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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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Potbellied Pig FAQ's and Information

Below: Urinary Tract Infection

Q: I have a pig that decided not to eat at all this a.m. He urinated a lot as usual, but I found the color orange which I don't believe to be normal for him. He is neutered, has been from early. A friend with some experience working with vets thinks it is his teeth bothering him, and that they need to be cut and burned not to grow again. It is Saturday and I am crazy looking for someone who knows about pigs. Have not taken the temperature, don't have a thermometer for rectal use. Suggestions?

A: Hi Richard, could be that your boy has a urinary tract infection or kidney infection. A pig that doesn't is SICK. You need to get a temp on him and normal for a potbelly is 98 to 101 (farm pigs are 102) if he is running any fever at all get some antibiotics into him as soon as possible. If he isn't eating oral ones won't work...he needs an injection and its important to do this as they dehydrate quickly when ill. You didn't say if he is still drinking or not. Let me hear OK?


Q: Thank you very much for your reply. To update, I took him to a veterinarian yesterday. He says he has a liver infection. He examined stool and urine samples which Alberto, (my boy's name) readily deposited on the exam room floor just as they were about to examine him. He gave him injections for parasites which he said were from other animal waste, (I have dogs also) and to increase his appetite, as well as antibiotics. The temperature was 102 which he said was normal, but I had read on your sight that this was not so. I let it be as he gave an antibiotic shot which I had also read on your sight was important. He sent home with me antibiotic capsules, doxycycline. The strength I am not sure of. Last evening Alberto ate. I took quartered tomatoes and emptied the capsules into a section of tomato. Alberto ate them and and more. I have always fed vegetables and fruits. He ate as well as the tomato.

Sorry to make this so long, but I feel you know the fellows well from your sight info, and thought the more info I give you the more suggestions you might have. I apologize for expecting someone to provide me with information for free. Thanks again, and if you have a chance to reply, I will be most appreciative. Richard

A: Hi Richard, I'm so glad the web site is there for a helping hand. Don't EVER be hesitant to ask for help for Alberto. That's what the info is for. I'm also glad that you knew that 102 isn't the norm for these guys but as long as the vet gave the antibiotic that was the important thing. The cycline antibiotics are popular with kidney and liver problems and will work for Alberto if that indeed is his problem. As for his shot for parasites...this is probably Ivomectin which we all use twice yearly Spring and Fall for worms, mange and lice. It is an injectable but can be given by mouth which most of us with lots of pigs do because its easier on us and the pigs.

Most of us also have dogs and my vet tells me that the pig worms are species specific... or pigs won't get dog worms and vice versa. Who knows? But we give it mainly for the mange that is passed from pigs to dogs and even to people and dogs can give the pigs mange also. It is the scarcoptic kind which can be a problem for pigs dogs and us but the Ivomectin works great.

In reading your post I'm not sure if you mean you feed veggies and fruits all the time as a part of the diet or is this his complete diet. I never recommend a total veggie and fruit diet as these guys are omnivores meaning they eat meat and veggies. They can't make their own protein in their body so it is incorporated into the pig chow that is fed to them. It is important that they have this to keep the immune system up to par and their general health good. In their natural state pigs eat worms grubs and even small animals. Since we prefer to live with ours as pets we certainly don't want them doing this! LOL. That is why the need for pig food was seen at an early time and feed companies now put it out in a packaged form.

We don't feed potbelly pig chow here at the sanctuary but we do feed pig chow maintenance food. Any feed store should be able to get that for you and the price of a 50 lb bag is about 5.50 ...There are ones that cost more in the farm pig feeds but they are for growing pigs which you don't want nor sow chows for pregnant pigs..both of which are a little too high in protein for a steady diet. If you ask for the cheapest type you are in the ball park. Or Purina has a potbellied food called Mazuri which a lot of people feed who have just one or two pigs to feed. This is the only way they can get protein that is essential for good health and I ask people if they want to give fruits and veggies as part of the diet that's OK but the pig chow should be the basic diet and the other added as snacks or treats.

