Potbellied Pigs: Are the Lardiest Pets a Health Hazard?
“They are a wonderful pet for people with the patience of Job,” said Janie Finck of the North American Potbellied Pig Association. “There are a variety of animals that are prohibited in New York City for health and safety reasons, including pigs,” New York’s Department of Health said in a prepared statement. Health officials have not received any complaints on the live-in pig in New York, and they say health risks are “Not much more than a cat or dog.” Like One of the Kids Lisa and Joel Cummings of St. Albans, Queens, told the New York Post this week that their Vietnamese potbellied pig, Romeo, “Runs around the house,” and is “Very calm and does well with the kids.” Pigs – even the domesticated potbellied kind – are on a long list of pets that are prohibited from living in New York dwellings. “Pigs can get big and that may very well be a concern,” said Carina Blackmore, the public health veterinarian for the state of Florida. Finck, who rallied her town of Bradenton, Fla., to change ordinances, allowing pet owners to keep pigs legally, agrees that pet pigs are not for everyone, and especially not for city dwellers. She owns four potbellied pigs, two of them living indoors. Potbellied pigs were popular during the 1980s, but then went out of fashion because of the destruction factor. Clooney Mourns Max Actor George Clooney shared his Hollywood home with a 300-pound potbellied pig until Max the star went to hog heaven at the age of 18, after suffering from arthritis and partial blindness. Finck said there has been a “Resurgence” of interest in potbellied pigs, which can live for 15 to 20 years. Like other domesticated animals, pigs need all their inoculations and health checks. “Pigs can do just about anything you teach them to do,” said Finck. As far as care is concerned, potbellied pigs need their hooves trimmed, and sometimes, their tusks need cutting back – not an easy task, said Finck, because “Pigs don’t like being constrained.” Two of Finck’s pigs lay their heads on her lap while she watches “Oprah,” and she rubs their bellies.
Rabbit and Guniea Pig Welfare Fund
Set aside time each week to spend extra time with your guinea pigs to give them a healthcheck. We do hope we have given you the basic information that you will need to care for your guinea pigs. The gestation period for a guinea pig is approximately 67 – 72 days. The life span of a guinea pig is approximately seven years you should bear this in mind when making your purchase. A female guinea pig could well produce five litters a year. Finding good homes for so many offspring can be a major problem, so the golden rule about breeding from pet guinea pigs is: DON’T. As a general rule it is inadvisable to breed from young females of any species who may have reached puberty but who are too immature in behaviour to deal with their own young patiently and competently. There may be a greater risk of dystocia if the guinea pig does not have her first litter while she is still young. First aid In an emergency expert veterinary advice should be sought urgently, but it is important meanwhile to handle the guinea pig correctly and do the right thing to speed its treatment. When the guinea pig is very cold, a small drop of whisky is an invaluable reviver. Accidents Probably for a suspected fracture the vet will want the guinea pig brought to the surgery rather than make a house call, so ask how to move the guinea pig safely, without aggravating its problem. When a fracture is not suspected, the guinea pig should be picked up in the usual way, wrapped in an old towel for extra warmth, and taken immediately to the vet. Loss of balance A guinea pig which holds its head to one side and which may veer round in circles, quite unable to walk in a straight line, is showing symptoms of middle ear disease and professional advice should be sought. Frequent observation of your guinea pig’s condition and behaviour is the best way to spot any health problem before it progresses too far. Either bath the guinea pig with a medicated shampoo or treat with a mild insecticide powder. Sometimes death is rapid, but variations of the condition may cause a slow deterioration in the guinea pig over several weeks.
The Guinea Pig Health Community
Please remember that the room your guinea pigs are in should have a stable temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees F. The hair on a guinea pigs body is no thicker than the hair on a human head and they are very vulnerable in temperatures colder than this range. A digital thermometer is the best way of knowing for sure that your piggies are safe and you can monitor the temperature at cage level. Many people think that guinea pigs are tougher than they are and that the likes of some of us here are quite paranoid owners. While the latter may certainly be true(!), guinea pigs are a purely domesticated animal and have never been a wild animal. The guinea pig was never “Designed” to live terribly long and as such they didn’t need to be terribly hardy or healthy. So other than turning the heating up, how can we keep our piggies safe? There are many, many ways. Another piggie – piggies keep each other warm! Huddling together is the best heat source, nothing else comes close. Heating pads – these are available for small animals. Blankets – a blanket draped over one end of the cage can make a massive difference, and many piggies love this at the best of times! A great way of trapping heat. Cardboard boxes covered with towel – make a normal cardboard box hidey house and then cover with a towel to keep the heat in. Grab a sewing machine and make your own!Cosy houses, really great for trapping heat and the pigs love them! Hunt around for these online. Layers – place in extra fleece for piggies to burrow under when they choose – use smaller pieces to prevent any panicky trapped piggies!Hay piles – cheap hay can be used as play hay for piggies to burrow in and keep warm. Heat lamps – be very careful with these, position outside the cage so that it can in no way possibly fall into the cage. Close curtains – keep the curtains shut when it gets dark!I really would encourage everyone to buy a little digital room thermometer for their piggie room. Humans have a much wider range of comfortable temperatures so it’s harder for us to fine tune ourselves to that 65-75 range the piggies need.