Dr. Wilbers says knowing when to contact a vet for your pig is important. He has listed some things to consider when deciding whether or not to make that call. He warns, however, that time can be critical, so as a general rule, when in doubt, go ahead and telephone your vet.


Persistent vomiting for more than 24 hours (especially if yellow)
Off feed for more than 24 hours
A temperature of more than 105 degrees
Diarrhea for more than 24 hours
Constipation for more than 48 hours
Lying down for more than 8 hours
Unwillingness to rise
Painful abdomen
Persistent bleeding
Blood in stool
Seen eating something potentially poisonous or obstructive
Sudden behavioral changes
Raised areas on skin
Rapid breathing

Aside from this list, many other possibility exist and the use of common sense is in order.


Just as you have a first aid kit for your family, you should have a medical kit for potbellied pig emergencies. Essential items for your kit include:

Thermometer: A rectal thermometer designed for animals is the appropriate type to use. One can be obtained though your veterinarian or a vet supply house. Tie a string on the end to ensure that the thermometer does not get lost inside your unsuspecting pig. You will need Vaseline as well for easy insertion. A normal temperature for a potbellied pig is between 102 and 103 F. Should your pig go off feed or become obviously ill, it’s good to take her temperature before consulting with your vet.

Topical Antibiotic: For the occasional scratch, cut or abrasion a topical antibiotic is indicated. My personal preference is a dry powder type called KV Wound Powder. This is an antibacterial containing nitrofurazone. It is easy to apply and really adheres to the wound. I have quick healing results with the use of this product. KV wound Powder is distributed by Ken Vet out of Ashland, Ohio and should be available through your vet or vet supply house. Also effective is Bacitracin or other name brand antibiotic ointments you can get at your local drug store.

Hydrogen Peroxide: You will be glad you have peroxide if you need to clean out a wound before applying an ointment. Should your vet advise you to induce vomiting because of suspected poisoning, hydrogen peroxide given orally to your pig is quite effective. Keep both your vet’s phone number and Animal Poison Control numbers by the phone. Poison Control: 900-680-0000 ($30.00) or 800-548-2423 ($30.00)

Syringes: In order to administer hydrogen peroxide or oral medications, you will find a syringe most useful. Keep a few sizes on hand. I find 3 cc, 6 cc and 12 cc syringes most adaptable to different situations where using a syringe is indicated.

Rehydration Agent: Should your pig become dehydrated you need to have some electrolytes on hand. Gatorade is very accessible and effective, or you may wish to buy something like Pedialite, a product for human babies.

Mineral Oil: Should your pig become constipated, add one-quarter cup of mineral oil to your pigs food at each meal. Generally, within a day or two your pig will be back to normal.

Keep your emergency pig supplies in a small plastic tool box marked appropriately. Keep this box in the same place always.