Potbellied pigs can develop a variety of stomach issues, including constipation. While constipation may not be a big deal for people, it can be very serious for pigs. Here are four things potbellied pig owners need to know about constipation.
Why do potbellied pigs get constipation?
Potbellied pigs can become constipated for a few different reasons. Not drinking enough water is one possible cause, so ensure that your pig has access to fresh water at all times. If your pig isn't drinking enough water, you can add a splash of fruit juice to the water to make it more appealing.
Potbellied pigs can also get constipated if they ingest something that they shouldn't. Non-edible items like socks or kid's toys can get stuck in their digestive tract and prevent feces from passing through. If they eat oak leaves or acorns while they're playing in your backyard, they could also get constipation since these substances are toxic to pigs. Monitor your pig closely to make sure they don't eat any of these things.
They can also get constipated if they don't get enough exercise. To prevent this, make sure that your pig has room to run around and play. An outdoor pen (16 square feet) is ideal for this purpose, but an unfurnished spare room is also fine.
What are the signs of constipation?
Identifying constipation in potbellied pigs can be challenging since human constipation looks different than pig constipation. Normally, your pig should produce a cylindrical dropping made up of many small balls of feces, but many owners mistake these normal droppings for constipation. If your pig hasn't produced one of these droppings in more than 24 hours, they have constipation.
What problems can constipation cause?
When your pig is constipated, feces builds up inside their colon. This leads to an increase of pressure inside their abdomen. This increased pressure, if it's not dealt with in time, can force your pig's rectum outside of its body. This condition is known as rectal prolapse and it requires surgical correction. If your pig develops a rectal prolapse, you'll see a red, swollen tissue sticking out their anal sphincter.
How do vets treat constipated potbellied pigs?
Your vet will examine your pet to determine the cause of their constipation before determining an appropriate treatment. If dehydration is the cause, simply increasing water intake will return your pig's bowel movements to normal. Stool softeners may be used to help this process, if necessary. A lack of exercise is also easy to remedy. If your pig ate a non-edible item that's now stuck in their digestive tract, it will need to be removed surgically.
If your potbellied pig is constipated, take them to a vet to determine the cause. For more information on this and other pet related topics, contact a company like Canine Center.