Kevin Bacon is a 5 month old intact pot-bellied pig who presented for acute lameness. His owner placed Kevin in his kennel for a few hours, and when he returned home the pig was holding up his left rear foot and not placing any weight on it. Prior to this Kevin had no medical problems. On exam, Kevin was in good body condition, walking well on three legs, but he refused to put any weight on his left rear leg. He had several scabs on his skin, which his owner said were healing nicely now that the owner had started bathing him and applying the proper skin conditioning treatments. Kevin's left foot was swollen slightly compared to the right, with the majority of the swelling distal to the tarsus. He was painful on palpation of the tarsus and hoof. No abscesses or foreign material were seen, though there was some swelling just proximal to the coronet. Radiographs showed no fractures, and a soft tissue injury was suspected, potentially from some of the slats in his kennel that he occasionally will stick his foot into. The owner was instructed to give anti-inflammatories daily for a week, and to return if there was not significant improvement within two to three days. Kevin is taking his medication well, and the owner reports that he is doing great!
Kevin's case illustrates to us that even some of our less traditional pets need the same amount and type of veterinary care as dogs and cats. They can gets sprains and fractures, ingest foreign materials that can lead to blockage and surgery, and they can also unfortunately get arthritis and even cancers. In addition, they need species-specific vaccines and parasiticides, as well as things as routine as to be spayed or neutered. Before getting a non-traditional pet, it is just as important - if not moreso - to fully investigate what they will need and to be sure that you have the facilities to give it to them. They can make great pets with proper research and care. Next up for Kevin Bacon? His neuter!