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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Selecting a Potbellied Pig

By D. Bruce Lawhorn, DVM, MS, Relief Veterinarian; Veterinary Information Network Swine Consultant

Before purchasing a potbellied pig, examine the location where the pig is being kept. Look for a clean, well-maintained environment and the presence of clean water and food along with a rooting area, “toilet” area, and shelter. If these conditions are not present, it is very likely the pig may have health problems caused by a poor environment.

Look for signs that the pig is healthy. It should be active and alert; free of any discharge from the nose, eyes, or ears; and free of sores and obvious distortions of the body (hidden tumors or lumps). Make sure the snout is of normal shape. Carefully observe the way the pig walks and moves. There should be no limping or difficulty in movement. Check that the teeth and hooves have been properly trimmed and cared for. There should be no cracks in the hooves and the teeth should not be too long. Observe the pig long enough to watch how it handles urination and defecation. Both processes should be easy and pain-free.

Observe the way the pig responds to you. It should be outgoing and interested. Avoid pigs that show signs of aggression or unfriendly behavior or pigs that are unduly shy or fearful.

Ask for a copy of any health records on the pig you are considering. A responsible seller will have vaccination records, birth records, and a history of the pig’s health care. Ask to have the pig examined by a veterinarian of your choice before you buy it. If this is not possible, require a signed agreement stating that you may return the pig for a full refund if a prompt examination by a veterinarian shows the pig is not healthy. It is very risky to buy a pig if one of these conditions cannot be met.