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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: Leg / Joint Problems

Q : I am needing some information. My Bessie has been having left front leg problems for the last 4 days. I have no idea what she could have possibly done to it, I really don't think she actually "did" anything, which is why I am really thinking it is something to do with the joint. Either foot joint or shoulder joint. She seems to be in great pain and can barely bear any weight on it. I did get her to go outside last night, through bribing her with dog food...I only gave her about 20 kernels, but it worked and she did go out and ate her supper, but had to lay down while eating. She did also pee and pooped a couple little berries. Her urine looked very concentrated, but am also having trouble getting her "up" enough to even drink.

I am wondering if anyone else has experiences the immediate onset of joint or leg disorders in their piggers such as this? I have felt it, it is NOT red, hot, swollen or anything different than the other leg and I am stumped. I have checked the hoof/pad area and can see absolutely nothing that looks to be causing this, or is any different from the other hooves. I just can't figure out what is causing this, and she is in pain about it. At first glance, or when first trying to get up a few days ago, I thought maybe it was the way she was laying on it and that it had fallen asleep, like maybe it was doing that "pricking" feeling, but I think I have aced that thought out by now.

It did kinda seem that after moving a little bit around last night, that her trip IN was easier than the one going OUT. She is 6 1/2 yrs old, will be 7 on Halloween. Is this an "age" issue? I don't have a pig vet, as there is none in my area that I have ever known of, I did ask my dog vet about spaying her when I first got her, and he said, "well, he'd never dealt with them, but would be willing to TRY".....Frankly, with all the piggies dying back then of overdose during spay, I never pursued it, and she has been healthy and fine till now. I think it would be very traumatic for her to be loaded and hauled somewhere, at this point. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks! T

A: Hi Toni, this pig has either had an injury in the past or present. If she was mine I would ask the vet for some 20 mg Prednisone pills. We have a couple here that have gone through that and the Pred is great to start off with even though its not one you would want to keep them on long term. We dose at the high end of the scale like two of the 20s morning and night. She should see a difference within 24 hours.

If it works keep her on it for a week than the next week one pill morning and night for a week then one pill daily for a week. During that last week put her on some Rymadil which is a dog drug made for arthritis...they even have the chewable ones but naturally mine won't eat them. The Rymadil is 100 mg for the pig and I give twice a day for a few days. I limit their movement for a couple of days but that's all cause if it is arthritis they need to move after they start feeling better.

She also needs to put apple juice instead of water down until the pig gets more comfortable. We have one that broke a very SMALL bone down in the pastern which we missed on the first x-ray but found on the second. There is no fix for it so we just helped him eat and drink till he was able to do it on his own. Which was about 4 months. You would have thought his leg was broke the way he acted but the pain must be terrific especially on the two front legs as they do carry the weight. Hope this helps Phyllis

Q: Thanks, Phyllis! I will get her some apple juice today and see if I can get her to drink that...the thing is, in order for her to drink comfortably, she has to get up on front legs, and that seems to either be pain or aggravation at NOT being able to get up. Last night it seemed she couldn't get her "backend" underneath her, which was kinda making me think opposite of the front-end/shoulder stuff. I will see if I can get her up today, and maybe outside, she only has about 10 feet to go to be outside, but that seems to be too much. I will print this out and see if I can get the vet to give me some Prednisone on Tuesday. Thanks for the info....so you think it is almost defiantly onset of arthritis? not possibly a stroke? Still worried, T

A: Toni, did you check her temperature. There is a joint pneumonia that can settle in the joints in the legs. That also is fixable with antibiotics Not Baytril! cause you can't get Baytril in them). If her temp is over 101 than you can guess that it might be that. As for her drinking...I used a turkey baster with Popcycle and gave it to her cause she couldn't get up to drink. Fluids are more important than food when they aren't feeling good. Keep me posted OK? Phyllis

