The Trouble with Teacup Pigs
Over the years, various breeders have tried to create pigs that retain all of the adorableness of a piglet without reaching the potential half ton plus mass of a full grown adult hog. Combined with the intelligence and sociability that pigs possess, it would seem that teacup pigs should make a perfect pet. To be clear, there are pigs that are unusually small and it is possible to selectively breed smaller and smaller pigs. Even so there is no currently recognized breed of teacup pigs. There may be a few breeders out there capable of consistently producing very small pigs and I’m not calling out Glitzy’s breeder, Posh Pigs, directly.
Made popular in part by Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Paris Hilton, and other celebrities who have embraced pigs as pets, the demand for small pigs is on the rise. There are many unscrupulous breeders willing to take advantage of some interesting porcine biology to market standard pot-bellied pigs as teacups. Most production pigs are slaughtered long before then, so people rarely see just how big a pig can be. A new pig enthusiast, attracted to pet pigs from images of teacup pigs frolicking around a living room, could be forgiven if they thought the size of the parents was a decent predictor of the size of their new pet. Responsible, though misguided, owners return them to the breeder, but many pet pigs end up abandoned or dumped at local animal shelters.
Several teacup pig rescue programs have emerged in the last few years to deal with the teacup pig problem. If pictures of adorably tiny pigs has you pining for a porcine pal, you might want to consider taking that hefty fee breeder’s charge for a teacup pig and instead contributing it to the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme through the Durell Conservation Trust.
Cali Cavy Collective: a blog about all things guinea pig: Oxbow Critical Care for Truffle
Seemingly out of the blue, Truffle completely went off all food earlier this week. Puzzling enough, she didn’t show any of the usual signs of illness in guinea pigs. Nevertheless she was syringed a 12 mL tube of Oxbow Critical Care, given 1 mL of extra virgin olive oil then brought to the vet. He didn’t find anything obviously wrong with Truffle either but gave her an injection of subcutaneous fluids for hydration and buprenorphine in case she was in pain from gas buildup. Normally silent and stoic, she kicked wildly, bucked madly, made the vet tech accidentally stab herself with the needle, and even emitted a series of upset wheeks.
We were sent home with instructions to continue hand feeding her Critical Care and to call back if things worsened. Despite aggressive force feedings, by 3am the following morning Truffle still hadn’t made a single poop. After looking at her bottom we pulled out a very strange poop, mostly composed of a stringy substance similar to egg whites. After massaging her abdomen she managed to push out several additional poops, all shriveled and poorly formed. She still would not eat on her own and had difficulty excreting poop so the force feedings continued.
The good news is that after over half a week of being force fed syringes full of Critical Care and being coaxed into nibbling favorite foods Truffle is finally back to being her mischievous little self again, complete with hearty appetite and normal bean-shaped poops. The pigloos are always cozier on the other side of the cage! Helpful infoUndercover Guinea Pigs – Dealing with bloatGuinea Lynx – Hand feeding your ill guinea pigGuinea Lynx – Concerned about BetteGuinea Lynx – weird behaviorPeter Gurney – Bloat.
Mini Pig Health: The Basics
Once you’ve contacted a vet or you are at an animal hospital with your pig, sure post about your situation then, but if it’s a true emergency, please don’t waste time on FB trying to figure out what may be wrong with your pig. Normal rectal temperature for a mini pig is between 99-101. You should take your pigs temperature when the pig is NOT sick to get a baseline. I recently was a panicked pig mama when my pig, Buttercup became ill…called my vet to come over and eventually Buttercup got the medical intervention to make a full recovery. If your pig is running a fever and lethargic…something is wrong3.
Please read further down to learn more in depth about specific pig diseases and illnesses. If your pig isn’t eating or drinking, lethargic and has a fever…your pig needs to be seen by a vet ASAP. The 3 most common illnesses are erysipelas, pneumonia and leptospirosis and with prompt medical intervention, all 3 are treatable/curable. Take advantage of the pig health forms we have available for you to download by clicking here. Another useful tool I have used in the past, AFTER calling my vet, is The Pig Site’s disease problem solver.
Normal temp for a mini pig older than 3 months old is 98-100 normally, but you should take a baseline temp for your pig when your pig is NOT sick so you know what is normal for your particular pig. Each pig may have a slightly different baseline core body temp. You will not give your pig an injection unless directed to do so by your veterinarian, but if you are directed to inject your pig with a medication, this picture should help you identify the most appropriate area to give that injection.