Monday, June 19, 2017

Ear Care For Your Pet Pig

Pig ears sometimes will get a little wax build-up. This is normal! That stuff that is down in the ear is there for a reason.
DO NOT try to clean deep inside your pigs ear. When the build-up gets bad on the pig ears (the lobe area), You can use your finger nail or Q-tip to scrape it out, being careful not to let any of the gunk fall back into the ear. Some people prefer a cotton ball or warm washcloth, we do not use any type of foreign object or ear cleaner. It is not necessary. Make sure your vet knows this if you take your pig in for maintenance.
That 'stuff' that builds up is their natural defense against dust, particles and tiny insects getting too far into their ears. It is also what keeps the water out of your pig’s ears when he is in his pool, or for outside pigs the mud hole.
DO NOT put any liquids in your pigs ear EVER! This can get in their inner ear and cause them to have a head tilt, putting them off balance. If liquid gets into your pigs ears, it can cause serious problems like a yeast infection.
For those of you that like to hose your pig down to cool them off during hot days, make sure you do not allow the stream of water near their ears or face as they are jumping around.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Ticks on Pigs

What are ticks? Ticks are small arachnids, part of the order Parasitiformes. Along with mites, they constitute the subclass Acari. Ticks are ectoparasites, living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.

Ticks can be a serious problem in our pet pigs depending on where you live. Whether your pig spends most of their time inside or outside, they are bound to run into a tick at some point. Ticks carry many diseases that may affect you, your mini pig, or other pets. Below are some suggestions on prevention, how to remove a tick and control/repellents.

Tick growth over 7 days:

Prevention:

Mow it right. Mowing your lawn to the proper height and frequently reduces flea and tick hang-outs
Avoid over-watering. Fleas and ticks prefer moist environs. An over-watered or poorly draining lawn can extend an invitation to these insects.
Remove leaf litter.
Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
Consider cedar. Cedar mulch repels fleas and ticks. Use it to border areas where your pig likes to play or rest to keep insects from migrating into those areas. Place cedar mulch along the edges of your yard to form a barrier.
Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
Let the sun shine. Both ticks and fleas like shady, moist areas. Prune trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to enter your landscape.

How to remove a tick:

If a tick attaches to your pig, you’ll want to remove it as soon as possible. The longer the tick is attached to the skin, the higher the risk of infection or disease transmission. If your pig is bitten by a tick, simply remove it and watch the area. If it becomes red, inflamed, or discolored, seek veterinary care. Tick bites can become infected by nasty bacteria from the tick’s mouth.

Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

There is a new tool called a Tick Twister that seems to be a better way of removing the tick than tweezers which always seemed to squish the tick when I tried to remove it. I haven't had to use it yet, but it looks like it will do a better job than the tweezers.

Control / Repellents:

Aqua Spray - Repels biting insects such as black flies (gnats), ticks, fleas and mosquitoes without Pyrethrins, Pyrethroids, DEET or d-Limonene! Non-greasy, pleasantly scented, safe for pet pigs.

Some vets are now okaying the use of Frontline plus or Advantage plus on our pigs for tick control, but please pay attention to the weight recommendation to avoid overdosing. If you have any questions consult your vet.

Diatomeacous Earth food grade can be spread on the ground, on bedding, or even added to their feed. There are different grades of DE - make sure that it reads Food Grade as it is the only one safe for consumption. While it can be put on your pig - note that it is very drying and is not fast acting.


Remember to do daily checks of your pig to see if there are any ticks when giving belly rubs. They will thank you for it. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dippity Pig Syndrome



What is Dippity Pig? Dippity Pig is the name given to the condition that happens when our pigs seem loose control of their back legs and "dip" their backs screaming in pain. Some pigs will also have circular type lesion(s) along the spine of their back. Dippity Pig is now also referred to as Bleeding Back Syndrome and Erythema Miltiforme.

