread from there. Once they start growing they grow very fast and can become huge in a short time making it difficult for the pig to walk or function and making the surgery much more difficult to do. The surgery is really no worse than a neuter other than getting the tumor out of the sack itself. I have never known of a pig that got the surgery that didn't go on to live a normal life span. My vet tells me that if one has to have cancer that this is the best place to have it because it is contained and they can take it all out with no problems.


Q: We took our pig Friday to the vet and she neutered him. He is not swelling very much and the cut looks good. What should we watch for in case of infection? He is up walking around but is still sleepy from the drive and surgery. How long will it take him to heal and should we do anything, he is an outside potbelly just because he does not like staying inside to much.

A: Andrea, he may not swell much at all and that's good too. They are fast healing critters so within a few days he should be his ole self again. (or as much his ole self as he is going to be since he no longer is a "boy") The only concern I have with the outside pigs is the fly problem which is terrible here. I keep a little fly spray on them and if you need some around the incision than I use a horse product called SWAT that you can get at the farm stores. It's a salve for cuts etc. but you don't want to put it right on the incision in his case cause you want it to be able to drain if it needs too so just smear it around the incision sides and it keeps the flies away. If you can't find that then just use a gentle fly spray for animals and wipe him down with it. I don't spray it on them just put it on a rag and wipe them down with some. Glad the whole thing is over for him ....and you And that things are going well. Stay in touch.

Q: Your web site mentions the importance of spaying and neutering the piglets. However, I do not see any info about the female piglet.

Is their spaying different than a vet would use for a small dog/cat? Are there detailed descriptive instructions for spaying to give to my vet?

My vet is hesitant to spay my piglets. In my farm community I have met no vets who have ever spayed a pig.

A: About four months of age is the best time for spaying females. There isn't much difference in doing a pig than doing a dog on the females. The same recommendations hold true for the use of Isoflorine gas as with the males.

Q: Last week I rescued an (approximately) 8 week old male pig from out local animal shelter. Otis is doing well and has bonded with Lilly-one of my adult female rescued pigs. I have never had a male pig before so I need some advice. I had the vet come out yesterday to neuter him and it was discovered that only one of his testicles dropped -the other is in his abdomen-much smaller-but still too large to ever drop.

That means surgery to neuter him-at a high cost -at least $300. Our Humane Society operates on air (as all do) and has no funds to assist me. Is there any other alternative? I understand that he will be a better pet if neutered and I am also concerned as I do not know if the two adult rescued female pigs I presently have are neutered. They are all kept in their own pens in the Piggery but Otis and Lilly show signs of getting along together in the same pen which would be great (I think) as Lilly has never gotten along with any other pig.well enough to let them be together.

I am also concerned about the anethesia on the little guy (he only weighs 16-17 pounds) The Oregon State Veterinary Medicine School Vets were going to use a tranquilizer on him for what we thought was ging to be a routine spay....even that worried me though. Your website discusses older pigs and sedation but not little ones. I appreciate any guidance you can share with me!

A: From experience I can tell you that it certainly helps if you can get the other testicle out. With a retained one they tend to still think like a boar and smell like a boar and act like a boar...not pretty if your looking for a pet. Also think the disposition gets worse with these guys when they grow up. In my opinion eight weeks is a little young for that invasive a surgery. Its a hunt it up type thing....it could be anywhere in there. I also don't care for the anesthesia on one that young again so soon.

It won't hurt to wait a while to get it done or at least till he reaches four months or so or at least 25lbs but that's only safe if the retained testicle isn't close to the opening which means he could possibly make babies with your female. Just to be on the safe side I would separate them until all work is done (these guys can breed at nine weeks or so). 

I'm also a little concerned about you said the vet CAME out to neuter him. I hope that wasn't barn yard style surgery as the inguinal ring doesn't get sewn up with that and they can herniate. You might want to print out the article that my vet wrote that is on my web page about neutering the pot bellied pig. You didn't say if they took the one testicle out or not...if not than he for sure should be kept separate until it is done. There are a couple of organizations out here that might help with your neuter bill since this is a rescue. I know that UPPR would help and when the time comes email me and I will get in touch with them and the other organization that helps with neuters. They will want the vets name and address and any help gets mailed directly to the vet that does the job. They seldom take over the whole bill but they do take care of some of it depending on the circumstances involved. 

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