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Emergency Medical Information

Emergency Medical Information – updated 01/20/14

If your pig is sick, go to a veterinarian.  Do not try to treat the pig yourself.

Murphy’s law of veterinary medicine:  Your pig will get sick at night, on a holiday, or after hours.

Reasons To Go To The ER Now

  • Your pig will not eat
  • Your pig will not move
  • Your pig is shaking  violently, is stiff, or is moving in circles, has a head tilt
  • Your pig is having  trouble breathing
  • Your pig is vomiting blood or having bloody diarrhea
  • Your pigs body temperature is below 99 or above 104
  • Your pregnant pig has been pushing hard for 1 hour, you can see a piglet or part of a piglet in the vaginal canal, but the piglet is not coming

Things To Have On Hand Until You Can Get To The Veterinarian

  • Strawberry Koolaid – for pigs who do not want to drink, or have low blood sugar.   Can be used to give some meds since it can mask the taste of a bitter compound
  • Gatorade(regular/original) or pedialyte – balanced electrolyte solutions to replace fluid lost if vomiting or diarrhea occur.
  • Low sodium chicken broth – can be used to replace fluid lost if vomiting or diarrhea occur
  • Campbell’s vegetable soup – many pigs will eat this when it is warmed up when they will not eat anything else.
  • Canned pumpkin – high fiber to help if constipation or diarrhea occur
  • Applesauce – many pigs will eat this when they have poor appetite.  Can be used to hide medication
  • Heating pad – for the cold pig.  Set on low so piggie doesn’t get burned.  Also adds security for new pigs – they sleep better on those first nights home.
  • Karo syrup – a sugar source to help very cold or inappetant pigs
  • Sugar –  1 teaspoonful in a cup of warm water can be put on gums to raise blood sugar of cold pigs. They do not have to drink it, i tcan be absorbed through the mucous membranes of the lips and gums.
  • Instant oatmeal – many pigs will eat warm oatmeal when they do not eat anything else
  • A few syringes of different sizes or a turkey baster so that you can give liquids orally
  • A digital thermometer – to be used rectally (get one for only pig use)
  • A fan for cooling
  • Ice packs(or frozen peas in a bag) for cooling and in case of a injury to a leg.  Put a small towel between the ice pack and the skin.
  • Honey – a sugar source for cold pigs – rub some on the gums. Can also be mixed in with canned pumpkin if they are reluctant to eat it
  • Full spectrum light (SAD light) – can be obtained online.  Provides sunlight for pigs that are indoors only – needed so that Vitamin D can be produced and used.  10 minutes per day.  Especially useful for piglets
  • Kwik Stop – a styptic powder to help bleeding hooves if you quick them during trimming.  DO NOT USE ON SKIN because it can burn the tissue
  • Super glue – if you quick a claw during trimming, you can glue a cotton ball onto bleeding area and it will stop.  Cotton will fall off or can be removed later
  • Q-tips & KY jelly or Vaseline (or both) – can be used to lubricate and moisten tissue.  A small amount on a q-tip can be used to clean the outside of the ear
  • Handy bandage material (in case of a cut, scrape, etc):
  • Disposable diapers or sanitary napkins – clean absorbent material, easy to store and always have about.
  • Masking tape (does not stick to skin, but sticks to bandage material)
  • A couple of pairs of athletic socks or some boots made for dogs – to cover feet
  • 1 inch white bandage tape, rolled gauze and vetwrap

ASPCA NATIONAL ANIMAL POISON CONTROL (available 24 hours a day)  There is a fee, so have credit card ready   1-800-548-2423

Please contact your local ER vets before you have an emergency, so you know where to take your pigs if you need emergency care.

Helpful Over The Counter Drugs To Have On Hand

For Upset Stomach (vomiting, not eating, diarrhea)

Omprazole / Prilosec – 5-10 mg once a day

Famotidine / Pepcid – 0.25-0.5 mg per pound of bodyweight

Ranitidine / Zantac  – 150 mg twice a day

Pepto bismol – 1 cc per pound of body weight – may make the stool black

Kaopectate – 1 cc per pound of body weight – may make the stool black

Maalox liquid (for stomach gas) – 2 cc per 5 pounds of body weight

For Pain

Buffered aspirin – 5 mg per pound of body weight twice a day. Must be buffered and given with food. Do not give if your pig is not eating and do not give for more than 3days without seeing your vet

Many people have asked about liquid ibuprofen children’s syrup (also called brufen liquid). I know that this compound is frequently used in the UK, but I was unable to find a recommended dose in the US.  As a matter of fact, pharmacologists in the US uniformly advise against use of ibuprofen, acetominophin, advil, motrin, Tylenol, etc., in pigs.  As such, I have not added these to my list.

For Constipation  (need high fiber diet)

Metamucil – start with 1 tbsp power in yogurt every 6 hours.  Gradually build up to 1 packet every 6 hours

DSS / docusate sodium (stool softener) – 200-240 mg per pig twice a day

Fleet enema

Mineral oil (can be given orally or rectally)

If no significant stool in 48 hours, see vet

For Itching / Hives / Swollen Eyes

Diphenhydramine / Benadryl – 1 mg per pound of body weight every 6-8 hours

For Weeping Eyes

Saline eye flush

Terramycin ophthalmic ointment (available at feed store).  Put a small amount in each eye twice a day

To Kill Many Parasites

Ivermectin 1% injectable (or oral)  10 mg/ml . 0.1 – 0.2 ml per 10 pounds of body weight.  Mix in yogurt or fruit juice and they will slurp it right down.


For Coughing Pigs

Children’s cough syrup – (dextromethorphan 15 mg per 10 ml) – 10 ml  per pig twice a day.

For Pigs that have Ingested Poison

Call poison control 800-548-2423 (ASPCA NATIONAL ANIMAL POISON CONTROL – available 24 hours a day)  There is a fee, so have credit card ready

Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (in the brown bottle, for wounds) – can be given orally (by syringe) to induce vomiting

Dose:  approximately 5cc per 10 pounds of body weight

Activated charcoal – adheres to any toxin left in the digestive tract and prevents pig from absorbing it – get the liquid or powdered form (the tablets/granules are not nearly as effective). Watch out – this stuff is messy and will stain anything.  Comes out in the stool and the stool will also stain everything.    Dose:  adult pigs (over 30 pounds  – 0.5 ml per pound of body weight)   young pigs (less than 30 pounds – 0.1 ml per pound of body weight.  Can be repeated in 8 hours.

***Warning – vomiting is not always good after a pig ingests a poison.  Call poison control or your ER first***

For Pregnant or Farrowing Sows

Oxytocin – 2-4 units subcutaneously (milk letdown, retained placenta, augment uterine contractions,

agalactiasyndrome, post partum metritis)

Calcium Gluconate 10% – 20 cc subcutaneously in several (4) different spots  (augment uterine contractions)

Colostrum substitute (such as Ultra-Start Colostrum) in case babies cannot nurse

Goat’s milk or milk substitute in case babies cannot nurse

Updated January 20, 2014