There are countless issues with having intact pigs. These issues are exacerbated or downright dangerous in the rescue environment. Except for medical constraints, there is no reason to leave a rescued pig intact. They should be spayed or neutered as soon as possible after intake. Common problems with intact pigs residing at rescues or sanctuaries:
Most intact pigs will exhibit aggression towards people and other animals due to their surging hormones and territorial tendencies.
FRUSTRATION: Intact pigs are notorious for their sexual frustration. Females encounter heat cycles every 21 days. Males are filled with raging hormones every day of their life. Both genders will charge, swipe, attack, chase, or hump people, animals, other pets, or inanimate objects while trying to deal with this sexual frustration.
PREGNANCY: Any time a pig is intact, pregnancy is a risk. Countless pigs have become pregnant unexpectedly when fencing failed, when stray or feral pigs visited, or when a new rescue was brought in that was believed to be altered. It has happened again and again. In the end, the pigs suffer. Many rescued pigs have died from pregnancy or lost entire litters because of young age, poor health or stress.
Intact pigs can be quite unpredictable in their behavior. They may seem calm one moment and swipe or charge the next.
Intact male and female pigs are very difficult to contain with fencing. They are often found breaking out of their pens or enclosures in order to “visit” with other pigs. These sexually frustrated pigs have the need to roam and will persistently check for weakness in the fencing.
As the pig matures, gains weight and builds up the fat layer, the risk and cost of surgery increases. The sooner a pig is spayed or neutered, the cheaper and safer the surgery is. In addition, if reproductive tumors or infection develop, the cost of surgery will dramatically increase.
This often fatal uterine infection is a common problem intact female pigs. Pyometra is 100% preventable with a spay surgery. Often, by the time symptoms present it is too late to save the pig. Pyometra is a condition characterized by the accumulation of purulent exudate. The uterus becomes full of bacterial infection and pus. In a closed pyometra the cervix is closed. The pus cannot drain out, leaving the uterus to expand painfully until it bursts. The uterine rupture releases toxic infection into the pig’s abdominal cavity leading to death. An open pyometra occurs when the cervix is open allowing the pus and discharge to leak out the vulva. Symptoms of pyometra include lack of appetite, weak hind legs, fever, lack of energy, and/or swollen abdomen. Treatment for pyometra usually includes a risky emergency spay. An ounce of prevention with early spay will save a lot of expense and heartache.
Reproductive cancers in mini pigs are far more common than in dogs or cats. Intact pigs are highly susceptible to cancer at some point in their life. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Spay or neuter upon intake.
Intact male pigs (boars) are well-known for their distinct musky stench. The potent odor is very strong, very sharp, and clings to everything. This stench makes it impossible for most people to keep an intact male in the home, but affects those living outdoors as well.
Intact males are overrun by hormones. They will ejaculate on other pets, on toys, furniture, and even on their humans. Their sexual frustrations override any training. The only solution is to neuter, as soon as possible.
Males and females will hump when sexually excited or frustrated. They will hump other pets, humans, or inanimate objects such as a ball or dog house. They will chase you down and usually become aggressive biting at their victim while humping.
Potty training an intact pig or maintaining potty training in the intact pig for hygienic living indoors is nearly impossible. Spay or neuter the pig, then bring them inside to potty train when their hormones are not affecting their abilities. The reason for this is because intact females will urinate on the ground while in heat to attract males. They want to spread their scent far and wide, leaving urine puddles everywhere.
Pigs that have not been spayed or neutered tend to be far more destructive than spayed and neutered pets. This is due to their hormonal frustrations, boredom, and determination to get to other pigs.