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Dr. Jill
Dr. Jill, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 304
Experience:  6 years of veterinary experience with horses, domestic livestock, and camelids
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our one and a half year old pot belly pig is having problems

Resolved Question:

our one and a half year old pot belly pig is having problems with her back legs, when she walks and eats, shes ok. But the back legs give out and she will try and sit but squeels (however you spell it) and has a hard time getting up! I can't find anyone in our area to see her, plus its a weekend and all is closed! SHe is an in door pig but gos out, to eat and potty and sometimes we let her just root in the yard. There was two small red like blood spots, or small cuts, about 2 1/2 inches apart high on the side of her, not sure if she got bit by something! and my daughters have wiped her down, cause we had her out side to keep her happy, and she was sweating a little, and the color of the sweat is a yellowish color! Don't know what to do!! please help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Jill replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Jill :

Hi, I'm Dr. Jill. I'm sorry to hear about Sophie's troubles! I'd like to ask a few questions to help better answer.

Customer:

no problem

Dr. Jill :

Have you taken a good look at her feet? Any signs of cracks in her hooves, soft/black spots on the bottom where she may have an abscess?

Dr. Jill :

Does she appear to limp while walking, or just has problems getting back up when her legs give out?

Dr. Jill :

Any trauma you know of or painful spots on her back or legs if you press firmly?

Customer:

i haven't noticed i can look, but I can tell you that her hooves are long, i'm trying to find a local vet to shorten them!

Customer:

no trama as far as we know, no limping, it just appears to give out when shes standing

Dr. Jill :

There are also lay people that do just hoof/tusk trimming with dremel tools that you may be able to find in your area, though they won't be able to sedate her. Some are very good with keeping them calm though.

Dr. Jill :

What's her diet like?

Customer:

and pot belly pig food, carrots, raisins but she has been eating some nuts that has been falling from our tree, but she has no problem going to the bathroom no table stuff at all

Dr. Jill :

One problem we see in large production pigs that grow quickly is bone issues with lack of calcium. It can cause trouble in the hind end or cause them to be down and unwilling to get up. This would be the right age, but not as big of a problem in smaller pigs like Sophie.

Dr. Jill :

Another thought would be some sort of back or leg injury causing her pain when sitting (back probably more likely since she's walking ok...I'd expect her to favor one leg with a leg injury unless it's both). It'll likely be a more minor injury if she's walking around ok.

Customer:

is there anything for a fast fix for the pain, our friend told us that it happened to hers but it went away! not sure if this is the same, and yes walking seems to be ok, only sitting, and it just giving out! it looks like shes in heat right now too! could that be something new with going in heat, maybe!

Dr. Jill :

Yes, sounds like you'd be ok to give her time and she how she does. Perhaps keep her more confined to she can't move as much and injure herself more for a few days. Going into heat may cause some unusual sensations for her, though I wouldn't expect it to cause pain with sitting/laying down. One last question...has she been vaccinated for anything and does she have a fever?

Customer:

when we got her we were told she was, and we've had her for about 14 months now and we got her about three months old! we really don't know much about them!

Customer:

fever I'm not sure, is it the same as adults, just being warm!!

Dr. Jill :

Hope you're enjoying the learning curve :). Erysipelas is one thing we vaccinate pigs for ("diamond skin disease"), but it presents with fever and skin lesions. She'd likely look much more sick with something like this.

Dr. Jill :

Ha...yes, should be warm :).

Dr. Jill :

A normal temp for them is usually much higher than ours though...low 100's.

Customer:

one question, how do i take a temp. lol i'm afraid to ask!

Dr. Jill :

For pain relief, aspirin is an option, but it has a greater risk of side effects like gastric ulcers (as well as causing blood thinning and risk of bleeding). A local veterinarian may be willing to prescribe something like rimadyl (used with dogs with arthritis often), meloxicam, previcox, or another nsaid (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to help with pain and inflammation.

Dr. Jill :

As for temperature, I'm afraid under the tongue won't work :).

Dr. Jill :

I recommend getting a thermometer just for them...gotta go the rectal route...if she'll tolerate it.

Dr. Jill :

Sounds like she's eating well and acting normally though, so I'd think stressing her may not be worth it in this case.

Dr. Jill :

If you do continue with the aspirin, I also suggest getting something like omeprazole (pepcid ac) to help decrease stomach acid production and help prevent ulcers.

Customer:

ok , i'm going to check onher, my daughter is with her in the other room now, please give me one minute! and ok about the aspirin!

Customer:

she tried to put her in the cage and shes going off the wall still!

Dr. Jill :

Sounds good! One other thought...if you think she'll use a bed to sleep, you can make a slanted bed that would be easier to lay down and get up from (like a slanted wall that she could more easily lean against). We do that with large amounts of straw for horses with severe laminitis to make it easier for them to get up and down.

Dr. Jill :

If she feels well enough to flip out, probably not worth trying to get a temperature then :).

Dr. Jill :

I obviously can't replace a physical exam by your veterinarian and diagnostics like x-rays, but sounds like she could have just a mild musculoskeletal injury. I think you'd be fine to wait a few days and see if she improves with anti-inflammatory treatment. If she stops eating or shows signs of getting worse, then I'd say it's more urgent she get evaluated by a vet.

Dr. Jill :

Oh, and in regards XXXXX XXXXX initial written question, yellowish colored sweat can be normal, so I wouldn't worry about it. And if the cuts are superficial, she may have gotten them from just slipping and falling.

