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Teacup Pig Pets And Veterinary Care

There is an illusion promoted by breeders of so-called "teacup pigs" that they small and portable throughout their lifespan. They are just pot bellied pigs whose growth may have been stunted by inadequate feeding or inbreeding in the attempt to produce a true miniature pig. 

If you are considering buying a "teacup" pig as a pet in an urban area, you may want to check the facts about pig care first.

Can't you just feed a pot bellied pig less food to keep it small?

In reality, just as your child would stop growing if they are underfed, so will these pigs, but their health would suffer the same effects as a malnourished child.

It is true that a pot bellied pig is a miniature pig compared to farm pigs, who can weigh several hundred pounds, but the only teacup into which most adult pot bellied pigs will fit is the teacup rides at Disneyland.

Taking a pot bellied pig to the veterinarian

Most pot bellied pigs can easily weigh over one hundred pounds in adulthood. Unless you can train them to walk up a makeshift ramp into your vehicle to go to a veterinary clinic for care, you will need to lift them.

Pigs are naturally prey animals whose best defense is to run away, and because of this, they have a natural aversion to being picked up or otherwise restrained. This may lead to a squirming hundred-pound animal struggling to break free, and they squeal as a decibel level that can approach that of an airliner.

Once the pig is in your vehicle, it must be kept behind a vehicle animal gate or in a dog crate, because their neck muscles are incredibly strong and a slight nudge of the driver can cause an accident. 

Some pot bellied pigs are nervous when riding and tend to urinate and/or defecate in very large quantities. This may also happen in the veterinarian's under the stress of their visit.

Why do mini pigs need veterinary care?

If your pig is not around any other pigs, they can't get infected with porcine illnesses. However pot bellied pigs have other issues that require veterinary care.

Hoof and tusk trimming

Pet pigs may not get enough outdoor activity to keep their hooves from becoming overgrown. The hooves will then begin to curve around their feet, affecting their gait and possibly leading to muscle and tendon damage.

Male pigs have tusks that protrude from the sides of their mouths, and unlike their country cousins, they are not naturally kept in check through constant rooting in rough terrain. 

Hooves must be trimmed and tusks filed. If your pig is hesitant to allow it (pigheaded is an expression for a reason), sedation is required.

Health problems from weight issues

Pot bellied pigs will eat as much as you feed them and pretty much whatever they are offered. The rise of pet obesity in dogs and cats (and their owners) leads to a likelihood that your pet pig may become obese. 

This can lead to leg issues, but also to the same problems as overweight humans, such as diabetes and heart disease.

While you may not be able to sit  with your "teacup" pig in your lap for very long, they are remarkably intelligent, playful, and affectionate pets. Just don't have illusions about keeping them small.

You can train some pigs to go to the vet on a regular basis without any trouble, but you must start when they are small, and acclimate them gradually to both the transport and the veterinary care experience.

Small food rewards are a good start. Many pot bellied pigs owners carry a sandwich bag of Cheerios or a similar healthy snack for training rewards or to simply get their pig to move. Use whatever works for you, but be consistent and start early. 

For more info, contact a clinic like Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic.