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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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A few pictures of some of the other critters that call Pig Pals Sanctuary™ home.

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Potbellied Pig FAQ's and Information

Below: Anesthetics / Sedation

Q. HI PIG LOVERS, WROTE YOU BEFORE ABOUT MY PET POT BELLY PEBBLES. I HAD WROTE ABOUT HOW SHE HAD A PROLAPSED RECTUM AND A VET HERE IN FRESNO CA. AND I FIXED THE PROBLEM. THIS WAS FEB. 13, 2000. WELL, PEBBLES HAS THE SAME PROBLEM AGAIN. THIS HAPPENED JUST A FEW DAYS AGO AND THE SAME VET IS DUE OUT HERE MONDAY TO NOT ONLY REPAIR HER ILLS BUT WHILE SHE'S DOWN A GOOD NAIL TRIMMING IS IN STORE. I HOPE HER WEIGHT (325LB?) AND AGE (9.3 YRS) WILL NOT WORK AGAINST HER AND SHE PULLS THROUGH IT ALL WELL .

I AM WRITING YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PROCEDURE.....HAVE YOU HAD THIS PROBLEM WITH ANY OF YOUR PIGGERS OR KNOW OF ANY WHO HAVE? ARE THEY SUCCESSFUL OR A RE-ACCURRING PROBLEM? BUT MOST IMPORTANT....I READ YOUR NOTES ON ANESTHETICS AND AM CONCERNED ON WHAT MAY BE USED TO TRANQUIL HER. THE RECEPTIONIST AT THE DESK SAID THEY USE KETAMINE, XYLAZINE, OR BUTORPHANOL.....HOPEFULLY THATS THE CORRECT SPELLING! LAST TIME I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WAS USED BUT DO KNOW IT TOOK A BIT TO SEDATE HER.

I KNOW FROM YOUR INFORMATIVE NOTES ON ANESTHETICS THAT KETAMINE IS A DANGER TO PEBBLES AND WILL AVOID IT. DO YOU KNOW OF THE OTHERS MENTIONED AND PERHAPS SOME INSIGHT ON THE WHOLE SITUATION....I'D APPRECIATE IT.

THANKS AND HOPE ALL YOUR LITTLE PIGGERS ARE WELL....THEY ARE GREAT PETS...I HAVE JUST PEBBLES AND WOULD HATE TO LOSE HER. I KNOW MY SPOILING HER MAY BE A PART OF THE BLAME ...BUT THATS THAT....... HOW ABOUT LIFE EXPECTANCY....ANY NEW INFO ON THIS! OH WELL....I'VE PESTERED YOU LONG ENOUGH....THANKS AGAIN AND HAVE A GREAT DAY.......SINCERELY JIM STEVING & PEBBLES THE POT BELLIED PIG

A. If Pebbles did this the second time than he is going to have to keep her stool soft from now on on a daily basis. They prolapse from straining. It might not be a bad idea to get the vet to palpate her when she is out to see if there is any enlargement of the bladder or kidneys and have a urine sample to give the vet to check. Sometimes they strain like this with a urinary infection.

I think its probably just her age and hard stool that is causing the prolapse but wouldn't hurt to check the other while she is out.

Have no problem with the drugs EXCEPT Ketamine and don't let him overdose if she doesn't go down right away. It's never completely safe to use injectables on an older pig like this, but sometimes there is no choice. Sounds like she may be overweight to start with which makes it worse. He might ask the vet to use Tealizole on her as we have had much better luck with that and no problems like with the Ketamine.


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 a 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 (Which is a stretch around here!). 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 these sanctuary pigs that come in that we can't touch or hold for the ISO Fluorine gas mask or those that need surgery that we cant 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 than make sure the vet has ISO Fluorine 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 my web site and give it to him. It is given under the "Aging Potbelly Pig" article and has been used here a number of times with no problems.

It is there for pigs that can't be handled the regular way but is not the method of choice. The ISO Fluorine 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 min. of taking the mask off.

Now for how it can be done without....We do the sanctuary pigs 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 can pick the pigs front legs up....you straddle the pig and pick up behind the front legs and pig is still standing on the back legs...then you can trim the front feet and nip a little off the back too if needed. Or husband can sit on a stool and pull pig all the way back till the only thing touching the floor is the tail....as long as you have all four feet up in the air the pig can't do anything about it.

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.

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Q: Hi, Phyllis . . . I don't know if you remember me, but I used to be on PigPals years ago. I have a neutered male pig (Hamlet AKA Dammit Hammit) who is now about 330 pounds and very aggressive. Anyway, he is in dire need of a hoof trim. He will let me us small snippers, but just for a few minutes, and I'm only able to get a few slivers off. Needless to say, it would take me a year at this rate.

