Itchy Skin Plagues Pot-Bellied Pigs

DEAR PAW’S CORNER:
My pot-bellied pigs, “Penny” and “Norman,” again lost their hair very early this spring, when it was still very cold. Their skin was extremely itchy and very cracked and dry-looking. I contacted many vets, Humane Societies and others concerning this never-ending issue. Many told me that hair loss in pot-bellied pigs is normal, and there was nothing I could do. That was not good enough for me. Now I think I found something that is helping. I’ve been adding safflower oil in with their food pellets — about a tablespoon each feeding. They have not grown back any hair, since I just started this about three weeks ago. But I can tell they don’t look as dry and they’re not scratching as much. I give safflower oil to my dogs and cats during the winter while our wood stove is operating, as they tend to get dry, flaky skin. The oil makes their fur very shiny. So I thought I would try it on my piggies. I hope this will help others who are going through this. Good luck! — Diane at Little Moose Farm

DEAR DIANE:
Skin problems and hair loss in pot-bellied pigs is indeed very common, but troubling for owners. Pot-bellied pigs can “blow their coats” routinely after reaching about two years of age, and their skin can be dry during the period before their hair grows back. However, other problems can sometimes cause hair loss and dry, cracked skin as well, so it’s always good to check with the vet when hair loss occurs. Many experts recommend adding a cod liver oil or fish oil supplement to the pigs’ food, and safflower oil may be a good alternative as well. This can help improve their dry skin while waiting for their coats to regrow.

Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. © 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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