Locating a vet:
These websites can help you identify veterinarians in your area that reportedly see pet pigs. Be sure to
call and confirm that this is the case. Be aware that these are only resources to help identify a willing
veterinarian and do not report the skill/comfort level of the doctor(s), so further research is needed.
AMPA Vet Map (This site has separate icons for low cost spay/neuter and a spay/neuter
financial assistance program)
Other resources for finding a vet
Questions to ask the vet:
1. Does the vet see pet pigs? If it is a multi-vet practice, do all vets there see pigs, or do
you need to schedule to see one vet in particular? What do they charge for a basic
– Some large animal vets will see farm pigs, but not pet pigs. Vets who see
“exotics” will often see pet pigs, but not always.
– Make sure that there are no weight limits on the pigs they will see, especially if
you have a pig who is under 5 years old and still growing. You want a vet you can
use throughout your pig’s lifespan!
2. What is the vet’s experience with pet pigs? How many pig patients have they seen and
are pet pigs a regular part of their practice? Can they connect you with pig clients as
3. Does the vet offer house/farm calls? If so, what is their service radius? What do they
charge for a farm call?
4. Does the vet perform hoof and tusk trims? Can they do this during a routine
appointment? How do they approach restraint? Is sedation necessary (and if so, what is
their sedation protocol)? What do they charge for trims?
5. What is the vet’s pig vaccination protocol?
– This may vary by region and your pig’s age, health, and living situation. Common
vaccines include Erysipelas and Rabies (yes, pigs can get rabies & it is a fatal
disease; the vaccine is off-label for pigs but still frequently recommended).
– Leptospirosis and parvo vaccines are primarily used for breeding females, though
the Leptospirosis vaccine may be given to pet pigs where the disease is common
(like in Hawaii). Reactions, usually only mild, are more common with
– Most vaccines require an initial booster shot, and then are given on a yearly
basis. Rabies vaccination needs to be boostered every year in pigs.
– Some people choose to stop vaccinating their pigs once they become seniors.
This decision should be made in conjunction with your veterinarian.
6. What is the vet’s deworming protocol? Pigs may need regular deworming to keep them
parasite-free and healthy. Some vets recommend deworming twice a year (often with
ivermectin and fenbendazole), while others prefer to base the need to deworm on
history, physical exam, and fecal testing.
7. What is the vet’s experience with surgery on pigs? Do they spay and neuter pigs? Are
there any restrictions, such as weight limits, that might exclude your pig? What is their
– Overweight pigs may not be good surgical candidates until they slim down, so
discuss your pig’s weight with the vet before scheduling a surgical procedure.
– All surgery, including neuters, should be done with anesthesia, in a sterile
environment (not a “farm neuter!”)
– Because of the possible risks of anesthesia in pigs, it is generally best to avoid
sedation for routine and non-painful procedures such as hoof and (basic) tusk
trims. If possible, use a safe restraint technique instead.
8. Does the vet allow the owner to stay with their pig during exams and procedures?
– Check to see if you can stay with your pig at all times during the exam/procedure
(or at least be able to watch). Do be aware that in some cases, such as when
inducing anesthesia before surgery, a pig may be more stressed by their person’s
presence. Pigs can smell our emotions, so if you become upset by seeing your pig
stressed or restrained, it may be best for you to leave the room to avoid making
9. What would the vet do if bitten by an animal in their care? Does the practice have a
protocol for this?
10. Does the vet offer emergency services? Are they available evenings and weekends?
What do they charge for emergency appointments? If they are not available for
emergencies, where do they recommend you take your pig during off hours if needed?
11. Where does the vet recommend you take your pig for procedures beyond their
– Find out if there a university vet hospital or specialist clinic in your area with pig
12. Does the vet have any plans to retire soon? Can they recommend another vet who sees
pigs as a back-up in case they are unavailable?
Take your pig to the vet you are considering for a routine exam. This should be done well
before your pig is sick. Evaluate the vet’s bedside manner and how they handle and interact
with your pig. Does the vet listen to you and answer your questions? Are they open to learning
and do they admit what they don’t know?
Plan ahead before your vet appointment, and work with your pig to prepare them for the visit.
Consider the steps of taking your pig to the vet. How will you transport them? Get them used to
traveling in a carrier, especially if not harness-trained. A solid plastic carrier is preferable to a
wire crate. Wire cages are generally flimsier, plus pigs may be more scared if they can see what’s going
on, and they can catch their hooves and injure themselves. Do NOT bring your pet pig loose in the
vehicle unless WELL harness-trained. Pigs are prey animals who will choose to flee if scared. There are
obvious dangers to getting loose in a parking lot or even within the building, and other animals like dogs
may complicate the problemAcclimate your pig to being handled and touched all over their body, including face, ears,
hooves, etc., to prepare them for a physical examination. Your pig should also be comfortable
with vigorous scratching on their hindquarters, neck, and behind the ears (something a vet may
do when giving your pig an injection).
Ask the vet if they have sorting boards and a cart to transport the pig (inside their carrier) to an
exam room if they are too heavy to carry. Ask if they have rubber mats or other surfaces to
keep the pig from slipping on a smooth floor. If they don’t have these supplies, make sure to
bring them with you (a yoga mat or non-skid bath mat can make a good surface for your pig to
stand on). You may want to bring some small treats, but avoid this if your pig gets overly pushy
or worked up over food; you want to keep this experience as calm as possible.
Try to avoid waiting with your pig in the vet’s office waiting room where dogs may be present;
ask if the receptionist can give you a call when an exam room is ready and wait in the car with
your pig if possible. Be especially careful of strange dogs if your pig is on a harness; a carrier
may be a safer approach.
If your vet is coming to do a house/farm call, make sure your pig is contained in a small area
where the vet can handle them for examination. If the vet is going to flip the pig for a hoof trim,
try to have a padded, non-slip surface available on which to do this. Other supplies that are
good to have on hand include towels, sorting boards, and small treats.
If your pig will need to stay at the vet overnight, bring their own bedding if you can to make
them more comfortable in an unfamiliar space. See if it is possible for them to be kenneled
away from dogs, whose scent and barking will likely cause the pig stress. Find out the
temperature where your pig will be staying, and ask if a fan or safe heat source can be provided
if necessary (or if you can bring your own).
It is also important to keep good records of your pig’s health that you can share with your vet if
needed when your pig is sick. You may wish to print copies of this health form to keep on hand
and use as a guide.
SCAMPP “Piggy Vet Info” was used as a source: http://scampp.com/Info%20Newsletter%20April%202019/p18-19-
Many thanks to Dr. Kristie Mozzachio, DVM for her review of this document.
Dr. Mozzachio’s new textbook on Potbellied Pig Veterinary Medicine has just been published. You may
want to recommend this one-of-a-kind definitive guide to your vet—or even get a copy for your own