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:


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. 


  1. Quite recently, I noticed a few engorged very disgusting ticks crawling around inside my home. I checked my dog, and he had a few, and I got rid of them with a tweezer.

    During this time, I had a guest staying at our house, so regretfully my dog and piggies had very little interaction with us (aside from feedings, of course). Two days ago, after our guest left, I went to pet my dog and noticed that he was INFESTED with ticks (no fleas). I mean it was just absolutely disgusting. We have never had a big problem with ticks...just a few here and there, but NEVER a massive explosion of hellish minions such as these.

    I went to the vet and got K9 Advantix and applied it as directed. Today I notice he is a little better and some ticks are falling off.

    I'm pretty sure we must have an infestation inside AND outside the home. We don't have any plants or vegetation where I let him out to do his business...but you just never know. I doubt the neighbors care to treat their property for ticks.

    So with this new threat of apocalyptic proportion, I have to somehow treate the inside of my home without endangering my son, my 12-year-old Border Collie, and my 2 piggies with extreme caution. I'm going to call the vet tomorrow to see what they suggest using indoors.

    After spending hours online researching my options for getting rid of the nasty demons, a thought hit me harder than a fart in a car. What if my piggies have them? I researched the forum and a bit on GL, but found very little information. All I managed to find was that it might be species specific. Does anyone know if this is true?

    I am very worried about them getting as infested as my dog, as it doesn't seem to be that common of a thing. Another problem is that my piggies still don't trust me that much yet. They are still babies and catching them for some snuggle time is very difficult. They will let me pet them on occasion, but that's about it. I highly doubt they will sit around and let me inspect under their fur.

    I'm at a loss and very worried for my family...humans and animals alike. Does anyone have any suggestions or solid information on ticks & piggies/dogs? I'm calling the vet tomorrow, but I'd love it if anyone has some reassuring information. It's already 6am and i haven't slept because the anxiety i am feeling.

    (My apologies for the lengthy post...I'm just beyond stressed from the ordeal! I also forgot to mention that I am extremely squeamish about picking ticks off one by one. I plan on getting a tick remover thing today as well....just to make it a little easier for me.)

    1. My piggy never had a tick until this year. She is almost 3. It was inside her ear. I caught it right away. It had attached but by the size most likely not even a day. But, I called vet to see if I could use the same preventative that I use on my dogs. They stated that there was nothing in the manufacturer information and they contacted the manufacturer and they weren't willing to say that you could use it on of miniature pot belly pig. But, I think I'm going to try it based on the information I have read. The ticks and mosquitos are terrible this year and I have to try something to protect my Piggy. She lives inside but goes outside to go to the bathroom and graze.

  2. If your dogs have ticks it is very possible that the pigs have them too. They are not species specific...mites are. You can use Frontline or Advantage on them, but pay attention to the dosage. Talk to your vet. As for the ticks in your home you might need to talk with an exterminator...let them know that you have pets and what type. Do your best to check the pigs. I know it can be hard if they don't like being touched. I have a few like that here. Try dusting them with Diatomaceous Earth food grade it will dry out the ticks. Just remember to get the brand that is food grade.

  3. How much and how often does the DE need to be sprinkled around their area and bedding?

  4. My suggestion would be at least once a month if not twice. Once it gets wet you need to re-apply.

  5. Where on the pig do you apply frontline?

  6. Along the back between the shoulder blades, just like you would a dog.