The Swine Medical Database (SMD) is and organization with the mission of collecting, storing and tracking medical data on swine through a searchable online database. This is designed as an educational tool for the use of everyone to improve the health of swine everywhere. Below is a short history of the SMD:
The Duchess Fund
The Foundation Potbellied Pig Herd (Connell Line) was imported into Canada in 1985, consisting of 14 gilts and 4 boars born in 1984. This tine gene pool was further challenged because some of those pigs were related. None were registered since no Registry existed at that time. The primary purpose of potbellies was to be pets.
There were 3 recognized Registries for potbellies from 1986-1998. In 1999 they were combined to form The International Potbellied Pig Registry. The year 2007 marked the demise of this last Registry due to lack of interest and perceived need. In 2015, thirty years later, there are thousands of pure potbellies in the U.S. with more being born each year.
In 2000 a medical database, known as The Duchess Fund, was created to document and track medical issues. (Case #1 was Duchess, who succumbed to seizures and died at the age of 2.) Cases entered include, but are limited to, boar and gilt/sow infertility, difficult farrowings, birth anomalies, urinary and bowel blockages, heart defects, tumors and seizures. Extended pedigree information is included whenever possible. Duchess Fund case histories have been incorporated into SMD and are coded to reflect they are potbellies.
Potbellies may be pets but they are still pigs. They are an ancient miniature pig breed with a lifespan of 12-20+ years. Information gleaned from the medical monitoring of potbellies over the last 30 years has proven invaluable when dealing with the same health issues in Heritage Hogs. The more medical information is gathered and tracked the better we can contribute to the best possible health care of all pigs.
Heritage is a term used to describe breeds that thrived in the time of our forefathers. Overtime, they developed traits that made them well-suited for local environments including pasture-based settings. As industrial agriculture developed, these breeds began to fade in the shadows of modern breeds that grew faster and produced leaner pork. Heritage breeds are known for good maternal instincts, the ability to forage, good even temperament and efficient feed conversion on pasture. For more information on Heritage Hogs, visit The Livestock Conservancy at www.livestockconservancy.org.
Heritage hogs are maintained in small groups/herds all over the United States and England. They are pasture raised and allowed to forage as much as possible. Stress is reduced to a minimum. Medical monitoring of these pigs is relatively easy since the genetic pool has become small resulting in lower numbers of live animals to consider. There are many overlaps between potbellied pig and heritage hog medical issues: diet, water quality and availability, neo-natal and newborn piglet care, infertility and tress management. A thirty year overview of potbellied pig case histories has and will continue to contribute to the best possible health care for all pigs.
Heritage hog, potbellied pig and all pig owners can participate in Swine Medical Database, Inc. by entering medical case records, videos and photos.
The SMD was founded on the vision of a woman that has a long history supporting pigs. She has for years supported various heritage swine breeders by providing an ‘unofficial’ swine disease advice for free. When the Duchess Fund website was retired pig people became concerned that the wealth of information it contained would no longer be available. She decided to initiate the SMD and ensure that its database continued and was expanded to allow searching and additions by the swine community. All additions to the database are reviewed by a registered veterinarian before being published.
Donations made to SMD, Inc. will be used to help fund necropsies, diagnostic tests and other medical procedures as funding allows. The 501(c)(3) status is pending.