I’m new to this forum but I’m really concerned about my pig Ralph and was hoping someone may be able to shed some light on what could be going on.
About 4 weeks ago we noticed that Ralph had eaten part of his cage liner (a puppy training pad type product with plastic backing) a few days later he was totally off his food and wasn’t drinking either. There was also a significant lack of poops.
We took him to the vets and upon checking him, they noticed white, foul-smelling liquid in the back of his mouth. The vet initially suspected problems with his teeth and prescribed an antibiotic (I think) and vitamin shots. We were also to start force feeding him at home if he continued not to eat. They didn’t seem to be concerned about the cage liner eating.
A few days later, we took him back as he was deteriorating despite our force feeding. They kept him in for a couple of days to pass dye through his system and take some X-rays which showed a partial block in his intestines. It was small enough that they hoped he’d pass it naturally so we were sent home with paraffin oil, and what I think was some form of laxative(?)
By this point, Ralph had lost a significant amount of weight and had stopped walking. The vets reassured us that once he recovered and regained his strength, he’d start walking again.
Eventually, after his meds and a bunch of daily vitamin shots, Ralph started to pick up and began feeding independently. He became interested in his veggies again and seemed much more spirited (would whistle when he heard the fridge door opening) but he was still having difficulty using his back leg on the left side. We also had the issue that he was unable to toilet properly given the fact that he couldn’t really walk so he was lying in his own mess and getting pretty stinky.
Another trip back to the vets and they tested his left leg for potential nerve damage but he still had feeling in it, they also had a good feel and said that it was probably stiff muscles from spending a lot of time lying down. He was given an anti-inflammatory injection and we were prescribed a multi vitamin and calcium fluid to be given twice a day and off we went.
There was no improvement with the vitamins and Ralph wasn’t using his back leg at all - he’d just flop on his left side if we tried to stand him up. This time we took him back to the vets and demanded another X-ray but it came back clear - nothing was showing up that would suggest he’d damaged his leg or injured himself in any way. The vet performed a kind of physio on him and this seemed to actually help a little. He stood up properly for the first time in weeks. We were given more anti-inflammatory injections to give him at home and told to perform the physio exercises on him every day.
The next day I woke up to find slimy, bloody poops stuck to Ralph’s bottom. I took him out and cleaned him up and noticed he was bleeding from his bum. He didn’t seem to be in any pain. As I was cleaning him, I squeezed his bum and a large clump of really foul-smelling off-white stuff came out. I don’t know if this was the blockage passing or if it was some other kind of build up but it smelt so bad that I actually nearly vomited. He continued to pass bloody stools and small clots of blood from his bum so I called the vet for advice. She didn’t seem concerned and said it was probably a reaction to the anti-inflammatory so we were to take him off it for a couple of days.
It’s been a couple of days and he’s still passing blood. It covers his poos and leaks out of his bum. He seems to be declining again. He’s not particularly interested in eating, a few nibbles here and there, the physio isn’t really making any difference yet (he squeaks unhappily when we do it) and now he’s losing large clumps of hair on his left side. I’ve been cleaning him regularly and trying to keep him as dry as possible but it looks like he’s developed some sort of mange - that’s the only way I can describe it, and he has two sizeable bald patches. His front feet have started to swell (maybe from the excess weight he’s putting on them to drag himself around) and he has skin flaking off all of his feet. This evening he sneezed and white milky fluid came out of both nostrils.
I’m honestly at a loss as to what to do next. We’re trying to get a second opinion from another vet clinic, we’re going to take him in tomorrow hopefully but does anyone here have any idea what might be going on?
I know this is such a long-winded post but there’s been so much going on with him. He’s always been such a healthy boy so this has really been an eye-opener. I feel so sorry for him and he looks thoroughly miserable every time we take him out of his cage.
Appreciate any ideas or info you guys can offer. Thank you.
3 1/2 years old
Until now been in excellent health
- And got the T-shirt
Do you clean his anal sac regularly? The foul-smelling white stuff could be a build up of the material in the sac, if you don't, and may not be significant to his illness. Cage liners don't usually cause problems unless the pig ingests quite a lot of it. The plastic is less problematic than any absorbent material, because that stuff can cause an intestinal blockage.
Are you hand-feeding him? It's critical that he has food moving through his gut at all times.
Other than that, I don't have anything to add. But do keep us posted on how he's doing.
I wonder if there was some sort of rupture that triggered the intestinal bleeding. I was going to suggest massaging the leg that does not move well - it sounds like you are doing some exercises with him.
How long ago was he neutered? Complications can turn up as long as a year past the surgery.