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

4 Things Potbellied Pig Owners Need To Know About Skin Cancer

Gisele Pereira

Everyone knows that people can get skin cancer, but surprisingly, your new potbellied pig is also at risk of this condition. Skin cancers, including melanoma, are common in potbellied pigs. Here are four things potbellied pig owners need to know about skin cancer.

What are the signs of skin cancer?

If your pig has skin cancer, you'll see suspicious lesions on their skin. Usually, these lesions develop behind their ears, but other areas that are exposed to the sun, like the shoulders or the back, can also develop skin cancer. In some cases, areas that don't get much sun, like the abdomen, can be affected. These lesions may be black or red.

Why do potbellied pigs get skin cancer?

Potbellied pigs get skin cancer for the same reason that people do: too much exposure to the sun's harmful rays. Light-colored pigs have a higher risk of developing skin cancer, but it's not impossible for dark-colored pigs to get it.

How can you prevent skin cancer?

You can protect your pig's skin by minimizing their sun exposure. There are many ways that you can do this. Provide a shaded area outdoors so that your pig doesn't get exposed to too much sun while they're playing outdoors. If you don't have natural shade in your yard, consider building an awning for them to play under.

Wild pigs roll around in mud to coat their bodies and protect themselves from the sun, so consider installing a mud hole for your pet. If you're worried about your pig tracking mud into your house, you can rub them with pig-safe sunscreen, instead.

People can protect themselves from the sun with clothing, and if your pig is cooperative, the same strategy can be used for them. Some people are able to cover their pigs with full-body covers or clothing to shield their skin. Clothes for potbellied pigs are available, though you can also dress your pig in appropriately-sized dog clothes. The success of this strategy depends entirely on how cooperative your pig is.

How do vets treat skin cancer?

If your pig develops any suspicious skin lesions, your vet will surgically remove them. These lesions will then be sent to a pathologist for analysis. If the lesions are identified as cancer, your pig will be monitored closely for new lesions or cancers in other parts of their body. If necessary, both chemotherapy and radiation can be performed. 

If you discover suspicious skin lesions on your potbellied pig, take them to a vet like 1st Pet Veterinary Centers.