Though Dippity Pig can happen anytime of the year it is most common in the spring when temperatures are changing; meaning it is warming quickly with nice sunny days when most days have been cloudy.

It is scary to watch, but if you know what is happening to your pig and why, you will be prepared to handle it and not panic as much. 

The cause of Dippity Pig is still unknown. Some believe it to be stress related, but we have found that it seems to have something to do with heat, or exposure to sun after cloudy days. This has been the case here.

Take note that the condition is much more common in pigs under two years of age and won’t happen at all or frequently with older pigs.

Symptoms:

  • Dipping or temporary loss of back legs - usually when trying to look up
  • Screaming in pain
  • Sores on the back - usually along the spine and can ooze 
  • Untreated will usually last 2-4 days
  • Comes on quickly with no notice

Treatment:

There is no treatment for Dippity, nor is there any preventive medication available at this time since the exact causes have not been determined. There are things you can do to help your pig feel better while Dippity Pig it runs its course.  Leave pig alone as much as possible. Do not make it look up at you, doing so puts a strain on their back and will cause their back legs to collapse. Reduce stress by keeping the pig in a quite area with dimmed lights.

Skin lesions can be painful and luckily, topical creams or sprays can help reduce their severity. Vitamin E liquid or Aloe Vera gel can also help reduce the pain and discomfort of the lesions.

What can you do for pain? For more sever cases, you should take your pig in to the vet. There they can administer a dose of an anti-inflammatory such as Prednisone or another steroid in extreme cases. Aspirin can be given by the owner, but you must make sure to give the appropriate dose.

Remember, although very frightening to the owner (it has happened to 3 different pigs here), the distress and symptoms typically resolve with no treatment, within 24 hours. Your pig should still be eating, drinking and going potty normal. Anything else and it is probably not Dippity Pig. See your vet.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fruits and Veggies For Your Pet Pig

First and foremost, your pigs pig chow should be the mainstay of their diet. It has all the protein and nutrients that our pigs need. Everything else is a bonus and moderation is key as with most foods. 

Though our pigs can eat most of the same foods that we do it doesn't mean that they should. Just like us some pigs also prefer to eat their veggies cooked rather than raw.  

In addition to their diet of pig chow, most pigs will enjoy a daily salad of fresh vegetables. Dark leafy greens are best as they provide ample amounts of vitamins. They also make delicious snacks.
 

Fruits are an especially delicious treat for pigs, but one that should be given only occasionally. Because of the sugar content found in fruit, pigs should only be fed one or two small portions of fruit a day as a treat. Small pieces of fruit can also be used as a reward if you're attempting to train your pig; they'll love the sweet prize. Pigs can eat a wide range of fruits, so long as it's in moderation. Give your pig opportunities to try a variety of fruits - from bananas and apples to strawberries and pineapple - to see which they like best.

There is nothing cuter than watching your pig’s face as they try something new. If they don't like it or want it they will spit it out.

As for fruits, most seem to like apples, melons, grapes and berries. We have found here over the years that most don’t care for oranges or grapefruit. There have only been 2 pigs that would eat them and it was always fun watching them peel the orange. We watched as Oshay would go around the orange trees searching for good oranges knowing to avoid the rotten ones. 

When feeding fruits with seeds or pits; we do not worry about the seeds as the pigs either eat them or spit them out. If it is a food with a pit we do cut it out. And depending where you live you might end up with new plants growing in your yard. 

Foods with rinds like melons can be fed, but beware as they can choke on them as well as banana peels. Know your pig and what he can handle. We do feed melon rinds here, but try to leave some meat on them and slices are of a size that we know they can handle. 

We have found that our pigs are pickier with veggies than fruits. And like us will eat those certain vegetables if they have been cooked first. We have one picky eater here and he will not eat any kind of lettuce, squash or zucchini, he prefers soft fruits. Our senior pigs also do not like pumpkins.
 
Again, moderation is key with most foods. Remember that most fruits and some vegetables contain natural sugars that turn into fat if not burned off.