In an effort to promote pig summer safety, here are some simple steps to help pig parents keep their porcine friends cool. Insurance company claims data shows that heat stroke, dehydration and hyperthermia are common summer health risks for pets. When these hazards send pigs to the vet, they can cause a deep dive into pig parents’ pockets with treatment costs averaging $2,500.00 for heat stroke, $400.00 for dehydration and $900.00 for hyperthermia. (Based on quotes from vet office) Remember, pigs do not sweat, so they literally require an area to cool down. You have to check up on pigs that are outside. They do not know they need to leave their outside enclosure and will sometimes literally sit inside and eventually become too lethargic to get outside.
It can be dangerous when pigs’ body temperatures get just a few degrees above normal. Fortunately, with a little planning and preparation, keeping our hooved friends safe in warm weather can be a breeze. Here are eight easy ways pig parents can help their pigs beat the heat:
Most vets will also stress that pet resting areas should be kept cool, indoors and out. For pigs seeking relief from the hot weather, provide outdoor areas of shade with open-air tents, awnings and umbrellas. Indoor resting places can be kept cool with air conditioners or fans, and by keeping the curtains closed so there is no direct sunlight. Also, bare floors in the house are great spots for pets to lie down and cool off.
If a pig gets overheated, it’s best to aim for a gradual cool down rather than an abrupt immersion in ice or cold water. Try using the hose, a gentle shower or wet towels first. If a pig shows signs of hyperthermia like excessive drooling, a very red tongue or gums, panting, weakness, dizziness or vomiting, take cooling measures immediately and get your pig to the vet ASAP. Have icepacks wrapped in small towels in bed for the pig to lay on if it wants to. (Or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel). Put rubbing alcohol on its feet for evaporative cooling. Use cool, but not cold cloths on head, neck and abdomen. Avoid bathing your pig at this time. If the animal's temperature is over 105 degrees, moisten the pet's hair coat with cool (not COLD) water and pay particular attention to the ears and feet, which are sites of heat exchange. Direct a fan on the moistened areas.
Heat stroke can be fatal within 15 minutes, and even when it isn’t deadly, brain and organ damage can result from exposure to extreme heat.