Potbellied Pig Health and Sickness

As with other animals, potbellied pigs (sometimes called pot belly pigs) can’t tell us when they’re sick, so it’s best to try and be aware of signs of pain or illness. As you get to know your pigs, you’ll learn to recognize when they’re feeling good and when they are feeling under the weather.

Sick pig symptoms

Here are some common symptoms that may indicate a pig is ill or in pain:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in mood
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing or nasal discharge
  • Absence of or difficulty while urinating or defecating
  • Very dark, concentrated urine
  • Discolored vaginal discharge
  • Hemorrhage from the eyes, ears, nose, rectum or vulva
  • High temperature (103 or up)
  • Elevated respiration or respiratory issues
  • Constipation
  • Standing with his back hunched
  • Trouble walking, limping or difficulty “getting traction” as he starts walking

These may be a sign of skin problems:

  • Patchy hair loss
  • Hair standing on end
  • Excessive itching

Common pig health concerns and diseases

Pigs can have a variety of health issues, ranging from simple ear infections to a complicated disease like cancer. The most common health problems in potbellied pigs are respiratory troubles and constipation.

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments in potbellied pigs. In pigs, arthritis can be caused by past or present weight issues or lack of exercise, but it can also be the result of the pig’s breeding, age or previous diet. To ease arthritis, keeping your pigs healthy and active is essential, as is consulting with your veterinarian about possible treatments.

Pig veterinarian

Speaking of vet care, you’ll want to find a veterinarian who’s experienced with potbellied pigs. Before you adopt a pig, it’s a good idea to research vets in your area and select one whom you feel you can trust.

Just like other pets, potbellied pigs need to have an annual checkup. There are routine vaccinations for potbellied pigs; your vet will know which ones your pigs require. Also like other animals, pigs can be susceptible to worms and parasites. You’ll want to speak with your vet before proceeding with any treatment.

Before you actually have to take your pig to the vet, get your pig familiar with being in a dog crate and in a vehicle. You can put some treats in the back of the kennel every now and then, leaving the door open, so the pig can come and go. This familiarity will reduce the amount of stress for both you and the pig when it is time for a scheduled or emergency trip to the vet. Be sure to place a rubber-backed mat or rug on the bottom of the crate so that your pig will have good footing. It is also a good idea to put a blanket inside the crate to help the pig feel secure.