HOW TO HELP YOUR ITCHY PIG
Pigs are notorious for having itchy skin. There are a number of issues that can cause itch. There’s a difference between the occasional itch and the one that leaves red streaks or causes bleeding. We’re focused on the itch that causes skin damage. The first step is to eliminate severe itch from the environment, injury and other health causes.
Per the Daily Pen Assessment Check the Following Items:
Water – Water is cool & clean and your pig is drinking. If
Clean – The pen is clean and the poop is picked up.
Shade – There is plenty of shade.
Flies – Flies are in control and not covering your pig.
If any of these items do not match…fix them!
Injury & Health Causes
Sunburn – Make sure that you pig isn’t sunburn. It will look similar to this picture. Read the article titled Sunburn Remedy for treatment steps.
Cuts or Other Skin Injuries – Look to see if there is a cut or wound that has become infected. Read How to Treat Cuts and Scrapes for treatment steps.
Red Bumps on the Ears or Neck area – If you can see a bunch of red bumps in the ear and neck area, your pig may have mites or mange. Read the article on Mange Management & Symptoms for treatment steps.
If you don’t see any of the items listed above, your pig may just be experiencing a case of dry skin!
Dry Skin Remedies:
Skin Conditioner – Twice a day, rinse your pig and apply a good skin conditioning location with a brush or hand rub it into their skin. You’ll be amazed how the skin will change with this type of extra care. Not to mention your pig will love all of the attention! This pig went from a dry, ashy grey to a dark and rich black coat. Read Itchy Skin Lotion. This is a homemade mix that has helped many pigs over the years.
Washing – Wash your pig with a good livestock shampoo and rinse well. Read Eucalyptus Shampoo Benefits.
No Itch or Aloe Vera Gel – For trouble spots that are extra itchy, apply no -itch gel to the spot directly. This can be applied 2-3 times a day to a clean and mud free pig.
HYDRATION = HEALTHY SKIN
- Water: Ensure that your animal has access to clean, fresh, cool water. Outside of the feed trough, the water bucket should be a favorite hangout place. Goats, sheep and swine love water and drink plenty!
CLEAN PENS = HEALTHY SKIN
- Scoop Poop Daily: First ensure that your pen is cleaned daily to keep flies from breeding. Flies can bite your animal and cause irritations that can become infected. Remove all manure far from the stall area. For goats and sheep, there is a special manure rake with fine tines that will be able to capture the little pellets. Change the shavings every two weeks or as needed in the bed area.
CLEAN SKIN = HEALTHY SKIN
- Clean Skin: Keep your animal clean and brush them daily! This is good for the skin and hair/wool development. It also trains your animal to be groomed which will help later when it’s time to clip and groom. Shampoo as needed and be careful to rinse all of the soap off. Daily spray fly spray on the wet & poop areas in the pen to kill the fly larva & hang fly strips.
ELIMINATE WORMS/MITES/FLIES = HEALTHY SKIN
- Worming Schedule: Worm your Animal on a regular schedule (See worming or parasite articles).
- Mites: Administer an ivermectin based wormer. This will help manage mites and other irritants that cause itching. Ivermectin based medicines can be given orally, by injection or topically. I have successfully used ivermectin horse wormer orally on my animals (1/3 tube each day for 3 days). Mites may not be seen, but will show up as red hives or crusty bumps on the neck & ear area. Symptom of ear mites are excessive shaking of their head and walk with their head cocked sideways. See worming for more information on different worming strategies.
- Flies: Hang Fly repellant bags or strips in your pen and area to help reduce the fly population. See article on fly control for other ideas.
BALANCED FEED = HEALTHY SKIN
- Balanced Feed: It cannot be emphasized enough the importance of a good, quality feed designed for your market animal. Feeding an inappropriate feed can cause several issues for the health, well being and muscle development. If the animal is not receiving the right ingredients, they will grow slowly and their skin and coat will be poor. A poor diet will result in skin issues.
There are several steps that you can take to help resolve the itch. If all these efforts do not help the itch within a couple of days, contact your advisor to see if there is another health or parasite issue that has been overlooked.