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Pot Bellied Pigs/Agressive pot bellied pig

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Question
I have a pot bellied pig who we have had for almost six years. She lived with my dad before I left for school but the situation got bad there, so she moved in with my mom. Up until now she has been great with people, but here recently she has bitten my mom, hard, twice. We don't know what would cause this or if it was something that has aggravated her, or what. Any help would be greatly beneficial. Thank you.

Answer
At age six your pig is well into adulthood. She may be experiencing physical problems, and reacting to her own pain/inability, not intentionally being aggressive towards others.

Arthritis often sets in at early ages. Observe her behavior, look for signs of stiffness or limping or difficulty sitting or standing. There's many different supplements available to improve joint mobility. People use dog, human, and horse formulas on pigs, with different degrees of success. Horse supplements are usually the least expensive. Baby aspirin can help, too. A veterinarian can prescribe Rymadil or other NSAID for severe arthritis. Keeping hoofs properly trimmed helps prevent arthritis, and helps pigs with arthritis move around better.

The loss of sight, hearing, or smell can put a pig on edge. With the right adjustments, piggy can adapt. Pigs age 10 and up often have cataracts. Obesity can cause loss of both sight and hearing. Clean piggy's eyes, make sure the eyelashes are not rubbing against the eyeball. Carefully wipe the outer edge of piggy's ears, avoid the inner parts completely. Pigs have very narrow ear canals that are easily blocked by accident when cleaning too deep in the ear.

Older pigs often struggle with dental problems, too. If piggy's breath smells horrid, piggy may have a bad tooth.

Something may have changed in piggy's environment, or with your mother, that is bothering piggy. The odors from paint, new flooring, hair coloring, perfumes, and cleaners or disinfectants often confuse pigs and lead to aggression.

Piggy needs firm but loving discipline. Never step over or around piggy, always make piggy get up and move. Pigs in a herd setting show dominance by making lower ranking pigs move. So, by making piggy move, you are reminding her that she needs to respect adults.

Watch her carefully, she is probably showing some signals right before she swipes or bites. These signs may be very subtle, possibly she may be simply standing perfectly still. Or she may vocalize, or swing her head aggressively. When you see these signs, it's time to make her take a few steps in any direction. That is, making her move to remind her that she is the lower ranking pig and aggression is unacceptable.  

Pot Bellied Pigs

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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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