Help! Overheated pig


Post   » Thu May 19, 2005 5:42 pm

I talked to my vet and ran the question past her. She said she thought I was right and that using ice water would only finish off the pig by sending him into shock. She's not a pig expert, though, and was only going from what she knows about cats and dogs.

I'll ask Joséphine to look at this because I really want to know what to do, should the unthinkable happen. I always thought ice water was to be avoided, but if Mel is recommending it, maybe I've been wrong all along.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu May 19, 2005 6:37 pm

Overheated pets are usually done for. It depends on how hot, for how long, and if emergency veterinary treatment for shock and such is instituted soon. I've not seen an overheated cavy or rabbit live yet. Some dogs. Some dogs with brain damage. You pretty much cook their neurological system (brain) and cause a lot of irreversible damage. The best way to survival is complete avoidance of the situations which cause overheating.

The first treatment on the way to the vet's is to use some cooling methods. I go with lukewarm water, actually. We do use some alcohol as Mel suggests. The key is to cool gradually, but not too slow or fast. Then IV fluids and other medications as indicated. I think mannitol for brain swelling is on there. I haven't dealt with one since last summer, so my brain is rusty. Some vets also give steroids. I think you don't have a chance in the world with SQ fluids and this. It's a true medical emergency. It's kinda like putting a band-aid on a severed artery.

I did lose one myself. I think I was about 11-12 years old. And it wasn't even mine--I was just babysitting her. All of the pigs lived in the garage at the time. We went through a week of triple digit highs. We routinely used ice bottles and fans for the animals. One day was 113F. I remember the day all too well. My sister's outdoor rabbits both died before our eyes as well as the poor pig. My mom was on the phone with the vet's office trying to get info while we were dousing the animals with cool water and screaming and sobbing as they were dying. Needless to say the animals that survived all moved indoors for the rest of eternity--more or less.

Another quick chapter was a few years earlier when my mom (and sister) left her pig in the cage on the shaded patio one day for a few hours after cleaning his cage. He cooked, too, but I remember it less since we were both younger.

The first story was one of my scarring childhood stories. Now you know why I will never adopt to ANYONE who houses pigs outdoors in any weather.


Post   » Sat May 21, 2005 6:46 pm

Thanks, Jo. That's what I thought.

Horrible stories. I hope never to experience anything of the kind.

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Post   » Sat May 21, 2005 6:55 pm

We've used icy water to get the temp to start dropping, then just cool water. The docs usually want them out of that danger zone ASAP.


Post   » Sat May 21, 2005 7:06 pm

But everyone else seems to agree the risk of shock is just too high to do something like that to pigs. Have you successfully treated an overheated pig with icy water or are you extrapolating from cats and dogs?

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sun May 22, 2005 2:58 pm

We're not supposed to use ice in dogs and cats, either. At least that's the current thought among Emergency and Critical Care specialists. There are several schools of thought. The initial prognosis over animals with certain temps (like over 107F) is so poor to start out with. Inducing more shock is pretty much inconsequential. Like I stated before, you want to lower the temp in a timely manner, but not in 5 minutes. More like over 20-60 minutes. We don't worry much about temps under 104F. There are some physiological things that happen at that temp which do try to shield the body a bit. The body has some mechanisms for dealing with the insult.

Now that I'm working in an emergency facility, things are done differently than in most "day-only" practices. Most of the emergency docs I work with have been out of school 5-10 years, which also makes a difference in treatment protocols.

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