Pot Bellied Pigs/Kai

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Question
We have a three and a half year old pb. He is in and out of the house as he pretty much pleases- the problem is that a couple of months ago he decided not to use the door he's been using all along cause he did not want to step into the tile floor (the other part of the house has wood floors) we were okay with that till he recently decided he did not want to walk on the wood floors either. We bought mats and laid around the wood floors and that worked for a while but now he does not want to walk outside neither on the cement part of our yard nor the deck part. We are at a loss cause it seems to be getting worse day by day. When we put his food outside he stands at the door and cries but appears to be paralyzed by some kind of fear and won't move. It takes my husband and myself over 30 minutes of moving mats around, begging and bribing him to move. Nothing has changed in our routine so we have no idea what could be going on. Could it be some kind of neurological problem? We would appreciate any input or advice you can offer us.

Answer
Sometimes it's hard to figure out what's going on inside a pigs head. It's not unusual for a pig to suddenly become frightened of a doorway he's used his whole life. Sometimes there's an easily identifiable problem, sometimes the source of the problem is never found.

Pigs don't like slippery surfaces. The older they get, the more it hurts when they slip and fall. It sounds like you have addressed this on the inside with the floor mats. Wooden decks can also be super slippery when wet. An outdoor rug or poolside mat provides traction. Neither one will last very long if left outside in the midwest US, so I prefer the mats made for pool decks. They are less expensive and last just as long as the fancier outdoor rugs in my climate.

Another danger area is the threshold. If a pigs hooves are too long, the hooves can get caught in the threshold. The solution is a hoof trim. Pigs with arthritis have trouble lifting their feet up over a threshold. This can be fixed with a small ramp on either side of the threshold, or replacing the threshold with one designed for wheelchair access. Also, piggy should see a vet for long term treatment. The vet may suggest supplements or baby aspirin or prescribe a NSAID for pain.

A scary experience, like meeting a wild animal or even smelling the urine of a predator like a dog or coyote can leave a pig frightened of a doorway. Another possibility is that he may have had an unpleasant encounter with an unwelcome intruder at the doorway when no one was at home. It happens a lot more than people realize.

Here in the midwest US we had a terrible winter, with lots of ice and snow, which means people need to use a lot of rock salt or ice melt. Even the ice melt products that are not supposed to bother animals feet can cause irritation. If it hurts to walk on it, piggy won't want to. Again, mats are the solution

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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