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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Anesthetics / Sedation

Q: Hi, My husband and I are proud parents of a mini pot bellied pig named Ariel. She is 28 months old and we have a big problem. She won't let us trim her nails and they are getting quite long. She is scared of the trimmer we use now and won't let my husband get near her. We had the vet out here to give her an anesthetic shot and it made her very sick. So now we don't know what to do. Maybe you could give me some other alternatives. Thank you. Beth

A: Hi Beth, was reading your post and thinking. At 28 months her feet shouldn't be all that bad. The fact that the vet knocked her out with injectables and she lived through it tells me she is in pretty good shape.

Injectables with pots just doesn't work very well and sometimes they don't come out of it at all. There is a place for injectables when it's that or nothing...like on some of the sanctuary pigs that come in that we can't touch or hold for the ISO Fluorene gas mask or those that need surgery that we can't touch.

Your question about trimming is one problem that I wish we could find a way to fix forever, but that doesn't seem to be the case. If your going to have the vet do the trimming then make sure the vet has ISO Fluorene gas and that he uses NOTHING else with it. NO injectable to take the edge off ...in other words nothing, but the ISO. Should this vet ever need to know or use an injectable you might take the formula off the web site and give it to him.

It is there for pigs that can't be handled the regular way, but is not the method of choice. The ISO Fluorene is the best route to go if the pig has to be knocked out. They come out real quick and even with surgery patients they are up and walking within a few minutes of taking the mask off.

Now for how it can be done without anesthetics. We do the pigs here once a year and no injectables are used. We rub tummies till they go down and quickly with one on the front and one on the back roll the pig to its back. They can't do anything but scream a lot in that position, and then we trim hooves. I don't know how big this pig is, but we have done 300 pounders that way with no problem.

If it's a small pig then maybe your husband flip her....you straddle the pig and pick up behind the front legs and flip the pig onto its butt with its back up against your chest...then you can trim the front feet and nip a little off the back too if needed.

Now with all that said you might want to try putting some goodies on the floor and while she is grabbing you can nip a little off especially the front ones and dew claws. This is the hard way, but works for some people. You just have to follow her around as she keeps moving to keep you away from the feet. Hope some of this helps.

Baby Pigs / Piglets

Q: I received a baby pig last night, she is 1 week old. I have never adopted baby pigs before. Only cows, horses, dogs, cats, and a sea bird with an identity crisis. I really want her to survive, are there any signs or symptoms I should worry about? She tries to drink from the bottle, I didn't realize they could pan drink that young, but she got maybe a half ounce. How much does she need? Thank you for your site. She now has my heating pad as I didn't realize they didn't keep warm on their own. Any info you can give would be oh so greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Rochelle

A: She won't take much at one time so she needs to be fed about every two hours for a week if she will take it. Better the pan feeding than the bottle if she will do it. Main thing at this age is to keep her from getting diarrhea as that is the main killer of babies. The Gerber's Rice cereal will help control that if you can start on some of that with her milk. Call or e-mail me if you need help.


Q: Thank you for returning my e-mail so quickly. I was at a loss as to what to feed her, a friend recommended a recipe for me the night she was dropped off. She is eating well but is starting to get diarrhea. I am not sure if this recipe is too rich for her and not sure if or how to switch her over to the Sow milk replacer I have, the recipe is 1 can evaporated milk (12oz) 1-cup milk, 4 egg yolks, 1TSP of Kayro syrup. She has a lot of energy, and a healthy appetite. I have started the rice cereal like you recommended, what can I do to clear up the diarrhea? I really appreciate your help and now have your web site in my favorites for referral. Thanks again for all the help. Sincerely, Rochelle

A: The rice cereal will help with the poos, but you might get them as a result of changing formula too quickly so try to add some of each and do it slowly. Each day giving less of your formula and more of the milk replacer. Remember that the milk replacer is for large sows. If you have the sow milk replacer so only make up as much as you will use in a day. It can go bad quickly so throw out any left at night and make a new batch. Add enough rice cereal to make it a little thicker and that should help the diarrhea. Feed only what she will take at one time. She should be eating about every four hours and don't overfeed her. Rather a little thin than to have diarrhea. The Gerber's Rice cereal is a wonderful thing! Let me know how she is doing.

Q: I am in Ontario Canada and have one day old pigs. Four have died so we really hope we can help the other survive. We are feeding them baby formula in a dropper. We will go to goats milk in a dish as you suggested. How often do we feed four day olds? Thanks, Beth

A: Feed them every three to four hours if they will take it. It takes very little to fill them up and they will only take what they want at any given time. Hope they make it and remember to keep them very warm. Newborns like it at about ninety degrees, so we use a heating pad for them.

Q: Hi, I’m writing to update you on the piglets. His nose is starting to run a little, and his feces look dry (it’s like a bunch of little pellets). He’s still eating great. I added in a little bit of molasses (hoping they’ll help things go through better) and half a drop of some children’s vitamin/iron drops. I think I”ll go in the AM and get some antibiotics. How often do I give them?

