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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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Potbellied Pig FAQ's and Information

Below: Tusks and Teeth

Q: All this talk of tusks has made me think (had to happen one day) When do pigs get their tusks on average , and do all boys get them? Marvin is nearly six months old now , and I think there is some dimples on his face where they would grow . Is this the first sign? Thank you lot. Jeanne

A: We have some boys out here without them....they are there but stayed small and inside. The others started about two that they were noticeable and some grew straight out and back, which is pretty, some turned and go to the face which means they have to be cut all the time and Old Piggy out here had a rack that would make a moose jealous. They were huge and looked like handlebars! Mr. Eineswine has very thick but short ones that only stick
out a few inches.....very distinguished. Buddy, Max and Sweetpea II never did get them?

Q: Hi we have recently been given a pig to look after. I believe is he is from the wild pig. We have had him for about 3 months now and he is getting quiet tame and enjoys our dog which he follows around like a puppy. However as he is growing I have noticed very small tasks that are growing. Is there anyway we can stop these tusk from or getting sharp to the point where they can injure our dog. Can they been removed? do you know of anyone I could speak to this about. If we neutered the pig will his tusk still grow?

A: If the pig is neutered the tusks wont grow as long...usually about the time they are two years they need just the ends clipped off. He should be neutered anyway to be a good pet. Un neutered pigs can show behavior that neutered pigs don't have. These tusks are really part of the jaw and the only way to pull them causes the jaw to be broken in the process so don't have them pulled.

We just do a yearly tusk trimming on the older pigs here and they are nipped off with clippers or the preferred way is to use a "giggly wire" which is a metal material that has little saw teeth in it that you pull back and forth with your hands. Again I would urge you to get the boy neutered to insure you of a nice pet. ISO Fluorine is the choice for knocking them out for surgery and while he is under this time the vet could cut the tusks for you while he is asleep.

Q: Would you know where to purchase one of these giggly wires from?

A: You can order it from any vet supply house or ask a local vet that does large animals and he might let you have enough to do what you want to do.

Q: Zachary is two years old. He is kind of crabby but we love him. Is a crabby personality something that can be changed? Also, his tusk teeth are growing out sideways and he is uncomfortable and always trying to relieve the annoyance of the tusks poking into his lips. How can we trim those tusks down to the nubs without hurting him. We would need some way to tranquilize him to do this. Any suggestions?
Thank you, David

A: It is normal for the tusk teeth to stick out the sides of the mouth. I only cut tusks if they show that they will grow into the face as happens once in a while. We have some here that have them that look like handlebars in their mouth. The alternative is to take them in to the vet and knock them out with Tealizole/Rompan (see my web page for the exact measurements of both drugs) mixture if vet doesn't have ISO Fluorine gas. Or your vet might want to give him a light dose of Tealizole before he masks him down with ISO fluorine gas.

Please ask your vet to not use Ketamine on him. We are seeing a lot of pigs that are not waking up and having after effects from that particular drug.

At two years of age I can't imagine them being long enough to cause him a problem yet. Unless its for your benefit than you might be wiser to wait until they clear the mouth where there is more to work with. You can only cut them down so far and don't let the vet try to talk you into pulling them. These teeth are connected to the jaw bone and I have never seen a case of having them pulled that didn't involve breaking the pigs jaw.

As for his personality...that happens at about the two year mark when they decide to try their owners on for leader of the herd (which in this case is you) A little "crabby" is OK but don't let him get over on you if he is charging at you. When they bite at me I use a gate and herd them into a corner of MY choosing and make them stay for a few min. You have to be regular with this just like with a child and do it each and every time he snaps at you. Don't expect him to tolerate strangers though as he probably won't.

My house pigs have their own areas and when strangers are here they aren't allowed in the pigs area because that is the pigs safe zone and I have one that has its own room and when company comes he goes in there to avoid problems. These guys tend to be territorial and sometimes its better to avoid the situation than to try and change what is part of their natural nature. Hope this helps some.

Q: My pig is 9 years old, and today we had the shocking revelation that she has almost no teeth. Are there any other factors besides old age that should be taken into account? Other than that, she seems to be in good health.
Sincerely, Rebecca

A: They do lose a lot of teeth as they get older, however usually not all of them. As long as Rudy is healthy in all other ways I wouldn't let it bother me too much. You may have to soften her feed with a little water later on
down the road.

Q: Hello! I have a male pot bellied pig, approximately 8 years old. We can't find a vet that will give our pig anesthetic to get him to sleep so we can trim his tusks or hooves. We have dogs and cats also, and we take them to a vet who cares for livestock and horses, but even he refuses to give the pig anesthetic. Several vets we've spoken with have told us that it's just too dangerous for the pig. Is there anything that we can do to trim them? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

A: You don't say how big this pig is or what state you are in...you would be surprised at the difference in vets across country. I'm glad to know that some of the vets are getting the message that injectables on a pig are dangerous. We use them here (the formula that's on my web page) only for a very serious health problem on the larger people shy pigs that we can't handle. The only one hundred percent safe knock out for these guys is ISO Fluorine gas and some vets don't have it. Yes it's nice if you have a pig you can handle and can get them into the vet without a lot of stress. On the other hand most pigs are the other story.

We only do tusks if they are growing into the face of the pig. When that happens or they need a foot trim the potbellied pig club comes once a year just for that purpose and they do all the pigs at the sanctuary without knocking them out. They try to get the pig down for a belly rub then quickly turn him on his back. (Yes they scream but it is very quick) A pig on it's back is helpless and one holds the head in their lap while one holds the back feet and one trims the front feet.

The same thing can be done with two strong men ...one picking the pig up under the front legs till the feet clear the floor and pulling the pig back toward him till pig is sitting on his tail bone with four feet not touching anything. We do even the large pigs here with that method but it certainly is easier with a smaller one. Having the right trimmers helps a bunch and tusks are done with a giggly wire that your vet probably has on hand. It's a wire with little teeth in it that works like a saw when it's pulled back and forth on the tooth.

Word of caution here...if the tusk is long enough it is a good idea to have someone hold the end of the tusk your working on so that the piece doesn't go down the throat of the pig while he is screaming bloody murder. So it's better if you work the wire pulling toward you and away from the pig. You want to always watch that none of the tooth is unaccounted for as there have been cases of pigs inhaling the tusk end because they are screaming and the tusk lodges in the lungs. This can be fatal. We don't take it off at the gum because older pigs gums grow further up the tusk it is always safe to take half.

Now for another route. Your vet could call ours and talk to him about using Tealizole in a small dose just to make the pig groggy and you will be able to put him on the ground and do what needs to be done with limited problems. He won't be knocked out, but it does take the edge off and with small amounts it is safe to use. Valium DOES NOT work!! Hope this helps.

Q: Hello,I found your website...it's very nice! I do have a question for you. My Delilha is 3 years old. All of a sudden she is drooling from her mouth. This is so not like her. She has plenty to drink and eat. She acts normal other wise. She loves to go outside and graze. Should I be worried? Thanks for any information you can give me. Sincerely, Janet

A: She is probably having a tooth problem....these usually fall out on their own without a problem. It is possible that they can get an infection in there but it doesn't happen often and don't think I would be too worried. Also if you have a lot of clover in your grass this will sometimes happen.

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