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Pot Bellied Pigs/Constant Urination in my Teacup pig

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Ernist at bed time
Ernist at bed time  

Erinst
Erinst  
Hello, I have a male 6 month old teacup pig named Ernist :). About right after we got him, we potty trained him and was doing well, but then he started peeing constantly, and he would not even drink that much! We took him to our vet, and they figured out that he had a bladder infection. The medicine made him very thirsty so he started drinking a lot. After weeks of medication the infection was healed and he was cleared of the infection. But now, a few weeks later, he drinks constantly, and the pee just leaks out of him! HE has an accident every 10-20 minutes! We have a litter box that he will sometimes use, but we need a solution to stop this constant drinking! HE cant always make it to the litter box, and sometimes he will pee right next to it. Do you know why? He drinks about 3 1/2 cups of water with his dinner alone. We have to refill the bowl about 4 times a day! And we cant restrict his water because the dogs need to drink too. We mix water with his pellets at dinner, but It hasn't been helping. We also have a cat, and for some odd reason, every morning, our pig Ernist will use that cats litter box instead of his own. We have wood shavings in his box. Does he like kitty litter? both litter boxes are in the same room, so I don't understand why he just wont use his own. We clean his out about once a day, and sometimes we bring him outside to go potty. I don't know if that is confusing him. Thank you so much :)

Answer
I am not a veterinarian and can not make a medical diagnosis over the internet. But my first worry is the infection might have returned.

Usually the problem is pigs don't drink enough water, and become dehydrated and constipated. This problem is just the opposite,and a little trickier to solve. The first step is to rule out any physical problems. I've already mentioned the possibility of a return infection. Excessive thirst can be a symptom of diabetes, although that is exceedingly rare in pigs. Urinary tract crystals are very common in male pigs. Excessive salt intake can make pigs really thirsty. Good quality mini pig pellets are ok, but many hog foods are way too salty, as are many people foods. Also, if piggy is near something like bags of ice melt, he might be ingesting something he shouldn't be.

In any event, removing the water dish probably won't be effective, because pigs are really smart animals. The act of depriving him of water might make him even more obsessed, so that's not the way to go. The idea is to distract him from drinking without actually depriving him.

Chances are he's using the cats litter box because the cat is. Pigs are like that, they will pick a group potty spot. A good litter box is one that has a low side for piggy to step in easily (stepping over a side feels unnatural to them), and plenty of room for piggy to turn around in. But, if piggy is happy with the cats box, and the cat doesn't mind sharing, that could work out for them, and leave you with just one box to deal with.

If the pee is leaking out of him, then he isn't going to be able to get to his box. 10 minutes is a very short amount of time. So, you might want to confine him to the room with the litter boxes until this problem is under control.

To keep accidents to a minimum until the problem can be solved, when you take him out of the room, make him pee first. Then, keep him out for no more than 5 minutes, return him to his room and make him pee again. This will certainly be difficult! And he may not be happy about spending a lot of time confined to that room, so give him toys to play with and pillows and magazines to rip up.

Another option might be to take him outside for a while, like 20 - 30 minutes, let him pee all he wants. Don't put a water dish out. Then, put his harness on and bring him back inside, but keep him on a lead right next to you. Teach him tricks, help him play with toys, or just brush him. But, don't go near the water dish! The idea is to distract him from the dish, and teach him how to have fun without being water obsessed.

Can you feed him someplace far away from the water dish? This way you are not actually taking the water away from him or the dogs. If he really, really needs to take a gulp of water after each bite of food, he can, in theory, still do it. But, most pigs are food obsessed and lazy, and will not abandon a dish of food to walk into a different room for a drink. They will go straight to the water dish when the food dish is empty! Habits are hard for pigs to break, so keep feeding him away from the water dish for a couple of months, so he can forget that bad habit and learn a new one.

I would continue to moisten his food, I don't think giving him dry pellets will help.  

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Helen Morrison

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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!

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

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BBA from KSU

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