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Q: Patti will be 11 years old this Christmas and has recently developed a problem I've not seen addressed. She has developed some severe mobility problems and has a very difficult time getting up, and recently, walking. She's a big girl, although I've not estimated her weight recently. Our previous vet thought she must weigh at least 250 lbs. Therefore, I'm concerned about arthritis and other joint problems. We actually have to shove/lift her up all the time now. She can't get up by herself. Within the last few days, we've noticed that her walking is impaired. Her hind legs are the problem and her hooves seem to turn under when she's walking, so that she actually comes down on the front top of her foot. She corrects it, but places the other foot the same way. We can't detect that's she's in pain or any great distress, but she can't get up unassisted or walk very well or far. Sadly, she often steps on her udders in the process. We relocated from Dallas 3 years ago and our current vet here does not attend to large
animals. We've been referred to another clinic and will call tomorrow. In the meantime, if you have any advice or information to impart, my husband and I would greatly appreciate it. Sincerely, Brenda

A: I believe that the oatmeal diet, this will help her to get some of that weight off, but keep her feeling full at the same time. I have had my older pigs on it for several years now to maintain their weight. And either the Elder-Aide GM (found at Pigs4Ever) or the Synovi-Cre EQ, both are for arthritis. I have used Elder-Aide for years to help my pigs with their arthritis and love it. They have just recently added Glucosamine and MSM. Others have used the Synovi-Cre EQ with good results.

The oat diet is good but I also give just a handful of pig chow after thirty days. There isn't much nutrition in the oats themselves and they need a little something to go on. NO treats at all unless its a lettuce leaf. At this pigs age it is going to be hard to get the weight off her. If she has arthritis which I'm sure she does than even with her losing weight she is going to need some help with that. At 11 years I would give the Remadyl a try. They can tell their vet that it is used on dogs for the same problem and we have all been using it on pigs for the last year. We give one of the chewable tablets 100mg once or twice a day.

Its not a drug you want to keep them on long term but its possible to use it for a short time and then start the glucosomine with chondroitin at the same time and while the glucosomine is taking its time to work the Remadyl is giving relief. Or she can start her on the Elder Aide GM at the same time she starts the Remadyl. Elder Aide GM is just as good as the others. But I would for sure start her on the Remadyl before she gets any worse. Its not a good thing when they cant get up by themselves but it is a help that its the hind legs rather than the front where all the weight is carried. They should see an improvement within two days on the Remadyl and if the pig is moving better than sprinkle the oats out so she has to get a little exercise picking them up.

Q: I have an older pig, and was wondering what kind of medication is best for arthritis. I have her on Cosequin chewable tablets, and piroxicam. Amanda

A: Some vets put them on Rymadil. It's an arthritis drug for dogs but some don't like to give it because with dogs they keep a check on the kidneys and liver. My thinking is that with an old pig if you can give them another couple of years of pain free living its well worth it. Most vets won't agree with what we use on the really bad ones either which is Prednisone.

We start them with a 10mg pill twice a day for three days than go to one a day for another three days than try to get them down to half of one ....if they hold with improvement we try for every other day. The Rymadil is fairly expensive...the Pred very cheap. Neither one is a drug to use on light cases but on older pigs with bad problems I have seen the Prednisone give them a couple of good years of being able to get around. My thinking is the risk of using it is outweighed by the fact that a pig that can't get up isn't like a dog that can be carried outside to do its business and it beats putting them down before it's necessary.

Q: Hello my name is Kelly. My 6 month old "SuzyQ" is not doing well at all we are very worried. It started with her not eating on Sunday and we realized she had a fever came to the web site to get some piggy tips, with that we decided to give her an injection of LA-200, could not find a vet in area that treated pigs after 48 hours and still a high fever went with another injection of LA-200. Finally fever came down by Thursday. She is still barely drinking and nibbling on apple sauce, watermelon. Boost energy drink.

Now Friday morning a whole new problem she can't walk feet wobbling right under her, looks as if it hurts her to stand. We finally found a vet 2 hours away. He said she had pneumonia, he noticed the joint pain and said the LA-200 helped but needed a combination, adding penicillin alternating days. We're still real concerned. After reading your FAQ page (Potbelly Pig Leg and Joint Problems) I was wondering if you could send me any more info on joint pneumonia, I think this might be our problem!! How long does it last? I feel so helpless seeing her suffer. Thanks for all your support your web page helped a lot.

A: With treatment it usually takes a couple of weeks for complete recovery but you should see an improvement within a couple of days.

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