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Pot Bellied Pigs/Oral sedatives for pig?


Hi Helen,

My 200-pound (approximately? He has not been weighed for a year...) neutered PBP will be needing to have his tusks trimmed very soon. Because he's so big, I'm unable to easily transport him to the vet to be anesthetized/sedated with gas. I hate the trauma it causes him to receive shots. I cry every time I hear him squeal. :(

I'm wondering if there are any oral sedatives available (maybe something like Flunitrazepam/rohypnol (known as a "roofie" in slang) that would be safe for him. Has there been any research done re: Flunitrazepam and pigs, side effects, etc?

Thank you for your time!

I don't know of any strong oral sedatives that are considered safe for use on pigs without a prescription. Benadryl and some other OTC drugs cause drowsiness as a side effect, but I do not like to use drugs just for their side effects. Some people give their pigs a beer or two to calm them down. For most pigs this is Ok, but every now and then a pig will turn out to be a mean drunk, so do a test run first. Another popular "alternative" sedative is Rescue Remedy, available at most pet or drug stores. I have tried this product on a number of pig and myself, with no noticeable results. But, other people have had a different experience and swear by the stuff.

When I trim tusks, I use cutting (or OB or giggly) wire. The wire gets hot as it cuts, so you might need to stop part way through to let the tusk cool.

I do not sedate at all for tusk or hoof trimming. I have some brave friends who are willing to help with the task. There are several techniques for restraining pigs, including holding them up in a sitting position, putting them in a sling and lifting them off the ground (with winches or an engine lift or such), or just holding them down on their side, which is what I do. I spread my body over the pig, with my weight on my hands and knees. I do not crush the pig or rest on him, but with my weight right over him he can't flop up. It takes at least one or two other people to help. Pigs hate being restrained, some will scream for a few minutes and become silent, others will grumble and complain the whole time they are restrained. Either way, as soon as the procedure is finished, they are able to get up and are just fine with no after effects.

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Helen Morrison


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!


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

Pigs of Great Fortune; FAREC; PigCollaborative

BBA from KSU

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