An uncommon pet is becoming quite popular in the state of Indiana—micro pigs. While the petite porcine are taking up residence in many Hoosier homes, many new owners aren’t aware that these piggy pets are still legally livestock. Likewise, the care and feeding of these animals is more like barnyard animals than traditional household pets.
“The food being sold for these micro pigs is not designed for growing animals,” said Beth Breitweiser, veterinarian with All Wild Things exotic animal hospital in Indianapolis. “We have to get the micro pigs on a proper diet before we can give them vaccines and other veterinary care.”
Other veterinarians around the state have reported similar issues to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH).
Private veterinary practitioners are reporting approximately half of the animals have significant health or disease problems. These problems are most likely due to the owners’ lack of knowledge about the proper care of swine and the suppliers not showing diligence in proper care and weaning. They are not yet able to eat solid foods.
Most of the micro pigs are coming from out-of-state sources and are subject to Indiana swine import laws. Because micro pigs can carry the same diseases as their full-sized relatives, the little guys are legally recognized as livestock by BOAH. Therefore, the animals fall under the same requirements as commercial swine in the state of Indiana. To owners, this means every micro pig is required by state law to have one form of permanent individual identification. Possible options of approved identification include microchips, tattoos or eartags.
A significant number of the pigs are entering Indiana from other states. These imported animals should be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) and an entry permit. CVIs are issued by a private veterinarian who examines the pig before it leaves its home state. Entry permits must be obtained by the owner or veterinarian from the BOAH office by calling (877) 747-3038.
Additional information about swine health requirements in the state of Indiana can be found on the BOAH website at www.boah.in.gov.