If your Pet Pig has Arthritis - Here's some Help
Arthritis seems to strike most pigs when they get into their old
age. It may be simply genetics or more likely it is caused by the
weight that they carry around most of their lives. This puts
pressure on their joints and eventually damaging them. No matter
the cause, it is a painful, debilitating condition for a pig, and
if it is not taken care of so that the pig can move around, most
such affected pigs die very quickly.
Supplements can help with arthritis in pigs, but first be sure
that the pig has been examined by the veterinarian and a fracture
or other possible causes for the pain have been ruled out. If the
vet says that it is indeed arthritis that is causing your pet
pain, your and the vet's goal then is to reduce the pain in the
joint by both improving the fluids around the joint and reducing
the inflammation. Supplements like Glucosamine and Chondroitin
can be bought over the counter and do help improve arthritic
joints. Use the Glucosamine and Chondroitin products sold for
horses; half the dosage for a horse is good for a pig. But be
sure to double-check with your veterinarian before beginning to
Sometimes your veterinarian will prescribe a mild pain medication
so that it is easier for your pig to move around. One of the
common medications is called Rimadyl, or what is referred to as
the best, Derramax. These drugs are not safe over long periods
and it is recommended that if your pig is on these medications
that it also takes an acid-reducer medicine like Paxil,
Ranitidine, or the like. These pain-relieving medications will
allow your pig to move around relatively painlessly while the
other supplements that you are giving it have time to take
Glucosamine and Chondroitin is a supplement that has been
demonstrated to improve the overall condition of joints and to
slow any degenerative diseases that strike the joints, whether in
pigs or humans. The syrup version of Glucosamine and Chondroitin
is easy to sneak into a pig's diet and they eat it with no
problem. There is also a powder version that you might try. Both
of these products are sold for equines and one half the dosage
for a horse will work for your pigs. Be aware, these supplements
are expensive! But they are also effective. Most containers of
the liquid or powder last a while and will give you pig much
needed relief from its arthritic condition. It has been noted
that the powder Glucosamine and Chondroitin called Cosequin is
recommended for oral use.
Glucosaminoglycans (Adequan) is effective in removing bad fluid
from around the joints and improving the fluid around the joint
in general. This is usually an injected supplement. It is given
weekly for a month and then given once every month. It has been
found to be very effective in improving joint health. In some
cases the damage arthritis caused the joints were actually
reversed. Heartland carries a generic brand called Chondroprotec.
Or you can ask a local pharmacist if they carry generic
glucosaminoglycans and save money on a prescription proscribed by
your veterinarian. Always discuss any forms of treatment with
your veterinarian first before starting your pig on anything.
You can find most of these supplements under Equine sections on
most on-line Vet Supply companies. You just type into the search
box Chrondroprotec or Cosequin and it should pop up a listing for
For pigs that are not improving on the regular dosages it has
been recommended by some pig keepers to inject Depo-medrol and
Sarapin directly into the joints every few weeks. One big
disadvantage of this is that the pig must be under sedation
before injecting the joint. Your veterinarian will determine by
condition and age of the pig whether this would be an effective
The application of DMSO medical grade gel has been shown to have
great results in some tests, however it is not FDA approved to
use as a drug. Discuss using this with your veterinarian.
If all else fails you can ask your veterinarian to start your pig
on Prednisone, a steroid. Steroids have substantial risk but are
effective. The pig must also take an acid reducer like Prilosec
or Nexium to prevent digestive tract issues. You vet will know
the proper dosages and instructions for taking the medications.
Senior pigs should have heated beds and never sleep where cold
can get to them. Never put a pig on concrete, which holds cold or
it will aggravate its arthritis terribly. There are many bed
warmers you can get from farm, feed or pet supply stores. Look
for heated rubber bed warmers. Provide plenty of room for your
pig to be able to get off the mat if it gets too warm.
You should also consider restructuring your pig's habitat to
provide for an arthritic condition. Make walking surfaces level
and provide ramps. Provide heated pens or houses for your pig.
Provide plenty of leafy greens in his diet and higher protein hog
feed, and plenty of light so he can see and avoid pitfalls and
good ventilation for the hot summers.
In the end it is quality of life not quantity that counts most,
so if your pig starts to suffer more than the drugs can
compensate for, you should consider humanely putting your pig
down so that it doesn't continue to be in intolerable pain.
Arthritis is not easy to live with and can lead to other bad
health conditions and promote disease if the pain is not managed.
Providing a comfortable living environment for your arthritic pig
is challenging, but it will make it more comfortable and happy
till the end of its days.
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