Vivi, nursing mom of 5


Post   » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:00 am

Vivi is a young (3-4 months) foster pig that came into the rescue pregnant. On April 16, she gave birth to 5 babies.

Today, I was horrified to discover that the babies have chewed off the tip of one of her teats. She is still nursing them (they follow her constantly). It must be horribly painful. It looks nasty, maybe even infected. What to do?

The babies weights in ounces are: 5 3/8, 5 1/4, 5 1/8, 5 3/4, and the runt at 3 7/8. They are 13 days old and are eating hay and pellets. The runt (a satin PEW girl) showed failure to thrive after birth, so I took the other four out for an hour (twice a day) and left her in to nurse on her own to try and catch up for several days. She's gaining slowly, but hasn't caught up to her siblings.

There are two boys and three girls in the litter. I want one girl to stay with the mother to be adopted out as a pair.

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Post   » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:56 pm

Like mastisis?

Are the babies eating well on their own? I'd consider removing the babies and handfeeding them if needed. And letting poor mom heal. Maybe she needs ABs.

I know it isn't ideal but they can eat hard foods at birth and poor mom doesn't sound like she is good.


Post   » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:04 pm

I've never seen a case of mastitis so I'm not sure. It looks like the tip of the teat has just been chewed off. The wound is jagged and kind of whitish looking around the edges. The rest of the teat looks normal (but oh so "pulled out" and "used").

The babies seem to be eating hay and pellets without any problem. I am worried about the small one.

Can I put the babies in with another adult sow for company if I remove them? Or would they try to nurse and drive the adult crazy?

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Post   » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:10 pm

They will likely try to nurse off her but she'll likely chase them away and they will get the message.

I've seen babies try to nurse off boars and they tolerate it til they get the message.

You can quote me

Post   » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:08 pm

If you have any Silvadene (silver sulfadiazine) cream, try putting a little of that on her teat. It contains a sulfa-based AB, so no one will be hurt if some is ingested. It's also creamy and (I would think, anyway) soothing.

Is there any bleeding from the injury?


Post   » Fri May 01, 2009 10:59 am

I didn't have any Silverdene.

I removed the four larger pups from Vivi and left the runty one with her. I did that because I was afraid that she would have engorgement issues going from nursing 5 hungry pups to none. Things seemed to be going okay, but yesterday, I noted a drop in weight. This morning, she definitely has a huge mastitis. The teat that was bitten is hugely swollen and she also has a large hard mass down her abdomen. She is in a lot of pain, even holding her leg up on that side and not walking on it. She also did not eat over the night (only baby poos from Vashti, her pup).

I have an appt at 11:30 to get her to the vet and get her on some antibiotics. Is there anything else I can do for her? I can give her some metacam for the pain? Should I take the remaining baby out? I don't believe she is nursing the pup at all. It is probably too painful. I really wanted to leave a pup with her to keep her company and be adopted out with her, but I could always put a pup back in later.

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Post   » Fri May 01, 2009 3:42 pm

I don't know if leaving the pup in is a good idea or not. Would it be possible to try very warm compresses on the teat? I am so sorry she is in pain. Pain meds should help too.

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Post   » Fri May 01, 2009 9:15 pm

This is the only other thread about it I found unless I am spelling it wrong

Is it common in dogs or other species I think but not sure if the same types of treatments for them would work on gps?


Post   » Fri May 01, 2009 9:57 pm

She is on an aggressive course of Bactrim and I'm also giving her Metacam for the pain, as per the vet's orders. The vet mentioned that weaning the babies was typical for cases of mastitis, but then I forgot to ask if I should take Vashti (baby) out. I thought I might have to if Vivi continued to drop weight and not eat.

I was just about ready to mix up some Critical Care tonight, when I finally saw Vivi at the pellet dish eating. What a relief! I also saw adult piggy poos in the haybin, so she must have been in there eating some hay. I feel so bad for her having so much trouble after being such a wonderful mother to all those pups.

PS: "Vashti" means "white wave." This baby is a PEW satin and looks like she is also going to be a silky. She's going to be a knock-out (although right now she just looks like a shiny little runt!).

Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Fri May 01, 2009 10:11 pm

Sending good thoughts for Vivi, and I hope she has a speedy recovery.

Vashti sounds very pretty. :)


Post   » Thu May 07, 2009 7:01 pm

Vivi is not doing well. I took her back to the vet today as the skin over the mass in her mammary gland is starting to ulcerate or break down. The vet is going to consult with the other vet on staff to get ideas on the best course of action. They are talking about surgical removal of the infection/mass. But the vet says she doesn't know if complete surgical removal is possible as it is such a large area.

Poor thing is just a baby herself. Anyone have any experience with this? I've been continuing her bactrim and metacam and had been applying warm compresses to the affected area (until I saw the skin problem). I'm also handfeeding her two or three times a day with CC as she is not eating as much as she should.

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Thu May 07, 2009 8:42 pm

This is very sad. Poor Vivi. I hope she is able to be helped and lead the life she deserves.

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Post   » Thu May 07, 2009 10:16 pm

I'm so sorry she is not doing well. I hope surgical removal works fine and she recovers okay. It does sound like a reasonable course of action.

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Supporter in '10

Post   » Fri May 08, 2009 2:00 am

Vashti was also the name of a very powerful queen. (I have a Vashti in my living room.)

Hang in there!


Post   » Fri May 08, 2009 11:32 am

The vet called me this morning. She wants me to bring Vivi in this afternoon and they will attempt to lance and remove some of the mass (and culture it). If they can get enough out, it may bring her some relief and be enough that the antibiotic can clear up the rest. If not, they want me to bring her back in next week and do a surgical removal of as much of the mass as they can. Does this sound like a reasonable course of action?

I've never seen a pig take as much CC in one setting as she does. She just sits there and sucks it in. In 2 feedings she will go from 1 lb, 8 ounces to 1 lb, 11 ounces. Of course, I would rather she be eating hay.

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Brenda B

Post   » Fri May 08, 2009 12:04 pm

Mine takes CC like that too.

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Supporter 2004-2020

Post   » Fri May 08, 2009 4:06 pm

It's a good sign that she's hungry, at least.


Post   » Fri May 08, 2009 6:36 pm

OMG, I'm freaking out. My husband took Vivi to the vet and just brought her back a bit ago. And she has a gapping hole where the mass used to be. I guess it was a massive abcess. I need to flush it out once a day and fill it with silverdene ointment. Gah! I've never done this before. Encouraging words are much appreciated right now from anyone who has flushed an abcess.

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Brenda B

Post   » Fri May 08, 2009 8:53 pm

ok, I have never had to flush an abcess but Vivi is home, awake and eating so that seems good right?

You can do it!!!!


Post   » Fri May 08, 2009 9:07 pm

You're right. Deep breath. I just did not count on the gross factor. It just looks so yucky and hideous. I keep thinking, "What's stopping her insides from coming out?"

The vet instructed, "Only fleece!" so I took the hay pan out of her cage (Carefresh + hay) and have decided to only give pellets right now. She really wasn't eating much hay anyway (never has since coming into the rescue) and if it's only short term, I can try and get her to eat more hay later. I'm just afraid that little bits of hay or hay dust will work it's way into the wound.

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