Reasons Pigs Drag Their Butts on The Ground
It can be humorous to see your pig scooting his butt across the ground. While it may be nothing more than a simple itch, continuous scooting could be the sign of anal impaction or mites. If you own a male pig, he may also be marking his territory.
Understanding the reasons why your pig exhibits this behavior can help ensure you know when to worry and when to remain calm. In some cases, veterinary care will be needed to solve the scooting problem.
Pigs Have Anal Impaction
A common problem with older pigs is anal impaction. Pigs have soft and hard pellets and sometimes the hard pellets get caught in the folds of the anus because the pig’s muscles weaken as he ages and he isn’t able to push the feces out. Anal impaction is something that your vet can show you how to treat the first time.
It is most commonly identified in older guinea pigs, Pot-Bellied Pigs, especially boars, but the etiology is unknown. Soiled bedding combined with inguinal sebaceous secretions can become adhered to the scrotum and anus, potentially resulting in inguinal gland infections and fecal impaction.
The guinea pig, pot-Bellied Pig, is usually presented for straining to defecate, constipation, or passing large amounts of foul-smelling soft stool. Affected animals may appear to be uncomfortable when straining to push out the accumulated feces. Often the only physical exam abnormalities detected will be an enlarged rectum impacted with normal, soft feces and a flaccid anus.
Suggested therapy has included a diet change to increase fiber, warm-water enemas, and manual evacuation of stools using a cotton-tipped applicator (often long-term therapy is required).
Pig Has a Dirty Backside
Sometimes your pig may just have a dirty backside. Due to the longer fur of pigs, feces can get trapped in the fur. Your pig will scoot his butt across the cage to try and dislodge the feces. If you notice your pig scooting, pick him up, and inspect his backside. If you see feces, remove it.
Pig Has Dry Skin
Another common problem that causes butt scooting is itch. Just like a dog’s butt itches, your pig’s butt can itch as well. Scooting his butt across the floor of his cage can help relieve the itch.
If you only see your pet scooting his butt occasionally, chances are it’s just as itch. If the itching and scooting continue, the itch could be the result of parasites or dry skin. Pigs lack the fur that many of our other mammalian exotic pets have and are also prone to dry skin but not all products to combat dryness are safe to use on them.
Most pigs have what we would consider dry skin and it’s not necessarily problematic but if your pig is itchy it may indicate a bigger problem. Make sure your pig’s diet is appropriate, your air isn’t too arid, bathe them only when necessary, and occasionally apply lotion to your pig and you shouldn’t need to do anything more to keep their skin healthy and hydrated.
Causes – Pigs Dragging Their Butts
One of the most common reasons for dry skin in potbellied pigs is a lack of humidity in their environment. Potbellied pigs spend the majority of their lives indoors where our houses are purposely kept dry to avoid mold issues. Due to the lack of humidity in the environment though, pot-bellied pigskin can suffer the consequences and dry out. Dry outside air can also contribute to dry skin if your pig spends time outdoors.
Another common reason for dry skin is a skin parasite infestation. Mites, also often referred to as mange, are common in pet pigs. These itchy ectoparasites will cause rough, scaly skin and your pig will be very itchy. The skin will often become red, inflamed, and may even bleed if your pig scratches hard enough.
A poor diet can also contribute to dry skin on your pig. If your pig gets a lot of junk food and lacks the essential vitamins and minerals in their diet their skin may be dry. Nutrition plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including natural skin moisture.
Stripping natural moisture off of your pot-bellied pig’s skin can also happen if you are using a harsh shampoo or bathing them too often.
Depending on the reason for your pot-bellied pig’s dry skin you should be able to easily remedy the issue. If the flaking is mild and more of an annoyance for you than a health problem for your pig, you can simply take a wet towel and wipe away the excess skin flakes weekly. If you want to bathe your pot-bellied pig on occasion, an oatmeal-based or coconut oil-based pet shampoo is safe to use and is non-drying.
If your pig’s dry skin is bad enough that you need to do something about it, you can start by using a lotion. An aloe-based lotion or Avon Skin So Soft™ are popular options with potbellied pig owners.
Coconut oil can also be liquefied and applied to their skin. Increasing the humidity in the environment in which your pig lives is a simple solution to battle dry skin as well. If you can’t increase the humidity in your entire house, room humidifiers are good options for areas where your pot-bellied pig spends most of its time.
Fleas, Mites or Worms
Pigs can get fleas, mites, and worms. If you’ve just brought your pig home from the pet store, check him carefully for fleas, little black bugs (mites), and worms coming out of his anus. If you’ve introduced a new pig, he may have passed the parasites to your older pig and both will need veterinary care.
Ticks infest many species of mammals and birds and are not host-specific, due to the pig’s skin they are rarely an issue and only occasionally seen in outdoor herds. Ticks are easily seen by gross visual examination and their size and appearance dependent upon if they have recently fed or not. They can be found on any part of the body, but they are more often seen around the softer skin of the ears, neck, and flanks.
The treatment and control of ticks in pigs are rarely required. If only a few ticks are present, these can be removed manually with a tick removal tool and the pigs confined away from the infected pasture. Treatments licensed for lice control are usually effective and there are no products licensed specifically for tick treatment.
Flies can be a concern in pig production for disease transmission and welfare reasons as such fly populations are often used as a measure of hygiene by assurance schemes. Some flies annoy animals by their vicious bite, while others act as a vehicle for transmission of infectious disease.
Flies make contact with faces, skin, and mucus, and milk discharges of the pig. When they reach a high enough level, they can both irritate the pigs by biting (depending upon fly species) and become major transmitters of disease-causing organisms such as pathogenic strains of E. coli, B. hyodysenteriae, salmonella, streptococci, and rotavirus.
Greasy Pig Disease
Major outbreaks of greasy pig disease and coccidiosis can be exacerbated by high fly populations and when sows have mastitis, flies are attracted to the udder and skin surfaces in great numbers and they can be responsible for enhancing severe outbreaks.
Fly control in all piggeries must be continuous in summer months and detailed in farm health plans with the aim to prevent flies from breeding and to destroy adult flies. Breeding of flies can be prevented by the regular removal of dung and using baited fly traps and insecticides.
In endemic areas, mosquitos may attack livestock causing discomfort at best and severe irritation at worst. Lesions can appear on several or all of the pigs in the form of raised edematous weals on the legs and abdomen. In severe cases, affected carcasses of pigs must be skinned at slaughter.
Mosquitoes are important vectors in the transmission of Japanese encephalitis virus and act as mechanical vectors in the transmission of Eperythrozoon suis. Mosquito bites can irritate nursing sows resulting in increased overlays and piglet deaths. There are several control measures that can be implemented to decrease the number of mosquitoes.
Where there is a disease outbreak fogging may be considered as an option in order to kill the infected adult mosquito population and local councils may use larvicides to prevent human infection. Where possible, the breeding ground of the mosquitoes should be identified and the larvae destroyed by either draining water reservoirs or covering the surface with environmentally safe oil.
Male pigs will mark their territory. The scent glands are located close to the anus and they scoot on their butt to help spread the scent around the cage. Regardless, always check your pig for health problems if he is continuously scooting his butt on the ground.
World Pig Breeder Associations
|National Swine Registry||United States||NSR|
|Livestock Conservancy||North Carolina||LC|
|American Mini Pig Association||United States||AMPA|
|Southern California Association of Pot Bellied Pigs||California||SCAPBP|
|British Pig Association||UK||BPA|
|National Pig Association||UK||NPA|
|Canadian Swine Breeders Associations||Canada||CSBA|
|Australian Pig Breeders Associations||Australia||APBA|