Long hooves on a pig or deformed hooves on a pig are a sign of
neglect by the owner. It might be caused by ignorance rather than
deliberate, but if someone does not know enough about pigs to
keep their hooves trimmed then they shouldn't be the caregiver of
the pig until they educate themselves on how to properly care for
You must pay attention to your pigs' feet, especially if they are
indoor pigs that do not have a lot of grinding action on their
hooves because of soft carpeting and smooth floors. If you allow
your pig's hooves to get too long it could cripple it. The hooves
can also become deformed, causing further health problems for
your pig. If you pig's hooves do become deformed or too long you
should take it to the veterinarian to have the hooves trimmed.
Do not attempt to trim a badly deformed hoof or a very long hoof
unless you know exactly what you are doing. If a pig's hooves are
too long then the quick (The meaty part inside the hoof that
carried the blood.) can grow further down into the hoof. You may
have to take the pig to the veterinarian several times to have
the hoof trimmed until the quick retreats back up into the hoof
to a more normal level.
Even pig farmers who grow their pigs only for meat purposes know
this and trim their pig's hooves regularly. If a pig's hooves
become to long it could fall and break or fracture a leg, which
would mean it would probably have to be put down. Certainly it
will mean that the pig will become crippled if the problem is not
Some pigs need their hooves trimmed regularly and some seldom or
never need their hooves trimmed. The back hooves rarely need
trimming and if you keep your pig outdoors they usually keep
their front hooves ground down naturally and you may never have
to trim their hooves at all.
But in case your pig does need this procedure, here are some tips
to help you and your pig weather the experience a little better.
Keep in mind that the trimming of a pig's hooves will be
unpleasant, usually for the both of you, so try to be as gentle
and patient as possible.
If you are squeamish and easily upset then you might want to have
your veterinarian trim your pig's hooves for you. If you want to
do it yourself you can do so with a pair of medium sized nippers.
Be careful how much you trim off at once though, because the
quick goes well down into the hoof and supplies blood to the
hoof, so if you trim too far you will hurt the pig and cause the
hoof to bleed.
To keep your pig benevolent while you are trying to trim its
hooves you can do it while giving it a belly rub if it will let
you. But the trimming of a pig's hooves usually requires more
than one person: One to hold the pig's front legs and another
person to hold the back legs and gently tip the pig onto his
side. He will probably scream bloody murder but if you and your
partner remain calm he will eventually settle down.
The person with the medium-sized nippers should nick the hoof
quickly one quarter of an inch deep on each side of the hoof.
This will make the hoof break off at that level when the pig
walks around. The pig will facilitate this by flexing on the
damaged area until it does break off. This is the easiest trim,
or as it is called a "mini-trim," and doesn't do as much damage
as a more extensive trim.
So take care of your pig and look to its safety by keeping its
hooves trimmed. And educate yourself so that you can provide the
best possible care for your piggy friend.
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