Also, they’re both boys, and they like to “root” each other around, one will be asleep and the other will start pushing him, then later, they’ll switch, is this normal? Thanks!!! Lauren

A: That behavior is normal for them and sounds like you have it pretty much under control. If you get Amoxicillin from the vet its usually in liquid form and you can give half a dropper full twice a day.

Q: I have two 10 week old piglets. These piglets came to our house with a mite problem that we cannot seem to get rid of. We have tried everything that anyone tells us. They still have mites. The second problem is that in the last two days, their bellies look very swollen. We have them on a very strict feeding program and have given Ivomec for mites and worms. What else would cause them to be so big. Their bellies look like they are ready to explode. They are pottying well, and not over-eating. Help Please. Jenifer

A: You might be underfeeding! These are babies and we don't underfeed any other animal baby so it shouldn't be done for a pig either. Babies that aren't getting enough to support their growth and their bone and immune systems get sick. There is plenty of time to control their weight and food intake when they have finished with all the growth spurts. You have seen the bellies of children that aren't getting enough food....? They are also old enough to have a one a day children's vitamin....we get the generic brand of Flintstones.

Q: We just recently adopted a 3 week old piglet (Scarlett). She was an orphan and bottle fed and now she drinks her formula from a bowl. My question is this, we have had her 3 days and fell in love immediately. She is wonderful, smart and amazing. She will run into our laps when we sit on the floor, she crawls up into the fold of our arms and not really biting, but nibbling. I am wondering if it's time to start adding the baby rice cereal to her formula. I don't want her to start biting, but I don't think that is what she is doing?

She eats well and loves her formula and lets you know when the bowl is empty!! Please let me know what you think. Thank you Robie

A: Yes, she is plenty old enough to start on the Gerbers Rice Baby cereal. Start with a little and keep adding as you go along. I don't think she is biting either just more of a taste and feel type thing like any baby does.

Q: My piglet seems to be having trouble breathing, his squeal isn't normal and he almost seems to be panting..if that makes sense. He eats out of a bowl and is not bottle fed. He will be 2 weeks old on the 23rd..I don't know what to do. Thanks Michelle

A: Michelle, your baby might have pneumonia. Take a temp which should be between 98 and 101 and see if he is running a fever. If he were here I would take him into the vet for a check up and get some antibiotics started with him. They can give you liquid Amoxicillin that you give with an eyedropper but don't wait a long time to get him there ok?


Q: I gave him a shot of penicillin last night and he is quite a bit better this morning..is penicillin ok for him? I only gave a very small amount...but it seems to be enough to help. Thanks for getting back to me! Michelle

A: The Penicillin is fine but I like the liquid better on these poor little babies. At two weeks he could have a fourth a cc of the Penicillin if you have to do it that way. Try just calling a friendly vet and see if he wont give you some of the liquid stuff. (or do you have any friends with kids that might have some on hand. With the liquid you would give it twice a day .... a dropper full for a few days.

Potty Training

Q : I have finally gotten Mollie to hold it during the day while we're at work, but now she has accidents at night. She never had one before I started the "no potty inside" thing. Tonight I am trying something new. I took her water bowl up after dinner (10:00 pm, I was out). I let her out to potty after dinner. I hope this will help. I needed to have fed her sooner so that dinner would have had time to cycle through, but I'm going to bed now. Guess I'll clean it up in the morning if she has another accident. Any idea why she suddenly started doing this? Does she just like seeing me mop the floor? Kellie

A: Kelly, usually when they potty at night it's because they have too much room to roam in. She may need to be semi confined for the night time for a while. My Roxie has a large Great Dane kennel that she took for her own and when it's time for bed she goes into it herself....so I close the door at night time, but the rest of the time the door is open for her to come and go as she pleases.

Q: Can a potbellied pig be trained like a dog?  Meaning take him outside like a puppy every 2- hours? I LOVE pigs & I really want one...I've wanted a potbellied pig for about 8 years now, but I don't have a house yet & I know my new husband & I are not in a lifestyle right now to be moving around with a pig, but I WILL have one someday & I'm just getting some knowledge first....what do they eat? My name is Amber & my step daughter sent me this website knowing that I LOVE pigs...I have my whole bathroom in pigs....Anyway Thanks for your time & answering my questions. Sincerely, Amber

A: Hi Amber, yes they can be house broken just like a dog only better and easier. I have 6 in the house and they go out on a schedule that never changes. Once you take a baby outside to go that is where it prefers to do its business. The number one they will do in a litter box if one is provided for them as a baby, but once they do a number two outside they will hold it till they get out to go.

They are not a pet for everyone and most breeders don't tell the down side of owning one. They are amazing creatures, very intelligent and they have reasoning power. They eat a mini pig chow for the most part and are extremely healthy most of the time. The size is what gets most people and is probably the number one reason that they end up unwanted at the sanctuaries. There are NO HEALTHY pet pigs that weigh only 30 or 40 lbs. Average weight for the pots cross country is 80 to 150 lbs with most going over that.

