If your pig appears to be limping, or their feet seem painful, your pet might be lame. Pigs can become lame for a variety of reasons. These can include:
Pigs aren’t the most sure-footed of animals, like humans they can slip and fall, and injure themselves. If this happens to your pig, confine them to a small flat area to prevent any further injury. You may need to minimise their movements for a few days to allow the injury to heal.
Aspirin can be used to relieve the worst of the pain – an adult pig can be given approximately 300mg twice daily to help alleviate any pain. The rule of thumb regarding dosage is 5mg per 1lb (5mg per 0.45kg). Aspirin can cause stomach problems, so make sure it’s administered with a full meal to help prevent any potential problems. You should never feed a pig aspirin for more than a couple of days. Speak with the vet if you have any doubts.
Problems such as arthritis, rickets and poor bone development can occur in animals that have been fed a poor diet – one lacking in essential minerals and nutrients. Make sure you feed your pig sow nuts in the morning and some leafy dark greens in the afternoon. Nutritionally a diet like this will promote good all-around health, however, their diet can be topped up with cod liver oil/powder, flax oil or a children’s vitamin tablet. Improving their diet may not solve lameness, but it could help alleviate some of their symptoms.
Obese pigs are more prone to lameness. Pigs’ bones and muscles are designed to carry a certain amount of weight and no more. The additional weight carried by an obese pig places extra stress on the joints, muscles and bones. This results in more damage and lameness. Obese pigs are far more likely to develop severe arthritis, in old age, than a healthy pig. This highlights how important a good diet is, and why you should never overfeed your pig. If your pig is fat, put them on a diet and make them shed the extra weight – you could be looking at expensive vet’s bills in future if you don’t.
Older pigs are more prone to lameness and arthritis. Sadly, this is just something which accompanies old age. Diet is especially important as it can reduce some of the symptoms. Aspirin can be used to alleviate extreme cases of lameness and arthritis.
Rimadyl is one drug which is used to help lameness and arthritis in older pigs. This is a prescription drug in most countries so you’ll have to contact your vet if you wish to obtain it. This drug can cause your pig to have a tummy upset so it needs to be taken with food, and something like Pepcid AC heartburn tablets (known as Pepcidtwo in other countries).
Make sure older animals are kept warm at night. Give them extra bedding, insulate their sty, essentially, do whatever it takes to make their sty and bed warm especially during the colder months. Cold weather and climates can make lameness worse.
Untrimmed hooves are also a major cause of lameness. Keep the hooves trimmed – make sure they’re nice and neat. Untrimmed hooves will slowly stretch the tendons and place additional stress on the joints, if left untreated.