Pot Bellied Pigs/Wheezing PBP
Hi Helen: My PBP, Pearl, is 4 years old, spayed and weighs 250lbs. One day 3 months ago she started to wheeze, but intermittently. Now she wheezes almost all the time and I am concerned that she may have inhaled something, which may create an infection. She sleeps on hay in the garage at night and roams around 1/3 acre during the day. Lately she doesn't want to roam too much, but still has a great appetite (fruits, veggies, PBP pellets, oats, spinach, bird seed, sunflower seeds, popcorn). She has a fit when a vet comes around, so I thought I would pick your brain. Thank you!
I am not a veterinarian and can not make a medical diagnosis over the internet.
Pigs do stick their noses into everything and the do inhale things they should not. Usually when an object lodges in the sinus cavity, the body produces a lot of mucus to push the object out. The result is a pig with a very runny nose.
Age 4 is very young to have cancer, but I've seen pigs as young as 5 have tumors removed from the nasal cavity.
When an object is inhaled, the symptoms start suddenly and strong, getting maybe just a little worse over time. When a growth or lump starts, it starts very small and doesn't cause any symptoms. But as it gets bigger and bigger over time, symptoms appear and get worse and worse. Which is what you described.
I doubt it is pnemonia because it's gone on for 3 months, but it is a possibilty. Two other possibilities are allergies, and a form of asthma.
The shortness of breath and lethargy are probably connected. It's very difficult to be active when you can't breathe.
Piggy will need to see a vet to figure this out. But because her body is already under stress from not being able to breathe, the stress from seeing the vet will be harder on her. It is something to talk to your vet about.
Another thing to discuss with your vet is possibly trying a Heimlich-like manuver on her. I've seen this done successfully on chocking pigs. Basically, you stand over the pig, wrap your arms around them just behind the front legs, and push your fist sharply in. But, this is NOT a sudden chocking situation. This is a long term wheezing situation. I do not know if it would be safe to do that with her at this point in time. If her problem is a cancerous growth, this won't help and could make things worse. Your vet can advise you