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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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Potbellied Pig FAQ's and Information

Below: Ears/Eyes

Q: Well I went down to the barn this morning to let Pudge out to graze for a while and he was holding his head sideways. I got him to lay down for a tummy rub and looked in his ears and there was a lot of wax buildup. He let me look at the right one and when I started trying to look at the left he had a fit and snapped. I came in the house and got some stuff I have for my dogs which is just an ear cleaning solution called Epi-Optic You are just supposed to squirt it in the ear and kind of rub it and it loosens some of the buildup and then wipe it out with a cloth. I did the right ear and also put some in his left but he wouldn't let me rub it out. It is supposed to dry it out also. I was wondering about giving him so Rimadyl 75mg for pain. I had it for my dog after he was neutered and I know it is also used for arthritis in dogs I just don't know about other animals I'm assuming it would be O.K. I have learned I can clip his hooves and I hate to have the vet out and traumatize him if I can get some suggestions.
Shanna and Pudge

A: Shanna, we never put any liquid in the ears of the pigs here as it can cause inner ear problems. We clean only as far as our finger will allow with a soft damp cloth instead. It is possible that your boy has the beginnings of an ear infection and that's why the head is tilted. Pigs will also tilt that way if they have water in the ears. If he continues with the head tilt you might want to talk to your vet about giving him an antibiotic for it.

Q: And speaking of ears, do you or ANYONE OUT THERE know of an inexpensive way to treat an PBP ear infection? I believe Ruthie may have one because she has been shaking her head a lot for some time and its gotten worse and I can't even pat her on the head without her shaking it now. She just never did that before, so all I can figure is an ear infection or stuffed up eardrums! CINDY

A: Cindy, any antibiotic will treat the infection. I'm going to ask a question though. When your vet cleans the ears does he put any liquid in them? I try to advise people that nothing liquid should go down in that ear. Only clean as far as your finger will go with a damp rag. All that gunk that is down deep in there is what helps keep the water out when they are in mud holes or pools or even rain. It does have a purpose. Having said that there are several things that might be the problem with your Ruthie.

It could be an infection or it could be she got mud or water in there and pigs aren't above getting a fungus in there if ears are wet a lot. If she was mine I would give her a day or two to see if she gets it taken care of herself. Sometimes they get water in there from their pools and they will head tilt and shake their heads a lot also if a bug got in there. Ear infections are a little more insidious and they may have a head tilt but they don't usually walk around shaking it. If it is an ear infection you can ask your vet for an antibiotic...again I don't like Baytril even if it is the drug of choice cause its only good if you can get it in the pig and even cross country I have never found anyone that managed to get it in the pig. Must be some terrible tasting stuff as they foam at the mouth even. I prefer the Ampicillin which I can get them to eat.

Q: My pot bellied pig has problems with her eyes. I've had her to the vets 6 months ago and he cut her eye lashes and stitched her eye lids back to keep the lashes from causing ulcers on her eyes. Now, it is back, I believe, worse. Her eyes are draining a red color. I tried washing them out with boric acid, but she is very feisty when I try to do this. Is there any other thing I can do other than take her back to the vet. I'm retired so these vet charges are draining me. I know her vision is poor, I just don't want her to have pain in her eyes. Can you advise me? Thanks. Shirley

A: Hard to tell if this pig really did have Etrophia or not. Where the eyelids actually invert and scratch the cornea of the eye. Sounds more like maybe fat roll has drooped over the eyes. Even if it was really Etrophia than the surgery usually only lasts a while unless they use that new technique that's out there where they staple the wire to the skull of the pig. She doesn't give the age of this pig, but I would hesitate to put him under again for that kind of surgery. She can use a squeeze bottle to help make them feel better. Squeezing the water into the eye and softly wiping but for the most part they are going to be blind when they are old no matter what you do. The eye surgery evidently was a failure. They hope when they do that that the scar tissue will grow and keep the eyelids up. As I said it doesn't usually work on a pig. This pig may benefit from a diet ....but she didn't say what kind of shape he is in.

Q: I was just wandering about my pigs eyes. He is spoiled and seems to be in good health. I worry because his eyes seem shut all the time. He has no signs of not seeing. He loves when I clean his eyes. He gets around fine. Is there anything I should look for? Thank you, Bobbie

A: As long as he seems fine to you then I wouldn't worry too much. These pigs have poor eyesight which gets worse with age. You are doing the right thing by cleaning them and checking them often. I'm thinking maybe your pig is one of the short nosed pigs with wrinkles on the face which makes the eyes appear closed all the time. Usually if a pig is having problems with his eyes he will rub them constantly on furniture, walls etc. until the hair is rubbed off around the eyes. Your pig isn't doing any of that so think we can assume he is fine.

Q: Hi I have written you before in regards to my pig Chulo. As an update he is almost 5 months old. He got his tummy caught on something and his intestines were hanging out. He had emergency surgery and seems to be fine. Today however he started to head tilt to the left. The vet has him now but if it happens again what can I do? Also is there anything you can give pigs for gas? Any advice will help. Thank you.

A: Most of the time the head tilt is an indication of an ear infection. This is why we tell people to not put any liquid in the ear for cleaning etc...vets will sometimes do this during a routine visit and it always causes problems. An antibiotic should take care of the problem. The gas problem is usually caused by gasey vegetables.

Q: Phyllis, Thank you for your swift reply. I did talk to Vet hosp. at UC Davis and they will take him in and do a tusk, toe, ear. I am gald so many people care about pigs. Thanks again, Dayna

A: Dayna, all sounds good except the "ear" part. Most vets tend to want to clean ears when they do other things. With pigs that is not a good idea. We have found and lots of other potbellied pig people that these guys get ear infections and yeast infections when liquids are put into the ear canal for cleaning. We tell people to clean with a damp rag and ONLY as far as your finger will reach in the ear. The gunk thats in there deep keeps water and dirt out.


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