Pot Bellied Pigs/Cracking hooves

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Question
Hi Helen,

We live in a quiet residential neighborhood that allows Terk and me to go for a lot of walks on asphalt, about a quarter-mile on a leash two or three times per week. Like a lot of pigs, his back hooves looked pretty good but his front ones were definitely overdue for a trim. I trimmed them for the first time last week (he's 15 months old). The funny thing is, I didn't notice the vertical cracks/splits that run the length of his hooves when I trimmed them, but now I notice them. (And really, they could have been there before I trimmed them and I just didn't see them, because I was looking more at the underside, where the nail's quick is.) Is it possible to have trimmed his hooves incorrectly and caused the splits, or that we're going for too many asphalt walks and it's actually causing the splits, as well? He's not an unhealthily overweight pig, in my opinion. He's got the pouch that hangs from his neck, but he doesn't have a "basketball belly" or anything. I think hes in pretty good shape, actually, from all of our walking.

He doesn't seem to be in any discomfort, but I don't want it to get worse. I spray his cracks (three out of his four feet has one) with a non-stinging herbal antibacterial solution that a local veterinarian formulated, but he doesn't like the smell of tea tree oil. Does this seem like a safe process? http://largeanimal.vethospitals.ufl.edu/2012/08/16/hoof-repair/

What do you think is going on?

Thanks for your help, Helen!

Answer
If the cracks are shallow and short, and the hooves were trimmed with nippers or snips, they are most likely just stress cracks. You didn't see them when you trimmed, because they weren't there. Cracks like this are not a serious danger. It's like tearing the end off a fingernail. A bit ragged looking, but it will grow out.

They happen because that part of the hoof was stressed by the trimming process (pressure from snipping, etc) and then more stress by being the new "end" of the hoof.

Deep cracks that go all the way up the hoof to the nail bed, or shorter cracks that extend all the way through from front to back, are cause for concern. Cracks like this may need repair.

If you can teach Turk to let you file his hooves on a regular basis they will disappear faster, and he may never need another hoof trim. Teaching pigs to tolerate hoof filing is not always easy, some pigs are very sensitive about their feet.  

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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