Here is my phone number should you ever need help for the boy in a hurry. (Although sometimes its easier to get me by e-mail than the phone) 618 459 3619 I hope Alberto continues to improve and the crisis is over but please keep me posted on his progress and feel free to ask questions when needed.

Q: I have a 13 year old female PBP who has stopped eating. She drinks water regularly and is urinating a normal yellow color. It has been at least a week since she has had food. Will not eat anything!!

She has had a mucousie, greenish-yellow discharge ( I was not able to tell if it came from the vagina or urethra) that was discovered a short while ago when she kept having a chronic dirt-clod-on-the-tail problem.

NONE of the vets in this area will even talk to me about a PBP. One, about a half hour away at least talked to me. Said if it was a UTI, antibiotics would work. If it was uterine, nothing would work except spaying and she wouldn't even consider it on a pig Charlotte's age. Said to give her antibiotics (penicillin) for 5 to 7 days. If she wasn’t better to call her about putting her to sleep. Like most of the people on this site (I read the FAQ), getting my pig (~100-120#) to the vet would be almost impossible without a livestock trailer. I don't have access to one of those. Besides, none would treat her.

Based on the complete lack of advice and help I've received (my regular vet treats livestock and they wouldn't even talk to me; couldn't hang up fast enough) I'm treating her as follows:

Twice daily injections of Tylosin 50 (9cc based on weight) which equates to 2 injections each time (4 a day) because you cannot inject more than 5cc in one site. I feel SO awful doing this. She tries to squeal but is really too weak for much protesting. This for 3 days.

A nutritional supplement called Pronurse. Resorting to forcing as much as possible into her mouth with a turkey baister. At least half she lets run out. She doesn't like it and won't drink it freely. We took her water out of her pen last night in hopes that she would drink the supplement. Not sure if she drank it or dumped it. She was trying to turn the pan over this morning when I gave her more. I even put molasses in it. I gave her water out of fear of dehydration.

What can I do to help my pig! She was dumped here 13 years ago. I rescued her from my dogs (whom she has outlived) and made a friend of her. She likes to help me in the garden (by grunting and rooting) and would do a "dance" - turn around in a circle- for tortillas when she was younger. Arthritis has ended her dancing days, but she still loves her tortillas. Now she won't even eat those!!

A: I'm sorry to say that most of what you hear is true. This sounds very much like Pyometria which is more common than we would like in un spayed females of this age. Surgery is the only sure cure and as your vet says is iffy at her age to say the least. We have saved some that age but have lost some too. The decision to do it should that have been an option should have been made as soon as possible as each day they get weaker and less able to handle the surgery.

There have been rare cases where the antibiotic treatment did work so that is the route you evidently are trying to go but with her in the current condition my hopes would not be high. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus and after a time it becomes systemic going all through her system. My only suggestion to you would be to give her all the love and attention you can till the end or ask that your farm vet put her down for you. There is a right way and wrong way to do that terrible part too and you can read it on my website under the article the older pig . I'm sorry and wish I could give you a way to fix her. My thoughts are with you and her during this time.

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Q: I have a potbelly pig that is 10 & 3/4 years old. He sleeps on the back pouch, but is/was allowed the run of the house until just recently. About a month ago, Henry got up and didn't eat all of his morning breakfast of pig food, and then walked on out doors. I didn't think a lot about this since he does this occasionally. I left home about 11 am and when I arrived back home about 3 that afternoon he was in his bed and had labored breathing. I really think he was unconscious since he didn't acknowledge ANYTHING! I called about 9-10 vets locally and unless I could pick him up and carry him into the vet's office they just wouldn't talk to me. A friend called about 5 when I just knew Henry was going to die and suggested a vet about 20 miles outside of Augusta, This vet was very kind and told me to give him 10 mg of penicillin twice a day for 5 days and 5 mg for the next 5 days. He also told me to work two in between 5 and 10 that night before I went to bed. I gave Henry one shot as soon as I

Day two-three:
The next day Henry was conscious and breathing much better. This continued for the next two days and each day he seemed to be a little better, but during all of this time, he refused to eat or drink anything. I would try and put water down his throat, but it just ran out the side of his mouth or he would cough it up like he was drowning. So I was convinced that he was going to die right then and there and there was nothing I could do.

