Thursday, December 30, 2010

Off on a vet run again today in -34C

I cannot tell you how bad I wish the vets around here would start working with pot bellied pigs!!! I have spent SO much time (and money) in the van with my Tucker over the last few years taking him to vets in other places because no one here knows enough about them to be willing to work on them. This is why I get so angry when people post untrue things on Kijiji, like saying "any farm vet will deal with PBP." It's just not true and people need to be aware of that before deciding to get a pig because it's a huge pain in the butt and a big expense that they need to be prepared for.

 Today, we need to have his tusk trimmed. It is close to poking through his cheek if we leave it any longer. I've never gone through this proceedure before, so I am a little bit nervous and glad Scott is home to come with me. I cry when I see people hurt my pigs, so I like to be able to stay out of the room and be the nice mommy (with a pocket full of treats) he can run to when the bad people are finished being mean! Why, of all of my pigs, is Tucker the one with the wonky tusk? Hasn't the poor guy had to endure enough over his life? The vet wants to try to do it without putting him under, but I am kind of hoping he does. Whatever a "nose snair" is (which is what he wanted to use) it does not sound like something Tucker will appreciate. I'd like him to sleep through it and wake up when it's done. I am hoping to have his hooves trimmed if he's under too. He hates that task as well! This is a new vet and I am hoping he might also have some insight into Tucker's chronic acne.

Wish us luck...

UPDATE: All went well. He didn't have to be put under...I was really surprised. Tucker wasn't happy, but didn't require the nose snair (man, that sounds terrible!) It didn't take long...he didn't even have to get out of the van...and I don't think it caused him any pain. Didn't get the hooves done, if he's awake anyways, we'll just do them here. We ALL hate that job. I feel better now that it's over...but I already miss his handsome tusks!


  1. A nose snare should not be used on a pot belly pig , there nose structure is much different from a farm pig . GRRRRRRRRRRR VETS..

    I do all my pigs tusks here and there are methods that are fast and less stressful for the pig , but just not for you lol

  2. Grrrr....typed a response and lost it. I hate it when that happens. >:o(

    I kind of thought that too about the nose snair. I've never seen one, but if it was something that looked nasty, I was going to turn around and come home. He did so good though that nothing was necessary. The vet sawed them off with an OB wire and it only took about 30 seconds per tusk (if that). Tucker didn't even have to get out of the van...I was so relieved! I am getting SO frustrated that none of the vets in this area know anything about PBP. It's scary. I went there hoping to have Tucker put under so I could have his feet trimmed too (he has problem feet that are very difficult to trim), but his opinion of anaesthetic was the opposite of what I have been reading on PBP that option was out! I wasn't about to take the chance. Now that we've seen a tusk trim done, I think we can manage it on our own if/when we need to do it again. The vet even gave us the wire.

  3. Oh well BRAVO to him for doing it this way!!! That is how we all do them and i agree also with him and sedation for routine work. Most vets will only see a pig once a year for routine stuff as spay and neuter. The fact that you have one willing to do tusks without putting him under is AWESOME!! Most vets will do what is easier for them and not what is best for the pig. And that always means injections. What some are still using is killing pigs even today, from over doses to administering a second shot when the pig doesn't go down. The pig will go down all right and more then likely not wake up after either. I am very serious about what and what is not injected into my pigs.

  4. I have always read that ISO gas is the ONLY thing you should use to put a PBP pig under and this vet said that you should NEVER use ISO on a pig??? All of ours were put under using this when they were I am wondering.If he was to put him under, it would have been an injection (don't remember what it was because I had changed my mind by that point anyways.)I HATE giving them injections...the gas seems way less dangerous and they wake up right away. What do you use Janice?

  5. PS. I have also been told all along that you should NEVER trim a pig's tusks without putting them under because if they are screaming they could inhale bits of the tooth. Have you ever had this happen

  6. ISO IS THE BEST way as they do like you say come out of it within 15 minutes.

    Also vets without much experience , think they do not want to wrangle pigs and risk injury to there hands. But I crate all my pigs to the vets and we remove the top a little and mask them right there. Once they go under we lift them on the table.

