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Common Pig Illnesses

Learn about common pig illnesses in this Howcast video featuring Ross Mill Farm president Susan Magidson.


There are a few illnesses potbelly pigs can get because they're living in your home that you should be on the look out for. One of them is urinary tract infections, crystals, that type of thing; so you should be monitoring everyday when they go outside to do their business or they're doing their business in the house in the potty box. You need to monitor that urine flow, the color, and so on to make sure if anything is happening especially with those little boys. You can be on top of it quickly. Same with constipation, make sure that they're eating a high fiber diet, that they're grazing as frequently as they can that will with constipation a great deal, that they're drinking enough water and those are things that are easy for you to monitor.

Another thing that they can have is something that's called 'Dippity Pig' and it's very important because some people are really concerned when they see it. Right here in this small of their back they develop almost like a herpes virus and it's very painful. All of the nerves that are next to the skin are very, very sensitive and that's what causes their hind legs to dip down and why we call it Dippity Pig. We don't know what it is, we don't know what causes it but we do know that it usually only happens in a few hours to a few days and the pig is over it and it does not need any medical attention. However you should put the pig in a quiet environment, let it sleep so that it doesn't have to move around. It will continue to eat during this time and if you suspect that your pig has Dippity Pig you should be calling a veterinarian to be sure that that is what you're seeing.

Parasite control is also very important. All pigs should be wormed so that they pass any worms that they may have. Right after you get them home from the breeder you can go ahead and get them wormed right away. And also that will help with any mange. Mange is a mite, it's on the surface of the skin. It's microscopic, you can't see it, it's not like a flee. It reproduces rather quickly and will cause extreme itching to the animal. In the case of swine mange, it doesn't cause a lot of hair loss until it's really at its very, very severe case. In order to get rid of mange you need to give your pig a worming medicine called Ivermectin, and there's another one called Dectomax, and that should do it but you do need to treat them two times ten days apart, ten days to two weeks. That should take care of both the adult mite as well as the eggs that might be hatching. It's very important to do that, even a couple of times a year. I recommend spraying in the fall, a good time to just worm your pig.

Another is overeating, probably the number one problem we have with pet pigs. Overeating, obesity can cause blindness because the fat just keeps growing over their eyes and they can't see anymore. Not because there's anything wrong with the eyes but because the fat just completely covers their eyes as much as a blindfold would cover your eyes. Hearing loss, they get hearing loss because that fat just keeps growing and growing and growing right over those poor little ears and they can't hear very well. It's more like when you're listening to something that's muffled and that causes behavior issues as well. You don't want that to happen but worst case is the arthritic conditions that these extreme overweight pigs get early on. There's so much weight put on a joint that wasn't meant to have that much weight. So arthritic conditions happen early on these pigs and sometimes that can be genetic and sometimes that can be an infection. So if your pig is lame you need to see a veterinarian to make sure you're treating it properly. It could be a number of different things.

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