Do You Have A Vet For A Pot Bellied Pig?

If you are considering a pot bellied pig for a pet, and you don't live in or near a rural area, you may want to check on two important issues before going out to get your piglet.

This first issue involves zoning. While some municipalities consider pot bellied pigs as domestic pets, others treat them as farm animals. If you are allowed to keep a pot bellied pig as a pet in your area, you will likely need a permit. Check your local animal control office for any restrictions on ownership.

The second and equally important concern is determining if there is a veterinarian in your area that will treat pot bellied pigs. You may need to take your pig to an exotic veterinarian (not a vet who is exotic, but one that treats less traditional pets).

What kinds of veterinary services does a pot bellied pig require?

Pigs, even more than other pets, have a propensity for overeating and obesity. This can lead to many of the same health problems that humans and other pets experience when they are overweight, such as heart disease, diabetes, and leg and hip joint problems.

Veterinary issues that are more specific to pot bellied pigs

In addition to common health issues, pot bellied pigs have their own unique health and maintenance requirements, including:

Hoof trimming

Pigs in urban and suburban locations will generally need to have their hooves trimmed more often than their rural counterparts because they are not out rooting in fields all day, so their hooves don't get worn away.

If left untrimmed, the normally straight hooves can grow into a circular shape, causing pain and malformation of the feet as the pig tries to compensate by walking with an irregular gait.

It is often necessary for pot bellied pigs to be sedated to have their hooves trimmed, especially if an inexperienced owner has attempted to perform the trimming themselves and cut into the quick, which is a sliver of flesh that runs through the center of each hoof.

Tusk trimming

Male pigs will grow tusks that protrude outward from the bottom portion of their mouths, even if they have been neutered. These tusks are used in a swiping sideways motion against other male pigs (or if the pig is irritated).

While it's usually just a warning motion, the tusks are pointed and can cause harm. They can also get caught in stationary objects, causing distress and possible harm to the pig's mouth. 

Again, sedation is often necessary for tusk filing, so you'll need a vet that is willing to do it.

You may also face problems with parasites such as mange mites, which can cause skin problems such as intense itching.

If you can find an exotic vet that treats pot bellied pigs, you should also consider logistics. Try to find the suitable vet that is closest to your home. Pot bellied pigs don't stay small, and can be difficult to transport because of their adult weight.

They are not like dogs that can leap into your vehicle. If you're lucky, you can train them to walk up a ramp into your vehicle. They also tend to urinate and defecate in extraordinary amounts if they are nervous or irritated. 

Although this sounds like an anti-pig diatribe, they are actually intelligent, funny, and affectionate pets. However, you must accept them as they are and be certain that you can meet their special needs before you go to pick out your pig.