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Weight & Hair loss

Amy Prescott

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Hi all,

One of my pigs, female aged around 3-4, has been losing weight for around a year now. She is very skinny but eating normal (huge interest in food!) we noticed an increase in how much she is drinking, but the vet said he couldn't find a problem. She has now seen 3 vets who cant seem to find any problem. We have now noticed some bald patches under her belly and on her legs, she has shown no signs of unusual itching or discomfort? We're just very worried about her and can see something isn't right,

Any help is appreciated.

PS. We keep 4 pigs together, our other 3 have no health issues or weight issues at all.
 

Elthysia

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Hello! I’m sorry to hear you’re not making any headway on diagnosis.

Drinking lots and weight loss could go with diabetes or organ issues (eg kidneys) but the latter is usually more of a drastic decline.

However the bald patches also indicate self barbering from some internal discomfort (they don’t tend to do it whilst we’re watching) and is common in ovarian cysts but also other organ issues (again possibly kidneys). I would recommend an ultrasound around the reproductive system and the organs, particularly if bald patches are on one side only and one of the organs is enlarged. My pig with Cushings disease (very rare so unlikely) had bald spots as this disease impacts on kidneys and one of her adrenal glands were much enlarged. I would start with ultrasound rather than X-ray, maybe blood and urine If not already done so for diabetes and/or Cushings (cortisol). Ultrasound is not hugely invasive as only needs some sedating but not full blown GA if an experienced vet (maybe check the recommended vets section, not sure where you are located).

What sort of weight loss are you talking about? What weight is she now?

Hope the above is helpful!
 

Wiebke

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Hi all,

One of my pigs, female aged around 3-4, has been losing weight for around a year now. She is very skinny but eating normal (huge interest in food!) we noticed an increase in how much she is drinking, but the vet said he couldn't find a problem. She has now seen 3 vets who cant seem to find any problem. We have now noticed some bald patches under her belly and on her legs, she has shown no signs of unusual itching or discomfort? We're just very worried about her and can see something isn't right,

Any help is appreciated.

PS. We keep 4 pigs together, our other 3 have no health issues or weight issues at all.
Hi!

Weight loss and increased drinking can be kidney or liver problems or diabetes (the first is much more common).

Hair loss can be caused by self-barbering on painful patches (with legs it is often arthritis) or mechanical abrasion from flopping a lot. That would point to either a pain issue somewhere or a nutritional problem. Ovarian cysts can also play into hair and weight loss, although not into the increased drinking issue. Hyperthyroid may also be something to look at as that is also connected with interest in food but not processing issues.

Here are some links that may give you perhaps some avenues to pursue:
All About Drinking And Bottles
Guinea Lynx :: Links!

Barbering ( Eating Hair)
Guinea Lynx :: Hair Loss
Sow behaviour and health problems (including ovarian cysts)

Sadly we can only guess from our own experiences. :(

However, it would be a good idea to start support feeding your piggy. Please keep in mind that hay is making over 80% of the food intake and that you simply cannot control it by sight only. See how she does with syringe feeding top up, whether that is with a syringe, a spoon or - if she is really keen - allowing her to eat from a bowl.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
 
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