I had the vet come to the house yesterday. I know all the cautions of injectibles, but the vet wanted to use Rompan (I know this is one of the ingredients that your vet recommends in his "cocktail.")

When the vet, and her two assistants, arrived, Hamlet was sleeping in his bed (in the house) with his back to the door. They tip toed up behind him and attempted to give him the injectible. Naturally, he hit the roof, and they weren't able to give the full injection.

The vet was very patient and waited 30-45 for him to settle back down and hopefully lay down and go to sleep. But, that never happened. I tried giving him a belly rub so he would go down, but no go. So, as he was walking around, they tried putting a thick rope around his neck, hoping he would run back to his bed to safety. He did make it to his bed, but the three of them were unable to hold him down.

My dogs were barking at the back door making Hamlet that much more nervous, so I went outside to contain them in the shop. When I returned, the vet informed me that she had called her colleague and they agreed that since he was so aggressive, it was best to let him settle down and reschedule the trimming for another time.

I've been give a lot of advice on how to trim his hooves, but my problem is that his reputation is well-known and I don't have any help. My husband even refuses, as he has been gored by Hamlet before. I can pet Hamlet, but I am very leery of him and always keep an eye on the "teeth end."

My question is this . . . when your vet uses the Tealizole/Rompan cocktail, does it actually put the pig to sleep if the appropriate dosage is administered? It is impossible for me to transport him to the vet's office for ISO? Do you have any recommendations/ideas on how I can trim his hooves? Any help will be appreciated. And, just to let you know, even though Hamlet is a 300 pounder, he's not overweight. The vet even commented on what "good shape" he was in. :o)

Thanks in advance,
Carolina

A: Hi Carolina and yes I think I do remember you. As for the big guy and his hooves.....hummmm...his size is intimidating for sure! LOL Guess the only solution for him is to knock him out all the way with the Tealizole and Rompan mixture. Rompan alone does not work well on pigs and usually makes them just crazy and staggering a lot. Can't think of anything any worse than a staggering, half drunk, biting, 300 lb pig!

The formula that is on my website is what we use here for the unmanageable pigs but it is the Tealizole, Rompan mix. You know I'm sure how to tape him to get his actual weight. Do that and it is correct within 3 lbs.

I know some vets right now are having trouble getting the Tealizole...seems like it has been on back order for my vet for several months now. But it really is a good drug without the problems that the others seem to have. I would ask my vet and see if he has it on hand or when it will be available to him. Tape the pig get the correct weight and dose him according to the formula on the web page. Give it to him and wait ten min and he should be slowly going down and to sleep.

DO NOT GIVE HIM MORE THAN THE ONE DOSE FOR HIS SIZE!!!

Thats where people and vets get in trouble. If he doesn't go down with the correct dose given than just figure he isn't going to go down at all. Vets sometimes don't want to wait to see if they are going to go down and they give more....big problems for the pig when that is done as it stores in the fat and is released into the body slowly which means he is getting an overdose of the medication.

So remember how important it is to get a fairly accurate weight on him before you start. I can give you a few suggestions on how to get it into him with the vet there to lend a hand. If you have half a hog panel it works well to crowd him into a corner and hold the panel with your knees and hands and feet (tell your vet to work it like a squeeze chute for cattle and he may know what I'm talking about).

The biggest people or strongest should be on the ends of the panel pushing it toward the wall so he can't bust through it. Second suggestion would be if you have or if you can borrow a Great Dane size crate or even the Kennel Air big wire crates will work. Again use the wall to put him in there. Put the crate next to the wall and use the hog panel piece as a runway into the crate....take your time and just close up the end of the panel against the wall slowly as he moves forward. Don't force him...the aggravation alone will make him move forward when he has no other place to go so take your time with him.

What you want is a crate that is really too small for him....you can cram one in a size smaller crate for a short time like this with no ill effects other than maybe "waffle" marks on his butt. The idea is once he is in there you can hold a small board up at the bottom of the door and if he tries to back up he feels the board and stops. He also can't turn around to bite and vet can stick him in the butt without worrying about getting bit.

If its the Kennel Air crate he can stick him through the wire if the crate is tight enough. You can add to the pigs peace of mind by having him in the crate before the vet comes rather than all that confusion if you wait. I can get the biggest meanest sucker here in a crate by myself by using the hog panel and patience. The secret is that they have no place else to go except forward into the crate. If this method is the one you choose to try than I would wait till he goes down in the crate...then remove the top of the crate and get help to pull him out for the hoof trim. Hope some of this helps...let me know OK?

 

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