Why neuter your pet pig?

 

Pet pigs are all cute, in their own way.  But, we all have a responsibility to ensure that our friends are also given a great life.  Why then would we subject our friends to being neutered?

 

 

Population control

Pigs are highly successful breeders.  Sows can produce 20 and even exceptionally over 50 piglets per year.  Without any control, over breeding we would rapidly become overrun with pigs.  Australia as a continent is a prime example, there are as many as 22 million feral (wild) pigs in Australia – that’s one for every man, woman and child! 

 

Here we see what happens when a couple of rescue pigs get together.  And while these pigs were given great lives, the food bill alone hurt their owners.  A 120lb pig will eat a quarter of a ton of food a year!  This piggy unit bloomed to 72 pigs – that’s 18 tons a year.

 

 

These pigs below become “unwanted” by their previous owners and are dumped on roads to be run over, are just turned out to try and fend for themselves, terrorizing their neighborhoods or are collected by animal control and if new homes cannot be found, euthanased.

However, when money gets tight, and the population is out of control, the welfare and wellbeing just collapses. The living condition of the pigs can only be described as a disgrace.  The owners, at least initially, loved their pets and just could not believe how circumstances had spiraled out of their control.  It is totally inhumane to allow pigs to be treated like this.

 

New owners

When the general public meet pet pigs for the first time they can be charmed.  Especially piglets are unbelievably attractive.  But pigs grow up and we must ensure that all people who become owners of pigs realize they will grow up.

Who can resist a pet pig?

 

Behavior control

Pigs can be a real swine at time.

 

Males

All males become extremely aggressive when they are older than 2 years and unfortunately many well before this time.  You can never trust an entire male pig.  Remember they are the sport of kings – when hunting a pig you are never sure who is hunting who.  They will kill you without a second thought.

Pigs come armed with knives, and that is even at birth!

In entire males, these knives are perfectly manicured into sabers and can rip open human flesh in an instant.  A mature boar’s tusks will produce a 2 inch deep 12 inch long wound in the thigh – and he only had an itchy face.

 

All males intended for breeding should be handled extremely carefully by trained properly equipped adults.  Never mix unfamiliar boars together – they will kill each other and you if you try and interfere.

 

Females

Every 21 days or so, an unpregnant sow or gilt from the age of 4 months will come into season (oestrus or heat).  During the oestrus cycle, a few females will go through some severe mood changes and can unexpectantly become aggressive, protective or just plain odd.  These mood changes can be unpredictable and unanticipated by children especially. It is unforgivable for any child to be hurt by a pet pig.

With uncontrolled breeding, twice a year a pig can give birth.  If there is one animal on a  farm more aggressive than a boar, it is a sow with her litter.  There has been many times when I have been chased out of the pig sty by a mother ‘defending’ her babies – and rightly so.  But again, this is fine when the facilities are appropriate.  It is unacceptable in a town house with children running around.

 

Difficult to believe – the most dangerous farmed animal!!

 

 

Health

Cancer

As pets have got older, a range of cancers have been diagnosed.  As in any mammal, the reproductive tract in pigs is prone to developing cancers.  These include testicular cancers and tumors of the ovary and uterus.

 

 

In sows, many of the unsprayed mature female pigs develop cancers of the broad ligament of the uterus – called leiomyoma.  Removal of these tumors is essential for survival, but surgery is a lot more risky on a sick 12 year old rather than a healthy 6 month old pig being spayed.

 

Infections

There are also infections of the urogenital tract which are reduced if the pig is spayed.  But while these occur they are generally rare and if appropriately treated are not life threatening – but treatment often includes spaying – ovariohysterectomy.

 

“But surgery can be dangerous and painful”

It cannot be ignored that all anesthesia and surgery carries some risk.  However, these risks will be assessed by your veterinarian and advice given on the suitability of the surgery for your pet pig.  The veterinarian will carry out a range of tests and procedures to minimize the risk.  The surgeries are commonplace and well documented, advice on surgery and anesthetics is readily available.  As veterinarians we now have some excellent medicines to control post-surgery pain. 

However, the risk of the surgery has to be weighed in light of the consequences of having sexually intact pets.  It is commonplace for cats and dogs to be spayed, the same should apply to our pet pigs.

 

 

Please have all your pigs neutered when they are not required for breeding

Only breed healthy pigs without genetic defects

 

For further information on owning pigs and their health implications visit:

http://www.portec.com.au