California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc



by Chris Christensen

It's never easy to lose one of our pet companions, but it can be especially hard both emotionally and functionally when your pet weighs up to 200 lbs and most veterinarians don't wish to deal with it.        

(read: "Are you prepared for an emergency?")

Most pet veterinarians don't deal with potbellied pigs because pigs are too large, too loud, or the veterinarians just lack the knowledge and experience to know what to do.  Also, most pet veterinarians do not make house calls so you must be able to transport your animal and often assist with handling your pet once you arrive at the veterinarians office.

Many large animal veterinarians, most of whom know about domestic pigs and do make house calls, aren't comfortable working with pet pig owners.  Their procedures and techniques are usually more attuned to animals as products, not as pet companions.

Under any circumstances, if you find a veterinarian willing to treat your potbellied pet, you will probably be expected to take an active part in the treatment.

We recently lost one of our potbellied pig companions, George.  He was stricken with a massive seizure late in the evening.  A call to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital emergency number, (530) 752-0290, gave us little hope for his recovery.  We called the local emergency all night animal clinic, and though they knew little about potbellied pigs, they were willing to try and help. 

We loaded the struggling George into a large animal carrier and put the carrier into our camper with the help of our hydraulic table.

At the emergency clinic they administered large doses of Valium which had little effect. 

After hours of watching him suffer and more talks with the veterinarian at UC Davis we decided to have the emergency veterinarian euthanize him.  She had told us earlier that she did not know how to euthanize a pig, but we had brought the instructions on how to do it with us.  She followed the instructions, and George passed peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge.

Euthanasia instructions - to be used by veterinarians

The next morning we drove George's body to UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Davis, California to have a necropsy performed.  This is important as so little is known about these animals that any information that is gained will help future potbellied pigs. 

We had George's body cremated and his cremains returned to us. 

Always be certain that any cremation service that you or your veterinarian use for the cremation will be able to handle a pig cremation, both for size and body fat content.

In the greater San Francisco Bay Area, we used "Animal Memorial Services" very successfully. 

(888) 255-1002 (toll free) or (408) 847-1002  (

Also in the San Francisco Bay Area there is an excellent drop off cremation service for potbellied pigs at Groveway Veterinary Hospital, 2423 Grove Way, Castro Valley, CA. 

(510) 581-6629 (

Also in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, there is available an in-home euthanasia service for our pet pigs that are approaching the ends of their lives.  Many of our members and ourselves have been very pleased with this service.  Contact Dr. Anthony J. Smith, DVM, "Rainbow Bridge Vet Services" for home hospice care and euthanasia. 

(510) 381-3389  (

“Grief...It’s just love that has no place to go.” 

Ira Marlowe