Dr. Jill :

Usually bite marks have swelling and tissue necrosis around them.

Customer:

yeah my daughters are freaking out cause shes still doing the same thing, I'll c who I can go too! She's really acting up, and yeah there is no swelling or anything else, but there is still a little bit of blood by those two small marks

Customer:

they just told me that she did lay down, but got back up and started freaking out

Dr. Jill :

Yea, that's definitely stressful when a pet is in pain and you don't know exactly what's going on! Since it sounds like she's mostly comfortable when getting around (just in pain getting up or down, correct???), I'd keep her calm and as quiet as possible and give her a few days to see if she improves.

Dr. Jill :

Can you describe what she's doing when she freaks out?

Customer:

squeals loudly, when she tries to get up or down, but she did finally lay down for a few!

Customer:

shes now laying lown and squealing

Dr. Jill :

Poor thing...definitely sounds like she's unhappy. Does she stand hunched up at all, or stand normally?

Customer:

she stands normally

Dr. Jill :

(If it's pain in the abdomen they're usually stand more hunched.)

Dr. Jill :

Pigs do tend to be dramatic with their squealing, so it may be that she's over dramatizing the situation. Though does certainly sound like she's in pain.

Customer:

ok my daughter just told me if they try and touch her where those two red marks are, she squeals, not loudly but they can see that its tender and it hurts!

Dr. Jill :

If you touch her in the same spot on her other side, does she react the same way?

Dr. Jill :

Do they look like small puncture marks, or more like scratches?

Customer:

the other side is normal no problem and she is still sweating, and she is in an air conditioned room

Dr. Jill :

If you want to have her seen this weekend, you may be able to find a small animal emergency clinic that will see her, or most large animal ambulatory vets have emergency coverage, just costs more to be seen on an emergency basis.

Dr. Jill :

How long ago did you notice the marks?

Dr. Jill :

I'd expect her to be a bit sore even with just scratches (and bites tend to be very sore due to damage of the tissue from the toxins injected), but certainly could still be some kind of bite wound. Pain can also cause them to sweat.

Customer:

the marks just was noticed today, because it was bleeding, and we thought it was because she went crazy in her cage or possibly a bite of some sort

Dr. Jill :

What makes me think that's less likely is there's usually more local reaction, and it would have to be a very, very large snake to have fangs 2.5" apart.

Dr. Jill :

Do you have other critters in your area that might sting/bite?

Customer:

thats what my husband said too about the marks, and no other signs but the ones I told you, and when she walks her tail still wags

Customer:

the only thing I can think of is a stray cat, a possum, and mabye a snake, but we really haven't seen one, we do will in a country like area and we have two acres so those would be my only thoughts

Dr. Jill :

Thanks for all your detailed info! Again, I of course can't replace a physical exam by a veterinarian, but it does sound like she's stable enough to wait a few days and see if she improves. It can be difficult to gauge pain in pigs since they squeal at just about everything (so can act the same with mild and more severe pain), but sounds like she's eating well, still able to get around, and bright and alert.

Dr. Jill :

Yea, I think the most likely thing is she scraped herself getting up/down.

Dr. Jill :

Can't be sure, of course, but seems the most likely option. And she'd probably be a bit sore there and might have a small bruise that's tender.

Dr. Jill :

I'd definitely keep her on some sort of anti-inflammatory/analgesic regime and see if that makes her more comfortable

Customer:

yeah i will still makes calls to see if I can get anyone to see her, and is there an over the counter anti inflamatory med I can give her

Customer:

the pain is really bad now and she seems to b bleeding down her back from those marks!

Dr. Jill :

I'd put a bit of pressure on them to help the spots clot and try to touch them or irritate her as little as possible.

Dr. Jill :

As for over the counter drugs, unfortunately they haven't really been studied in pigs.

Customer:

ok thanks I have to find someone now, cause she's really going off the wall

Dr. Jill :

The aspirin dose would be 5mg per kg, and be sure to give it with food and only every 12 hours at most.

Dr. Jill :

Tylenol and ibuprofen haven't been studied, so can't recommend them as safe.

Dr. Jill :

Best of luck! You might also try crating her or closing her in a dark room for a little while with a comfortable bed to see if this helps calm her down.

Dr. Jill :

It won't fix the pain, but might help if she's also overly excited due to the pain and outside stimuli.

Customer:

thank you for your time!

Dr. Jill :

The North American Potbellied Pig Association (NAPPA) also keeps a list of local veterinarian. You might check there to see if anyone is near you.

Dr. Jill :

(www.petpigs.com)

Dr. Jill :

If you get a chance, I'd love to hear how things go (hopefully in a positive direction)! Please let me know if you have any other questions I can try to address!

Customer:

ok thanks again

Dr. Jill :

Hope I could help!

Customer:

Hi again, I just wanted to let you know that the website you gave me is the best! I pulled it up and decided to look under diseases, and the first thing that popped up was a disease called Erythema Multiforme, aka dippity pig syndrome. And you"ll never guess that the symptoms were exactly the same as Sophies! There's nothing that we can do, but try and wait it out, cause it lasts anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. Once I read the whole thing, I knew thats what she has!! Again Thank You, XXXXX XXXXX that site, I would of never found it!

Dr. Jill, Veterinarian
Satisfied Customers: 304
Experience: 6 years of veterinary experience with horses, domestic livestock, and camelids
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