Day four:
I called my son who got in touch with a large/farm animal vet 35 miles away and this time I seemed to have more luck. This vet agreed with the first vet and thought that Henry had pneumonia but that penicillin wasn't strong enough for him and so prescribed Excenel, an antibiotic, once a day for 3 days and if it worked then I was to do it for 3 more days.

Day five:
Excenel did the trick and so I continued it for 5 more days. At the end of the five days Henry was still weak and sluggish, but he was eating and drinking water and wanted to come back in the house.

Day 6 until now---Nov 14:
Although Henry is now well of peumoniaz, he leaks from his bladder. The large/farm animal vet suggested the male hormone and said it might "tighten him up." I gave him this shot and it did help. In fact Henry seems better now than he did a year ago and I thought he was doing well then. The dripping is also better, but he still leaks when he lies down. He is no longer allowed in the house at all because when he lies down, he leaks so much. He doesn't drip when he walks though and so the hormone did help that part of the bladder problem.

Yesterday Henry stood at the door looking in and barked. I don't know that I have ever heard him bark and when I heard him at first I honestly thought it was the dog. He barked and barked and then yell in a loud squeal. I felt sorry for him, but I can not let him in my house to destroy my oriental rugs. Once that urine smell gets into them, it is forever. Becky

A: There are hormone pills that they give to dogs for this problem that do work on the pigs if her vet is willing to give them to her. There is also a possibility that this will go away over time as those muscles controlling it gain more strength again. I would watch closely for a time to make sure that he is peeing like he should....drugs can sometimes affect the kidneys and you want to make sure he is making and passing plenty of urine when he goes normally. Or you can slide a flat pan under him while he is going and collect a sample to take in to the vet (do this in a clean washed pan and then into a washed bottle or container) to have checked for blood,PH or infection. It won't be a sterile sample so there will be normal bacteria in it but shouldn't be in numbers to worry about if all is well. AFTER she rules out any infections is the time to put him on the hormone pills daily.

Q: Hi, My potbellied pig "Poomba" has not been drinking water as usual. She usually drinks the entire bowl within a few mins. but lately there has been water left over. This is very unusual for her. I started noticing white deposits remaining after she urinated a couple of months ago but she was drinking fine. A friend that raises farm pigs said that there was no concern there. She is approximately 7 years old.

Here recently the urine appears to be dark red and brown indicating possible blood in the urine. What do you suggest I do? The many vets I have contacted will only diagnose her condition if I bring her in. It is impossible for me to transport her because of her size. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Lynn

A: Lynn it's possible your girl has a urinary tract infection. You wouldn't have to take the pig in if you get a sample of the urine and take that in and tell them you want to check for infection and blood in it and that you suspect a urinary infection. That way if they check it they will give you the stuff to treat her with. (Or they should) Also, if there isn't infection you will then know that too. I usually use a paper cup and catch it as it comes out.

Sometimes large animal vets are easier to get medication out of than the small animal vets...especially in cases like yours where the animal would be so hard to get in. They also are more likely to do farm calls if they are needed and to just give antibiotic shots any ole vet will do if it comes to that but most large animal vets if they do the urine sample will give you the meds to treat it with if you ask for oral meds. (Use the weight formula on my website to give them an idea of weight so they will know what dosage to give). And if she is still eating well you can give oral antibiotics instead of doing shots and that works just as well (just don't let them give you Baytril as a drug cause you can't get that in a pig no matter what you put it in...even the chewable ones pigs will not take).

The white stuff you saw is probably just the sloughing off of the bladder wall and isn't a problem. I took some in once to have it checked and thats what it was. Most pigs that aren't drinking as much as they should will drink better if you put juice in the water bowl. We use Cranapple juice here and they seem to love it...you can start out with it almost all Cranapple until she finds out what it is and how good it tastes than you can add some water to it to about half and half. Keep me posted OK?

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