The elderly pig...

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GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:34 pm

These are the things I learned that should be checked from having my Elsie live to the age of 7yrs and 4 months:

Weight loss - could be the sign of a heart problem. A cardiac ultrasound would be a good idea to rule it out.

Upper respiratory infection / trouble breathing - could be the sign of a heart problem. Again, a cardiac ultrasound would be a good idea.

Feet - dry cracking skin on bottom of feet ) - could lead to pododermatitis (Bumblefoot), a serious condition. Can apply moisturizer to dry skin to prevent cracking of skin which can lead to infection.

Trouble walking, dragging feet - could be arthritis which can be detected on x-ray and proper meds administered.

Please feel free to add any other experiences with medical issues that you've encountered with an elderly pig.

When we know better, we do better. Thanks!

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Post   » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:46 pm

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Post   » Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:48 pm

Those pages are very good. Thanks.

If you notice a soggy bottom on your older pig, and have had a Vet rule out any urinary problems such as stones or infection, trim the fur around the bottom area gently with some clippers. Sometimes a quick rinse and dry daily, goes a long way to making them more comfortable. Your senior will appreciate it.

Some pigs just get tired and don't feel like moving after a good pee.

Suey will be 8 this month.

Obey My Authority

Post   » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:44 pm

General routine senior care.
Video 1
Video 2

Again, all of the things covered here could be used on pigs at any age, but I am focusing on seniors.
Life expectancy is 5-7 years, so make sure your are ready to commit before bringing your piggy home.
As each day that goes by, your form a stronger relationship with your piggy. Watching them age and deteriorate in front of your eyes is not easy, but I have found these following things made the “golden years” much more enjoyable for McMac and I.
Prevention is key
As they age, it is ever so more important to catch things early on. .
Since each piggy is different, know their NORMS.
Make sure you have the card and phone number of your trusted vet everywhere. I have one on their first-aid box, on their carrier and on the fridge.
Stressing the prevention idea, weigh them weekly, this cannot be skipped.
Any drop in weight should send tip you off.

Weekly care.
Teeth check, look for straight and even teeth. Discoloration, wet chins, swollen gums and chipped tooth will affect their eating, and once they stop eating, they go down the heel fast.
The vet can check the molars.
Check their eyes. Look for crusts, tears, discoloration and oddities. As they age, their vision deteriorates perhaps due to cataract and natural aging. You need to make their environment “blind friendly” with mellow casemates, fixed routine and fixed locations for their necessities (hay, water, pellet, veggie bowl).
I prefer fleece bedding for older pigs, walking on a even surface puts less pressure on their aching joints. If you suspect arthritis, a simple X-ray can be done to confirm. Rimaydyl and metacam are often prescribed to help them stay pain-free.

Wellness check at the vet’s –
Any slight changes in their sight, eating habits and behavior should be mentioned.
As they age, I strongly a vet check every 6 months instead of annually.
Molar check, jaw x-rays, imaging for arthritis, bone loss, fecal float for, and look for stones.
X-rays can also be used to look for enlarged heart and athritis.

Grooming routine.
McMac was a long-haired handsome man, we brush him and Mojo daily to avoid mattes and knots.
If it is a stubborn matt, cut it off, it is such an effort and pain for your piggy to brush it out.
When you bath them, give them an all over rub-down. Check for lumps and bumps, that is how we found their lumps and bite marks.
As McMac got older, his quick was no longer as pink as our other babies.
I find massaging his feet with your warm hands prior to clipping pink up their quicks.
I already trim front then back to avoid scratches.
Clean their ears regularly, I do use ear drops and cotton pods as opposed to Q-tips.
You can tear a cotton pad into several sections and roll it up to get to the inside.
What you clean out of the ears are actually ear wax and dead skin cells, it all depends on the “color” of your piggies’ ears.

Daily checks
As they age, they inevitably will slow down.
Always check if your aging piggy has a wet bottom from sitting in his/her pee, try to trim the butt hair as short as possible to avoid soaked fur and skin irritations.
Check their pads for dryness, balms from Gorgeous Guinea does magic.
Wheatgrass as a treat, more importantly, as his favorite CC mis-ins.
Wheat berries can be purchased at your local farmer’s market or Whole Foods. Soak them over night to speed up germination, and sprinkle them over a layer of damp carefresh.
I try not to use baby food or fruits for him, he has a bloat history…
Cut the wheatgrass with scissors, much easier and faster.
Feeding critical care, different syringes and feeding options are discussed.
Personally, I have small hands, I prefer the smaller syringes. I load up the BIG syringe, and then use it to pipe into the smaller syringe.

In the later days of McMac’s life, I had started talking to my vet about euthanasia.
I wanted to get an idea what it was like on the day I have to goodbye to him, when the day comes, I would be too overwhelmed with emotions rather than to focus on what was going on instead. My vet was very patient, walked me through the procedure itself, showing me the exact equipments he would be using to help him cross the Bridge.
It is an experience that will follow you for a long time, ask questions and be informed.
When that day ever comes, don’t fear it, embrace it with the knowledge that your most loyal and loving fur baby is no longer in pain…

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