Understanding Your Pet's Needs
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Understanding Your Pet's Needs

After my pet had a long, drawn-out battle with cancer, I realized that I needed to do a better job with understanding my pet's needs. I wanted to be there for them no matter what, so I started focusing on my other animals. They needed more love, attention, and medical care, so I focused on those things. I started taking them in for regular checkups and working on their physical appearance. I was able to spot a few other potentially catastrophic health conditions with my animals because of my actions. This blog is all about understanding your pet's needs.


Understanding Your Pet's Needs

3 Things Potbellied Pig Owners Need To Know About Hoof Cracks

Gisele Pereira

Hooves are the hard soles of your potbellied pig's feet. Like fingernails, hooves grow continuously and require regular maintenance. Hooves that are poorly maintained may develop cracks, which can lead to health problems for your pet. Here are three things potbellied pig owners need to know about hoof cracks.

Why do hoof cracks develop?

Potbellied pigs often have weak ankles, so when they get older, they tend to put their weight on the backs of their hooves when they walk. This gait pattern allows the backs of the hooves to wear down, while the fronts of the hooves become overgrown.

As the fronts of your pig's hooves overgrow, they'll start putting even more weight on the backs of their hooves. This puts too much stress on the backs of the hooves, and these forces can lead to cracks or fissures.

How can you prevent hoof cracks?

Regular hoof trims will prevent your pig's hooves from becoming unevenly worn and cracked. If your pig is calm and doesn't mind having their hooves touched, you may be able to do this at home. First, soak your pig's feet in water to help soften the hooves, and then trim them with a hoof trimmer. Ideally, the hooves should be trimmed to nearly the level of the quick—the blood supply inside the hoof—without damaging it. If your potbellied pig has black hooves, a flashlight can identify where the quick is.

If your pig isn't cooperative, or if you just don't feel comfortable doing hoof trims by yourself, your vet can do it for you. Your vet will sedate your pig to make them less scared during the trim. Other preventative measures, like dental care, can also be done while your pig is sedated.

Why are hoof cracks a concern?

Hoof cracks can be uncomfortable for your pig, and they may cause your pig to have trouble walking. If bacteria gets inside the cracks, your pig could develop an infection or even an abscess. Try your best to prevent hoof cracks from occurring, and if your pig develops a crack, take them to a vet immediately.

How are hoof cracks treated?

Your vet will clean out the crack and check to make sure it's not infected. If the crack isn't infected, it will be sealed with epoxy, a type of resin. If your pig's hoof is infected, treatment with antibiotics will be required before the hoof can be sealed. Your vet may also prescribe a pain medication if your pig seems uncomfortable.

Hoof cracks can cause serious problems for potbellied pigs, but they can be prevented or treated with the help of your veterinarian. Contact a company like Pitts Veterinary Hospital PC for more information.