Sarcpotic Mange in Pot Bellied Pigs is actually much more common than one would believe. Any farm or sanctuary will inform you even some of the human workers have contracted it at one point or another. But the severity of it-if left untreated-can be more than uncomfortable for pigs AND humans. In humans we call it scabies.
Mange is a type of mite that lives in the skin of the Pot Bellied Pig. It makes for scaly, bumpy and red appearance. While the sensation of itching is practically unbearable it will also account for hair loss or cause secondary skin infections, usually in part from the area being rubbed raw. The mites are extremely contagious and can spread from one swine to another swine quite easily.
Some veterinarians will recommend dusting your Pot Bellied Pig and their area with Seven Seven Powder (found in garden sections of home department stores) or similar like hog dusts. This will kill mites on contact, mites in the area or on the pig, while also minimizing the level of itch on your pig's skin. However, we don’t recommend using pesticides in or around your pigs. Pesticides are a neurotoxin, even if they are considered ‘safe’. At our sanctuary we have never dusted however when working in dog rescue would often dust with Borax powder as a preventative. You can also make a Borax topical solution by mixing 1 part peroxide to 2 parts water, add Borax until no more can be added. Remember, this is BORAX not Boric Acid! Very different!
What is mandatory is to administer Ivermectin. This is a type of dewormer that also helps control lice and mites. It is important to give 2 doses, 14 days apart for an animal observed to have Mange. If the Mange appears chronic, the Ivermectin may be given every 5-6 days for up to 4 weeks. Otherwise, a scheduled worming twice a year for maintenance in the spring and fall should cover your pigs needs.
Ivermectin comes in many forms, some labeled for horses which will also work for your pigs. The injectable form of Ivermectin known as Ivomec 1% solution is typically given orally in a slightly larger dose as it is extremely stressful for your pig to have it administered as an injection. Usually stuffing it in some peanut butter, or if your pig will sit and you can aim it to the back of their mouth, it is obtained in a much calmer way-for you and your pig! It is hard to overdose your pig on Ivomec so it is also a safe way to give the medication. This solution also works well topically on the ear mites you may see on your pig.
While your pig is healing you can apply coconut oil or a form of horse salve for sunburns to assist in the pain if the skin is seen to have a severe rash or scaling. While coconut oil is wonderfully soothing, don’t apply it to broken skin as it can irritate. After treatment rounds have concluded it is important to clear out all bedding and dust again with your dust of choice to kill any mites that may be living in their quarters to help prevent another breakout. It is important to note if there appears to be any secondary infections such as oozing, puss, or foul scent it is important to obtain antibiotics from your veterinarian.
It is also crucial to take mind of your hygienic habits while your pig has Sarcoptic Mange. It is easy for the mites to transfer onto our skin and clothing as well. While the mites do not like us as much, and we are considered a final host, and as that they cannot reproduce upon us; they can however live for up to five days off of a Pot Bellied Pig. This can cause for a really itchy red rash on human skin. Alcohol and Teatree Oil have been linked in treatment of these rashes, while others may go away on their own. If you have a rash lasting longer than 5-7 days that is persistent you may need to seek medical assistance for some form of medication.
In addition to a regular worming schedule, effective pasture or backyard management can help to reduce the parasite load on your property. This would include removing manure on a regular basis. If manure cannot be picked-up, periodic raking or dragging the pasture will break-up the manure exposing it to sunlight which will help to kill the eggs.
There are online recommended places for finding Ivomec and Dectomax in your area, but you can also check with your vet and local feed store.
Listed below is a the different forms of Ivermectin you can obtain for your Pot Bellied Pig. It is cited from Dottie’s Den and has very useful information on the products available.
TYPES OF WORMERS: Worming & Parasite ControlFrom Dottie’s Den http://potbelliedpigs4ever.blogspot.com/2011/10/worming-and-mange-mites.html
A variety of products can be used to treat your pigs. Listed below are few:
Ivermectin - Used to control worms, lice and mites. Can be administered in many forms.
Ivermectin Injection for Swine - This is a 1% injectable solution. It can also be given orally although this is an off-label use. A syringe and needle is needed to extract the solution form the bottle. The smallest bottle is 50 ml. so it is not cost effective in worming just one or two pigs.
Ivermectin Paste Wormer 1.87% - This product is designed for horses or equine but can be given to pigs at the same dose. It is relatively easy to administer on a piece of apple or the pigs favorite food.
Ivermectin Granules - A feed additive that is mixed in with the food over a six day period. It can also be used to top dress feed to treat a specific problem. Sold in 50lb bags.
Ivermectin Pour-on - A .5 % solution which is administered along the backline similar to flea treatments used in dogs and cats. The smallest container sold is 250ml which will treat 25 to thirty pigs.
Dectomax - A drug similar to Ivermectin, but claims to have a longer residual life. Also controls lice and mites and can be administered several forms.
Dectomax Injection for Swine - An injectable solution that can also be given orally.
Dectomax pour-on - A solution administered along the backline as the Ivermectin pour-on.
Heartland Wormer- a feed additive specifically designed for pot bellied pigs.
Happy Tails Farm Sanctuary was born from a deep love and compassion for all animals. Founded in 2013 by Carla and Harold Moore, HTFS became a registered charity in 2017. To donate to HTFS please click here.
Thank you to Melissa Kramer for writing this blog. Check out Melissa's Facebook page Kramers Kindness Project and to read more of Melissa's work please visit her website.