Sick Pig - Have I forgotten anything?

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Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 4:20 pm

Hi Guys,

I came home about 8.00 O Clock this evening (GMT) found one of my pigs sitting in the corner, Very slight crusting around the eyes, slight crusting on the nose, and slight crusting at the bum, there is also a small scab on his back. HIs neck feels slightly dehydrated. Leading me to think either a mite infestation, or some sort of tummy upset. He´s eating greens, fresh veg etc, I´ve given him water with a little sugar which he´s drinking fine. I phoned the emergency Vets and was advised to go 1st thing in the morning which I have made an appointmet to do.

So in a nutshell, he´s separated from the rest of the herd, he´s got a thick bed of hay, he´s been drinking water, and eating fresh food, he´s currently wrapped in a fleece blanket on my lap.

Is there anything I have forgotten to do to make him in a better position?

Any help

Cheers Guys.


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Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 4:32 pm

Sounds good to me. How about an update when you get back from the vet tomorrow?


Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 4:39 pm

Will do -

I lost a pig not long ago, in similar circumstances, I actually lost three in a about a time of 2 months under similar circumstances so I´m particularly touchy in these matters.

This guy seems better than the last one, as in he´s drinking but I know getting through the night is the worrying time. I´ts when I lost the last. I took him to bed and about one in the morning he woke me up in terrible pain. I tried giving him mouth to mouth but nothing could bring him round. The sad part is I had a Post Mortem (autopsy?) and nothing came of it, so I´ve no idea whether I´m looking at the same thing or a different matter altogether.

Sorry to go off one one...I´m on my own this evening...




Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 5:39 pm

You don´t need the sugar in the water. Keep hydrating him by syringing water or unflavoured Pedialyte, and unsweetened cranberry juice if you have it. Give him 50-100mg C daily. Ask the vet if he needs a hydration subcue treatment and if so, ask the vet to include B and C vitamins in the solution(pretty sure they can do that rather than doing an additional injection). Keep weighing him to make sure he´s eating enough. Hand-feed if weight goes down. You could also use a steam humidifier on him to make breathing easier if he has a URI. If he goes on antibiotics(no penicillin-based meds) give him a poop from a healthy pig daily to restore his gut flora.

Since you´ve lost 3 in similar circumstances you might want to consider getting a swab from the nose cultured before starting antibiotics to insure you are using the right one. If it´s too late for that, be ready to switch drugs if he gets worse in 48 hours. Sometimes pigs can have a secondary infection requiring a different antibiotic.

My vet prefers not to treat for lice or mites if they are ill since their immune systems are already depressed. She waits for full recovery. If the mite (or lice) infection is very heavy, you´ll have to use your own judgement.

Post mortems are tricky. Often you have to specify a particular organ to thoroughly examine. To examine the entire body in detail would involve a lot of lab costs making the price prohibitive. When we suspected heart disease in a young pig that died we had the heart examined which required slicing it up. No sign of heart problems when looking at the intact heart but on further examination heart disease was confirmed.

My vet has already asked me for permission to do a detailed post mortem on the lungs of our asthmatic heart pig when she goes. She believes much of her education comes from detailed post mortems since so little research is done on live pigs.
Last edited by pinta on Mon Feb 04, 2002 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 6:03 pm

Thanks for that,

He´s declined a little over the last couple of hours but that may just be tirdness, I´m not quite sure. I´ll try the poop thing, that sounds easily do-able. Unfortunately I haven´t got any Cranberry juice, can´t stand the stuff myself so I never stock it.

I´ve noticed extra soft poo the last half hour, so I phoned the Vets and they said basically what I´m doing here is what they would do there but at a £50 less charge, so I guess all I can do is sit and wait. I just hope he makes it through the night. Like I said earlier I´ve been here before, come home sudden sick pig, 8 hours later dead pig....

The post mortem was a waste of time as far as I´m concerend, like you say they can be such a generalisation in some cases which is exactly what I found. I had three pigs die in very similar circumstances over a very short space of time and all they said after the PM was well we can´t find anything so I guess you´ve just got to wait until the next one goes.

I think good vets here are very hard to find. I´m not sure whether Vets are the same in Canada and the States etc but they tend to ´poo-poo´ guinea pigs and throw them in the same basket as Hamsters and other Scribbler Scrabblers i.e - if they´re sick there´s nothing we can do. From experience of a few Vets they´re only intersted in feline and Canine Medicine and really aren´t too bothered about preventative treatment. As an example I took my cat to the Vets worried about his expanding wasteline, thinking tumour? the Vet weighed the cat said he was fat and to bring him in again in a month, He didn´t even ask me what I fed my much I feed him etc..I´d have thought that was common sense.

Anyway I digress...

Thanks for the help....



Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 6:12 pm

He needs to go to the vet if only to get meds. If he has a URI he will not "shake it off" The secret to recovery is prompt treatment with the right antibiotic. (I have no clue what time it is in your part of the world - don´t know where GMT starts or ends or what it means. I´m on Pacific time which is 3:15pm right now.

