old age

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Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2002 7:25 pm

I posted this on caviesgalore, a member kindly pointed me to here.
I have a 6 year old boar, who has had a number of problems the last 3years. His brother died aged 4 from 2strokes. But I wont get started on that, lets just say I was VERY cross with the way the vet treated him.. Anyhoo, over the last 3years my boar has suffered from pneumonia, which he very nearly didnt servive from, it took four months for his to get over that fully. He has also had reacurring kidney problems, usually clearing up with antibiotics, he´s also had a "lump" which the doctor called a gland, this slowly went away after a month. This febuary he got an abcess, where he had the lump before, after a week it got a head, and was lanced. Its been cleaned everyday since and is almost gone.
The problem is the last week or two his eyes have become very sucken, and he has become very stiff and finds moving very hard, he usually enjoys floortime but no he has no energy for it. In his cage he sits all hunched up in the corner and only moves if he hears a food bag russle.
I have a gut feeling I´m going to lose him, the vet has been no help, I wondered if people have any ideas on ways to make him as comftable as possible, for the tine he has left.

As a foot-note, today I have noticed that he has started dragging his right front leg every-so-often, he also seems to topple over onto the right when he turns. He has a vitamin-c supliment in his water, and he´s drinking fine, he is eating, but not alot, hes stopped eating hay, eats a small about of dried food and will only gnaw carrot or brocalli, everything else is ignored.


Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2002 7:34 pm

Vitamin C in the water is not a reliable or effective way to supplement. There is no way you can make sure your pig drinks enough to sustain his needs in vitamin C and besides, vitamin C is killed by daylight so it doesn´t remain active a whole lot of time. You just can´t tell if the pig is getting what he needs.

From what you describe, I´m thinking scruvy. The proper way to suuplement is either to use chewable vitamin C pills for humans or the liquid version, for humans as well, and sold in pharmacies. Usually, the dose is 50mg/kg. Make sure it´s vitamin C only, though. Pigs don´t need the other supplements.

The sunken eyes are usually a sign of dehydration. Is he drinking? And is he eating properly? Have his molar been examined (usually under anesthasia and with the proper tools)? If his teeth hurt, he might not be drinking and eating well. That would explain the scurvy and dehydration signs. Has he lost weight?

You need to get some water and vitamin C into him. And more than likely, he will need to be forcefed. He sounds depress and pigs in that condition usually don´t eat enough to keep their system going. Pigs are designed to have food constantly moving through and it they don´t, then the whole digestive system shuts down.

So, here are the questions I have.
-Is he eating? How much?
-Is he drinking? How much?
-Did he lose weight? How many ounces?
-Have his teeth been checked?


Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2002 7:52 pm

He is drinking, if a little more than usual.
His teeth were filled in december. When I took him too the vet on tuesday, she checked them and said they were fine.
His weight is going up and down by a few ounces every few days.
He isnt eating enough, like I said he´s stopped eating hay altogether and hes stopped eating all vegtables except carrots and broccali, his dried food intake has become less too.
His cage is kept downstairs during the day and in my room at night so that I have been able to keep my eye on him.


Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2002 8:02 pm

Well, you need to be forcefeeding him. When pigs stope eating or don´t eat enough, the liver cells start to die and when it reaches the point of no return, there is nothing you can do anymore. So you need to be getting some food into him.

Go to the Guinea Lynx information pages and read about anorexia and hand feeding. Do you have access to Critical Care? If not, you´ll have to prepare your own slurry. You´ll also need 1cc syringes (without the needle) to put food in him. And it´s urgent that you supplement with vitamin C, as he sounds like his back legs are starting to paralyze from scurvy.

If you need instructions on how to forcefeed him, let us know.


Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2002 8:03 pm

The link to the Guinea Lynx pages.



Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2002 8:57 pm

He could have arthritis or even heart disease. The sunken eyes are not a good sign and could indicate dehydration. A hydration subcue treatment could be helpful. B and C vitamins can be added into the hydration solution.

You should give him the C directly. He might not be getting enough from the water or his food. 50-100mg/kg is the therapeutic dosae. You can portion up a C tablet.

Heart problems could make him lethargic. Unfortunately, if he has kidney problems Lasix is not recommended. Fortekor or Enacard may be okay, but they are just for maintenance.

Are you sure he has kidney problems? Or is it bladder?

If he´s in pain - sunken eyes can indicate pain - Rimadyl is an excellent pain reliever and can make him much more comfortable. 1/12 of a 25mg tablet is the daily dose for a 1kg pig.

I would suggest C directly, Rimadyl, a subcue hydration treatment and possibly an xray to see if there is arthritios or heart problems indicated. Do a search on heart for past posts describing what to look for in an xray.


And yes, he must be handfed if he isn´t eating enough.
Last edited by pinta on Sat Mar 16, 2002 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2002 9:46 pm

at www.oxbowhay.com it says that older pigs should be given alfalfa hay and other foods that they enjoy later in life, even if it´s not necessarily good for them. I guess if he won´t eat timothy hay anymore, alfalfa is better than nothing. Good luck. Scott


Post   » Sun Mar 17, 2002 6:29 am

Thank you for all your advice, the petshop will open at noon so I´ll go and get some alfalfa hay.
I will print this all out and show it to my vet on monday,
hopefully it will course some much needed action on her account.


Post   » Sun Mar 17, 2002 7:20 am

In the meantime, handfeed AND make sure she gets fluids. Syringe down the fluids making sure she chews and swallows. If fluid gets into the lungs she could get pneumonia.

An adult pig needs approx. 60cc of fluid daily to maintain.

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