    I am also accomdating as much as i can be back there and being prepared. These vets are working in cat and dog clinics. Sterile environment and then here comes our pigs with straw stuck to them. There not set up for farm animals so i bring two crates , one for post surgery, or at least a garbage bag and fresh blankets so the clean up is done by me. Most pigs soil in the crate on any transport.

    My two vets use a Telezol cocktail and have Stresnil also called asperone. Another farm call vet i use when i cna't get Herman also keeps stressnil on hand.

    NO KETAMINE EVER.. hate that stuff

    I will not allow pre-sedation on my babies. They are small enough to simply hold while the ISO mask is placed over there snout.
    My current vet/surgeon is also the vet for a wildlife preserve so i trust him completely. He does give my pigs a injection to take the edge off but not enough to put them under. In the clinic there are monitors checking ISO and heart rate. You don't get that safety on a farm call.

    I do all my pigs tusks and hooves as the stress to do them here is far less then transporting them, you know what freaks they are about anything new so although they may be quiet they will be scared to death.

    I have done tusks alone by simply pretending to feed a treat in one hand and fishing with the loop of the wire in the other. As soon as the Loop snags the pig will pull back, no food now and drop that treat and got both hands on the handles and start sawing. Its an 8 second ride.

    Normally its takes three of us to trap the pig we want in there house. A small board to block the door way and all three of us get in there. One to lean there back against the board in case the pig goes for it. Pigs are about fright and flight, they will not attack you but they will go for it.

    As soon as the pig has his back to me i reach down and grab him from behind by the armpits. As i am holding i am also sitting down. This will have the pigs back against your chest with his butt in between your legs in a sitting position.

    There is less risk of a tusk falling back in the mouth when in a sit .

    Everything you do with the pigs must be done fast as restraint equals stress and being caught to a pig means certainly death. While i hold some else saws.

    I always do the take because i am fast and strong and do not want inexperience scaring/stressing my pig out with a miss on the grab or the pig getting out of there initial take down. For sure he is not going to turn his back on you again.

    And if we miss the grab or he gets away on us the work is canceled for another day as I won't double the stress to get him again and risk a heart attack from fear on the hold.

    I have pictures of the hold Lorrie if you would like to see them .

  7. PS .. Pigs tusks should never be trimmed under the gum line. It has been found that when taken too short they quite often grow back upwards into the roof of the mouth.

  8. That is the same hold we use to give Tucker his Draxxin injections and trim his hooves. He use to scream the whole time, now he just whines. He's realized that we aren't really going to hurt him, and that he gets MANY treats afterwards. It's funny because as soon as we release him...he spins around with his mouth open waiting for us to place the treats in. All is quickly forgiven! :o)

    Glad to hear you use the ISO gas too. This vet has been the only one who has ever told me otherwise and I just wasn't willing to take the chance.

  9. I know this is a old post but I just found your site and I cannot agree more. I have a female 10 month old pot belly who I love dearly who I am afraid is suffering because of the vet situation. I took her finally to a vet who did double eye surgery to remove the eyelashes from likening her eyes 2 months ago since then she has had so many more problems with her eyes that she did not have before and I keep begging him to look at her. I finaaly get him to look he says oh she is fine she is just swollen and irritated two months later I don't think so. She now has such bad brown discharge from her eyes which she didn't before the whites of her eyes are red in the back of her eye and she is over weight but now she Bradley looks like she has eyes when before you could see them now they just look like slits you have to pull them open to even tell she has eyes and she hasn't put more weight on. I don't know what to do there is no other vet to go to and he just keeps pushing me off saying its fine. I am her mom and mom knows best she is not OK she is in pain she rubs her eyes on things now also I want to help my baby she is going to end up blind if I leave it in the vets hands do you have any suggestions.

    1. The only thing that will help her is losing weight. The eyelashes grow into the eye as the fat pushes the eyes shut. Try putting her on a healthy diet. It will take a while for her to lose the weight, but don't give up. Even if she's not getting sounds like she's fat enough that the lashes are still pushing in. Her eyes will never get better if that is the case. Also, make sure you are cleaning her eyes regularly. You could try Polysporin FOR EYES as might help. I wish you luck.