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Pot Bellied Pigs/Sudden Death of 2 month Old PBP

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Question
I had a 2 month old pig named Cordell.  He was the runt of the litter, and weighed no more than 3 or 4 lbs.  I recently noticed him limping while playing with him in the yard, and observed that his front leg looked dislocated.  Initially, we thought it might be a deformity related to being a runt, but I took him to a local vet for an x ray.  She also believed it was dislocated and referred me to a specialist.  Throughout the vet visit, he was as playful as always, and wanted to be held and pet.  There was no indication that anything was wrong.  A few hours later, after we had already been home, I went to take him outside for some play time, and he was dead.  I called the vet to confirm that he was not given anything, and they said that no treatment was given to him other than the x ray.  My main question is what may have caused this?  Cordell was only 2 months old, but still a loved member of the household.  I have read so many different possibilities but they all come along with symptoms that Cordell did not show.  If you have any information on what may have lead to his sudden death, I would appreciate it.

Answer
I am very sorry for your loss.

I am not a veterinarian, and only a necropsy can confirm a cause of death.

Runts often have many problems. Some are external and visible, some are internal and show no sighs.

Healthy piglets usually gain about 1 lb per week, an 8 week old piglet should weigh 6 - 9 lbs. Cordell's tiny size means he was not growing properly. Healthy piglets rarely break or dislocate bones from ordinary trips and tumbles, so his injury is another clue that there were hidden problems.

There's a hereditary condition in farm hogs called Porcine Stress Syndrome. Basically, this is a weak cardiovascular system that causes the pig to overheat and collapse when under intense stress, or shortly afterwards. Similar deaths have been reported in mini-pigs, usually after the intense stress has passed.

I suspect that stress may have played a role, but was probably not the only factor. The real culprits were the problems that go along with being a runt. I'm sorry to say it may have only been a matter of time.

No matter what Cordell was lucky to have spent his short life with a loving and caring person.

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Helen Morrison

Expertise

Pot-bellied or other miniature pet pig care, including diet, housing, training, health care. Can provide information about zoning, adoption, supplies, and organizations. Questions about any kind of pet swine are welcome!

Experience

Owning, raising, and caring for small pet swine, including "Vietnamese" pot-bellied pigs since 1992.

Organizations
Pigs of Great Fortune; FAREC; PigCollaborative

Education/Credentials
BBA from KSU

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