Arthritis? In a Pig? What’s the Deal with That?

Potbelly pigs are notorious for developing arthritis. Though many cases have genetic roots, the majority of arthritic pigs develop the condition as a result of obesity. Yes, these pigs have a “pot-bellied” shape, but it is essential for them to maintain a healthy body weight and get regular exercise. Below, we have detailed the ways in which arthritis can manifest in pigs, as well as several common causes.

A brief refresher: Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. It is very common in pigs of all ages, and the cause is generally related to bacteria. Arthritis can manifest in a variety of symptoms depending on your pig’s age and sex. Sows generally experience stiffness and lameness, whereas piglets might shiver, show pain, have a hairy appearance, or—in the worst cases—die suddenly. In weaners and growers, arthritis causes swollen joints, a reluctance to stand, and potential, diamond-shaped lesions.

Potbelly pig arthritis can have several causes. I have listed some of the most common below:

– Knee necrosis
– Obesity
– Navel infection
– Erysipelas
– Trauma
– Faulty iron injections
– Poor sow immunity
– Leg weakness/osteochondrosis
– Streptococcal infection

In many cases, lameness is the only clinical sign of arthritis. However, if you notice that your pig’s legs are abnormally angled, see a professional. If you suspect your pig may be experiencing a health-related issue, see a veterinarian immediately.