Tuesday, August 24, 2010


When we decided to get kune kunes we did think about the health care responsibilities. We were aware we'd have to vaccinate, innoculate and operate parasite control. We knew we'd have to feed them properly. We knew that all this would cost money and we decided that we were happy to take this on.

But what i wasn't prepared for was, that barely a month in, both pigs would go from being boisterously healthy to displaying serious signs of illness. Rusty was at death's door last Friday morning. We got him to the vet immediately and she pronounced him seriously ill. His temperature was actually abnormally low which is far. far worse than being high. After a couple of shots he started to rally and was eating again before the day was out. Saturday was good. On Sunday I thought he looked low again and called the vet. she said he'd go up and down and to keep on administering the shots.

Oh the shots! Rusty hated these and so did we. Bert jabbed and I held. As Rusty continued to rally he got stronger and ever harder to restrain. By this morning he was so difficult to pin down that it was only a miracle that I didn't get the dose intended for him. Afterwards he was in a right old state, sides 'thumping' like billy-oh. I decided to call my cousin.

I have a cousin who is an excellent vet. His practice is a fair distance from where I live so he is not our vet. But, worried sick about Rusty, I decided to ask for a second opinion. He reassured me, told me that our vet was giving Rusty the same medication he'd have prescribed. advised me to continue the course and only then if we thought he wasn't doing well to ask for different treatment.

Then this evening, Rusty continues to rally, he has lost growth and Lily has outstripped him in size but I'm happy enough with his progress. Then at bedtime Lily, who only a few hours earlier was up on her hind legs for grapes, was listless. Not interested in melon. (I bought the melon to practice injections) She is getting sick too. She had a shot earlier in the week as a preventative but afterwards did not seem to need it. We decided to jab her and were worried about it.

Then Stephen arrived on the yard. Stephen keeps cattle on our place but he is a pig man too. His daughter and her friend were ther to see Rusty and Lily. He showed us how to give shots in such a way that the pig will be as little stressed as possible. he gave us some really good advice and reassurance. Vets are essential. sometimes they even seem like miracle workers because they know all about those magic potions but there is nothing like the man or woman on the ground who knows the animal , who cares about it, knows how to handle it and is happy to share that knowledge.


Zsuzsi said...

What about herbs, making them as tea?
In fact oakbark tea can make wonders..provided they (the piglets) are willing to drink it.
my dog likes it, and I have given him ginseng, noni, green mussels, mineral drops into the water,anything can do animals good, too, besides medical treatment of course.
I think it can be given to pigs, too, but ask the vets:

Nelly said...

thank you for that advice. i am going to check that out tomorrow. It is very late now.

Anna said...

How true about the man or woman on the ground. When my horse almost died, it was an old horsewoman I knew who was able to get the antibiotics cheap and show me how to give the shots so my horse didn't even seem to notice. That, with a needle so big you could look through it!

Hoping for the best with the pig medicines and remedies.

Grannymar said...

I'd say that with time your Bert will be like Stephen,