How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18310
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
Type Your Large Animal Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My pet pig (half farm , half potbelly), is laying on her side

This answer was rated:

My pet pig (half farm , half potbelly), is laying on her side groaning inside her pen. I gave her a slightly outdated, leftover steak today and she ate it, but I noticed when I called her to come and get it that she was slow to answer and maybe looked bloated? She has not finished her pig food that was fed her around noon. No local vets will come to see her and I don't want her to suffer to death. Any ideas?
Thank you for your question.

When we have a pig showing these signs, there are a few concerns that we must have. This includes constipation, gut obstruction (if she has eaten something that could have become lodged), gastroenteritis (ie infection), or digestive disturbance (often due to fatty or off foods).

If you are sure that she couldn't have ingested something inedible that could have stuck (which would be an emergency for her and require surgical removal), she is producing feces, and has this history of eating off food, then you can treat her as a digestive disturbance.

To do this, fast her for 24 hrs to let the gut settle. To give her some relief, she can have Pepto Bismol ( 1tsp per 20 pounds of her body weight) every 8 hrs. After the fast, reintroduce her food (1tbsp at a time). If she is better in herself, then you are likely through the worst. But if she hasn't improvement with treatment, then you will have to have your vet examine Barbie (a farm vet would probably be your best bet here) so they can rule out those other differentials I mentioned above.

I hope this information is helpful.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
If you have no further questions, feedback is always appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. B.


Please remember to only rate my answer when you are satisfied. IF you feel the need to click either "Helped a little" or "I expected more", please stop and reply to me via the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button with the issue you have. I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. If you are satisfied, please click the 4-5 stars or associated happy face so that I may receive credit for my assistance.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think she is bloated and in some distress from eating a bunch of hay. I gave her a loose bale of hay thinking it would be used for bedding but it looks like she has eaten a good bit of it. Once when she was much younger, I gave her a big amount of tall grass I'd cut and she was sick for a day but recovered. This may have been going on for a couple days till it got bad enough that I noticed it. is there something I can do to relieve pressure? Should I give her banamine and/or laxatives?

That is concerning to hear since a bolus of roughage could act as an obstruction (which then causes the bloat). If she is prone these issues, then it does make it more likely here. As I am sure you are aware the bloat is serious (especially if the stomach then twists, though this would be acute not something lasting for days) and you need to get things moving through the gut as soon as possible (otherwise steps need to be taken to decompress her, and possible surgically remove any obstruction). First step is to immediately remove any feed/edible bedding, if you feel that could be the cause.

If you can get her up, you can stomach tube/drench her with a laxative agent (ie lactulose, miralax, mineral oil, etc) or even a quarter of a pint cooking oil to just get everything moving thorough that gut. As well, get her moving (walking) and massaging of the sides. This most often will cause the built up gas to escape through the mouth or rectum. Once you have gotten her relieved of the gas, we will be in a better state and the pain should be reduced. I would avoid banamine with GI based issues like this since she will be more at risk of GI side effects from the drugs (ie ulcers, GI bleeding, perforation). Rather we want to relieve the bloat and if pain relief is necessary then we really need a vet to use injectable opioid (since they won't have adverse effects on the guts).

If this is more then a mild bloat, then you may have to be more aggressive. If she has bloated before, you might have experience stomach tubing her to relieve the gas pressure on the stomach (LINK, this is a goat example but the process is the same. Do take care though, since stomach tubing must be done carefully to avoid damage to the delicate gut but also we can't have the pig bite through the tube --since that would obliviously cause even more issues ).

If you haven't done so before then a farm vet is your best bet to help you and do this for her. And if there is any struggle, they can sedate her, give pain relief, and they can carry out a sterile tap the stomach directly if the tube cannot be passed. As well, they can evaluate her and let you know if there is a stomach twist (which would make her prognosis guarded to poor), and help you address that complication if it has arisen

Overall, the bloating is a red flag here that Barbie's situation is getting very serious very quickly. If there is possible obstruction, then you need to try and get things moving through that gut while you are helping to relieve the gas build up. If you do the above and are not getting positive results, then you do need to either take her in for emergency treatment or find a farm vet that can come out. (which I appreciate you have tried to do already, so hopefully this isn't as serious as we are concerned it may be but we have to have a plan if things are that serious). Also here is a link for the Housecall Vet database (here). The majority are companion animal vets but hopefully they can assist to advise you on someone nearby who can.

All the best,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your help, although it took a while to get an answer, your second reply was very helpful, your attached links were what made your reply excellent. I will try again to get someone here, but with my truck in the shop, I'm afraid there isn't much I can do. I have a stomach tube so if I can get someone to help hold her, I will try to oil her. Thanks again.

You are welcome.

I do apologize for the delay, I am afraid there are very few large animal vets here (or anywhere really these days) but do know that I answered you as soon as I arrived online and saw your struggles. That sounds like a good plan of action there, and I do wish you the best for her.

Take care,
Dr. B.
Dr. B. and other Large Animal Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you