Again, a nose swab culture can insure he is on the right meds from the start. It does add to the cost but if you have a track record of losing pigs to URIs it might be well worth it.

Standard first med tried is Baytril. Doxycyline 5mg/kg is good too(seems to interfere less with appetite).


Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 6:21 pm

If it was me I´d get him to the vets sooner rather than later.

The poop treatment may help soft poo but it´s primarily to counteract the compromising of good gut flora by the antibiotic once he´s on it.

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Mon Feb 04, 2002 8:19 pm

You might try giving him some fresh clean grass if you have it. I wet it down to dripping, it might help ward off dehydration also.


Post   » Tue Feb 05, 2002 4:29 am

I´m afraid he´s gone.

I´m a little confused as we were up all night and he was very comfortable and was still eating and drinking. I phoned the Vets again and they said they wouldn´t do anything even if I was to take him down. He went downhill about 7.30am and just quietly went about 8.00am.

No straining, or wheezing, just a few gulps of air and that was it.

This has happened before..I have no idea what it is...

I´ve seen weaker pigs survive proper diarreah (sp) when they haven´t eaten or not drinking...I don´t know what this thing is.


Post   » Tue Feb 05, 2002 5:42 am

Damn. I´m sorry. All I can suggest is an autopsy that includes checking for bacteria that could cause a URI. I really would have this done since you have other pigs and a history of mysterious death/illnesses. You could ask them to check for things like Bordetella.

I don´t understand your vets. Why wouldn´t they at least give you a prescription for Baytril or Doxycycline. If this is how they treat your animals I strongly suggest you seek out a new vet.

Try to get the vet to give you a small supply of Baytril to keep at home so you can start a sick pig on antibiotics at firat sign of illness.

He may have been ill for a while. Do you weigh your pigs weekly? Do any others have any of his symptoms?

Again, I´m sorry.


The only time I lost a pig that quickly, the autopsy reveaked heart disease. But unless your pigs are all related, it´s unlikely that they all died of heart disease. More likely to be a bacteria or virus.
Last edited by pinta on Tue Feb 05, 2002 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Tue Feb 05, 2002 6:12 am

Yeah I weigh them every saturday, no weight lost through any of them...After the fisrt died I´ve been wearing kid gloves, weighing them everyweek, thorough health checks weekly and general health checks whenever they are out with me....
This one died slower and the last, Bob literally died within 6 hours.

I know they hide it well though...thats the problem.

None of the others have symptoms as yet, in an hour or so I´m going to go home and completely disinfect everything...theres not a great deal more I can do as a preventative measure really.

The Vets won´t give anything out unless you´ve got an ilness there and then. They´re not very good really. I thought they were and there was a fantastic Vet there but she has just left and they tell me they can´t tell me where she´s gone (don´t want to lose the business I presume)

I´m very sad as Edwin was the First Pig I had along with Charlie who died in May, so thats the last of the pigs who started all this madness!

What I may do is contact another Vet I know of locally which has hospital facilities and ask them to do a post mortem pehaps they can shed some light onto the situation.

Heart Faliure could be a possibility I guess, this guy really went in seconds, no gasping or Writhing which I´ve experienced before, he just yawned a few times and took two breaths and was was much quicker than when I had a pig put to sleep which seemed to be a very slow procedure (peaceful) but slow.

I can´t believe this keeps happening, I guess it´s only nature when you have a larger number (I was up to 9) that you lose what seems to be more than everyone else. I´m sure you must have experienced similar things yourself Pinta.

What makes me laugh is I´ve got two scrawny girls that I got from a rescue a year or so ago, they´re covered in lumps and bumps and have hairless patches from when they had mites, they´ve had URI´s, UTI´s broken teeth, ones got a Cataract. They really are old bags and they just keep on and on without a care in the world..I think they´re both pushing 5 as well..little buggers.


Post   » Tue Feb 05, 2002 6:36 am

I would say a post mortem is imperative. The one we did on Nougat saved another pig 2 weeks later. Pure fluke since they weren´t related but I recognized the same symptoms and got the treatment required. Within a few hours of a Lasix injection, Bloom was back to normal. She now gets Lasix daily for her heart condition we didn´t know she had until she almost died.

Right now we´re nursing the senior with a bad heart and asthma thru pneumonia. It´s been a week and she is steadily improving but nothing is for sure. At least now she doesn´t seem to need oxygen. But it could turn in an instant.

When we lose one we do know why. That makes a huge difference in peace of mind with a large herd. Any question as to cause of death, we get an autopsy done.


Post   » Tue Feb 05, 2002 9:56 am

It never gets any easier does it?

You think it might, you think you might get used to it...but every one hurts as much as the first.


Post   » Tue Feb 05, 2002 10:00 am

no kidding.

Email Josephine and ask her what to ask them to look for in the post mortem(in case she doesn´t check in).

My guess is to concentrate on the upper respiratory system but the crusty bum might indicate another area. Josephine would know more on what would be worth concentrating on costwise.

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