Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hoof care of the pet pig


Overgrown, elongated hooves are a cause of lameness in the pet pig. Once overgrown, they can develop serious leg problems as long hooves shift the weight back and break down the hoof and ankle structure. Overgrown hooves will cause the hooves to crack leading to infection and they will promote serious joint disease (osteoarthritis). This is even worse when they get overweight, so watching out for their calorie intake is very important.

Regular hooves trimming may be needed. The best thing is to have this done under sedation as this would be a stressful procedure for both you and your piggy. This can be done regularly, like once a year, or as needed depending on your pig's lifestyle.
Naturally, they are meant to eat for long periods by foraging for food. This is the best practice to help them keep their hooves in optimal condition. They should have access to a yard or paddock so that they can spend time walking while searching for food.

Another option is regular exercise on abrasive surface (e.g. concrete). This will help your pig wear down his hooves. Now, it is important to remember that their feet are not meant to walk over hard surfaces and that too much walking over these type of surfaces can be too abrasive and promote cracking of the hooves. If your pig is only used to soft surfaces, this may even be uncomfortable on the pig. If you would like to use this technique, you should introduce this process slowly.

Pigs are very smart and can be trained. Therefore, a third option may be to slowly train your pig to let you trim his/her hooves when he/she is laying down to get belly rubs or when he/she is eating. Just a little at a time and do not force it.

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