Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Cold Weather and Pneumonia

Question: How long can I leave my house pig outside for potty duty in the winter time?

When it really gets dead of winter we only leave them out long enough to do their business and bring them back in again....but then they are always banging at the door to come in anyway!

The reason we don't leave them out long is that they are house pigs and after all night at one temperature we don't want them to have to try to acclimate to the cold temp then back to the warm again.

Drastic changes of temperature can cause respiratory problems like pneumonia. Going out to potty is OK but, we don't like them out there for more than an hour because of the change in temp and the body trying to adjust to it. Pigs that are kept outside all the time get their body temp regulated to that...the same holds true for the indoor house pigs.

Pneumonia: We put this out every year but maybe for new people we should do it again. Pig's don't usually show many symptoms of pneumonia. They don't cough etc. They quit eating!! But most don't even show the labored breathing until it becomes life threatening.


A pig is not like a dog...pig's love to eat and they don't get tired of the same diet...they don't get bored with food...they don't quit eating with the idea of getting something better. IF A PIG DOESN'T EAT THERE IS A PROBLEM!

There are other illness that might cause this, but this time of the year, on an average age pig, pneumonia is the most common reason. Most pneumonia's are easily fixed if you catch it EARLY and start treatment as soon as possible.

Seek vet help right away and explain that you think the pig has pneumonia. If it happens to be a weekend or holiday and no vet can be reached we put ours on any antibiotic we have here until the vet can be reached. This can be most of the antibiotics that humans have taken for infections etc. that might be in your home. Most people have Ampicillin or Amoxycillin on hand. If your on good terms with your vet you might ask for just a few of these pills to keep on hand for this kind of emergency use.

As soon as that pig refuses his feed we start treatment until we can get to the vet. If the pig isn't interested in food at all put the antibiotic in a syringe with a little liquid and squirt it into his mouth. If a pig is completely down...and this is something that does happen with some pneumonia's...from the time you feed in the morning and they are fine...till that night they can be completely down.

We use the injectable antibiotics that you can buy at the farm or feed store if the vet isn't readily available. (I know someone is going to say they couldn't give a shot...you can and will if that's what it takes to save your pig.)

Their recovery can be just as rapid as the time it took them to go down. Some are up and eating by the next morning, but then they go on oral meds for five to seven days. It's just very important that you start treatment as soon as possible and get to the vet as soon as you are able.

This is also where that thermometer comes in handy. Take his temp so you can tell the vet he is running a fever. Normal temp for a potbelly is 99 to 101 ANYTHING over that is a fever. Farm pigs are normal at 102. For the pots pneumonia temps are usually in the 102 to 104 range at the very beginning. The key to quick and complete recovery is quick treatment before the lungs are compromised.

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