When grown they have trouble doing steps and that's part of the problem. They can't be put into a small carrier and taken to the vet because of their size. Everyone loves a baby pig but that babyhood is short lived and they are not full grown until three years. Most areas in towns or cities are not zoned for them and that is the second most often reason they end up in a sanctuary. They are not legal to keep in most towns or cities and they lose their good home when animal control finds out they are there.

They are a unique and wonderful animal for those willing to make the commitment to them for the life of the pig (which is about 15 years). If you like to vacation or go away from home a lot they are not an animal for you. It's hard to find someone to take care of them and boarding kennels are seldom an option. They are creatures of habit and dislike change of any kind. Hope some of this helps.

Q: I have a question, I was given a pot belly pig. Truly cute. But the problem is, she sleeps were she messes. The person I got her from kept her in a small area (too small). So she slept, ate and messed in the same area. I know pigs are clean animals and that they learn quick. Trying to correct this problem. I have her in a larger area with her food and bedding in one area and her messing in another area. Yet she still sleeps where she messes. Like to house break her, but I know I need to fix this problem first. Any suggestions? Alex

A: I only had one with this problem and he was so glad to get out of the mess that he learned in two days that he didn't have to live that way anymore. We put him on the back porch (air conditioned and all) and let him outside three or four times a day on a regular schedule....that took care of the problem. If your keeping her outside or in a stall area..let her out several times a day on a schedule. I think within three days your problems will be over. Also give her a bed of blankets.

Q: My baby pigs came from a pregnant pig that was running in the wild behind my house. My question is what goes in the litter box? They are smart and they use the box (I have dirt in it right now) Can I use litter?

A: Only if your there to watch and make sure they don't eat any. The clay litter packs in the tummy so if you use anything try not to use that....I prefer the pine shavings, shredded paper or plain dirt...the dirt also makes it easy to get them to go outside when the time comes.

Q: We have a 4 year old pot belly that was potty trained to a litter box. She was great and never had an accident. The litter box got to small for her so I threw it away and replaced it with a much larger one. Now she will not even go near it and she goes on the floor. How do we retrain her to go in the litter box. NEED HELP!!!!!! Thank You

A: Pigs are creatures of habit....you threw away the "habit" LOL. Usually at this age they cease to use a box anyway and prefer to go outside to go potty. We have four house pigs in here and no litter boxes at all. They are all on a schedule of going out to do their business. If there is a reason she can't be let out to do her business than there are a few things that you can try that MIGHT encourage her to start going in a litter pan again.

Make sure that new pan is easy to get into and out of....height etc and make sure it isn't slick so she won't slide when getting in. Confine litter pan, sleeping blankets, feed and water bowls to a smaller area until using pan becomes a habit. Pigs don't like to go where they have to eat and sleep. Any mess she makes on the floor...use a paper towel and clean up and put in the box. Use paper towels to blot up urine and put in the box too for a couple of days. These pigs are so habit forming that it is sometimes a problem.

We can't get pigs to go into new housing without locking them in for at least overnight. They would rather lay out in the cold than to give in to walking into a different shelter. Let me hear how it goes.

Q: My pig is now 9 weeks old. She eats about 3-4 small meals a day and I usually give her water at those times too, but she walks around and pees every 15 minutes, wherever she chooses. I take her outside and she goes. I am at my wits end with cleaning up the messes, my carpets smell horrible. Why can't she hold it long like a puppy?

The breeder has neutered male babies in her house and she says she has never heard of a pig peeing so much. Please help me with this. I don't want to have to put her outside.

A: First I would have her urine checked...if she is going that much you shouldn't have a problem catching some in a container to take in. Just ask them to check it for infection...and it wouldn't hurt to ask for a sugar count ...its a fairly cheap and easy test and any vet should be able to do it for you. If that comes back with just the ordinary bacteria and no major problems then I would have to assume it might be you.

Put this girl on a schedule and don't vary from it. Out first thing every morning again three or four hours later and so on throughout the day. She needs to know that at these certain hours she will be outside to go. They are creatures of habit. If she has no schedule than she never knows when the next time out might be and she goes when the mood hits.

She is still very young to expect her to be trained ..this is when your first just trying to train her. Usually once they poo outside they will try to hold that part till they are out again, but its hard for a baby to hold their urine for long periods.

Also I would leave water down all the time! All animals need unlimited access to water all the time. She may be over drinking at feed times to make up for not having water later on. But the scheduling is the most important part of the training ...later on as she gets older you slowly eliminate a couple of the in-between times so that she is going out morning, noon and late day. You didn't say if this girl has access to the yard on her own or not..that can make a difference too. Some pigs don't like to go when they are on a harness unless trained that way. Until she is predictable she needs to have her house space limited. Give her a small area and only allow her out after she has been outside and when you're watching her like a hawk and just for a short period of time to play etc. Put her bed and stuff in that limited space. If she makes a mistake put her back out again.  We never give babies full run until later on when they can be trusted. 

Anesthetics / Sedation

Q: Hi, My husband and I are proud parents of a mini pot bellied pig named Ariel. She is 28 months old and we have a big problem. She won'...