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Keeping Pet Pigs

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A pig's good health is founded on activity, grazing and good
food. They seem to be naturally resistant to most diseases and
parasites. If they do manage to pick up something it is
relatively easy to cure if you treat it quickly and don't let it
get out of hand.

If you are interested in having a pet pig, you need to know that
pigs need to be de-wormed and get proper vaccinations to keep
them healthy. Vaccines like Atrophic Rhinitis, Haemopholous,
Pasteurella and Erysipelas are common and recommended by
veterinarians. Veterinarians prefer to do these vaccinations when
the pigs are young and may not repeat them. If you don't keep
many pigs and seldom introduce your pig to other pigs the
practice of only having your pig vaccinated once is okay.

The vaccines prevent some pretty horrible diseases could cause
your pig to need immediate care or even to be put down.
Erysipelas is one disease that you can vaccinate against and it
can cause the skin to slough off of your pig, lame your pig, or
kill it. You should also consider getting a rabies shot for your
pig if you live anywhere that rabies might be an issue,
especially if you live in the country.

Ivomec is a common de-wormer that you can mix with your piggies'
food or administer by injection. It is important to realize that
your pig can contract worms not only in his digestive tract but
in his heart and lungs as well. In severe cases worms can get
into the brain. Take de-worming seriously even if you pig is an
indoor pig. You do not know where your pig has been all of its
life. Be sure that the medication you use is labeled for swine or
cattle. You can also give Decotmax which is similar. Be alert to
your pigs' health and if you see worms in their feces or they
cough you might need to change your de-wormer to one that says it
will get rid of lung worms as well as other types of worms.

If your pig is properly cared for and has a wallow, external
parasites are probably not a problem. The only thing they might
pick up is lice or mites, if other livestock is in the area.
Scratching is not necessarily a sign that your pigs have
parasites though, because pigs normally enjoy scratching.

To check for external parasites you can look behind and in their
ears, which is a common place for mites. Lice are usually
indicated by bald patches and intense scratching. Lice are pig
parasites and you may be able to see the eggs lined up on their
shoulder blades. Ivomec will kill lice as well as de-worm you
pig. You can also use a powder like Permectin to kill lice, just
remember that this is poison and you shouldn't put this powder on
them without rinsing them off before they take regular trips to
the pool or mud bath to cool off in the summer, or the poison
will come off in their water. Pigs will sip from their wallow or
pool sometimes, and you don't want to poison them. Just wash the
pigs off before they go in their mud hole or pool, and do this in
a place where the poison will not be introduced into the pigs'
environment and be ingested at a later date.

Dry skin is a common problem for pigs, since they don't have a
heavy hair coat. That is why they need a mud hole or wallow; the
mud protects them from sunburn and pests and lubricates their
skin. Make sure that your piggy can go to the mud hole often if
it develops dry skin. You can also use Aloe Vera lotion to help
heal their skin, or you can use Fanam which is a common product
for healing chapped skin and wounds. You can find it at your
local livestock store and it can be used for you too.

Sometimes frequent dry, flaky skin can be an indication that you
pig is not getting enough fat in his diet. Be careful if you put
your pig on a diet. Fat is necessary for your pig to develop the
essential oils that protect the skin. Adding some fish oil or
flax oil in capsule form can help you piggy with dry skin. It is
completely natural for your pig to have a thick layer of fat. It
is when you piggy has trouble getting around that you should
start to control its diet.

Shedding is common in the early spring and summer. This is
totally normal; just protect them more diligently from the sun
because they can burn even more easily than usual. You will also
need to regularly check their hooves and trim them if necessary
and trim their tusks, especially if they are crooked or hooked.
Pig care is easy and essentially most potential problems can be
prevented with proper care from a loving owner.

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