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Cystitis is the most common genitourinary disease among pet potbellied

pigs. In my experience, there is sex predilection for cystitis. It occurs

more in males than females. However, most male pigs with cystitis are neutered. There is not data to prove that neutered males actually develop cystitis more often than intact boars or if this is simply representative of the pet pig population as a whole.

Cystitis can occur in pigs of any age. The condition has

developed in pigs young and old with no previous history of the problem.

The most common clinical signs are: “stranguria and polyuria. (1) Most pet

pigs with cystitis have normal appetites and do not have a fever. Infected pigs

will frequently posture to urinate and strain while producing extremely small

amounts of urine. Rarely, a cloudy vulvar discharge will be present. Blood is

often present in the urine.

Previously “well-housebroken” pigs will often begin to urinate in the house. You should be aware, however, that frequent urination(often in “undesirable locations”) is a common occurrence with female pigs in estrus, and this condition should not be mistaken for cystitis.

A urinalysis should be performed before the definitive diagnosis of cystitis can be made. It is best to use a sterile jar or Ziploc baggie and “Catch” the urine midstream. Wear gloves J or if they potty on a clear floor, use a clean syringe to collect the urine.

The urinalysis is best performed within an hour of collection. If you collected a sample and cannot get to the Veterinary office, it can be refrigerated for 6–12 hours without altering the results.

The reagent strips commonly used on Humans and in veterinary hospitals for performing

urinalysis on dog and cat urine are equally acceptable for testing piggie

 urine. The strips should, at a minimum, test ketone, protein, bilirubin,

pH level, and blood/hemoglobin.

Reagent strip results from pet pigs with cystitis usually reveal hematuria,proteinuria, and a pH level between 7.0 and 8.5. Reagent strips may also test for specific gravity, but a refractometer measures it more precisely. Specific gravity of the urine from affected pigs ranges from 1.000 to 1.035. Microscopic evaluation of urine sediment should also be performed. This usually reveals high numbers of erythrocytes and leukocytes, gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci, and, frequently, triple phosphate crystals.

The bacterial agents most frequently

identified in Piggie urine are Escherichia coli, Eubacterium suis, Klebsiella sp., and Streptococcus.

Treatment should be based on the results of antibacterial sensitivity tests whenever possible.

Giving diluted cranberry juice in the water helps to aid in some relief for the Piggie. It is NOT a cure. The cranberry helps to flush the toxins and encourages water consumption. Do NOT restrict their water.

If there are Struvite crystals or Urine Calculi, Ammonium Chloride should be added to the food/water to help balance the PH of the urine. The formation of struvite calculi may also occur as a result of a high urine pH and decreased water consumption. These uroliths may lead to complete or partial urethral obstruction in the Piggie. Male pigs are more likely to become obstructed because of the length and narrow diameter of the urethra.


Other common causes of increased urination is when People restrict the Piggies water. Withholding water will cause them to drink more water than previously and can also lead to Salt Toxicity. NEVER restrict water consumption unless advised by a Veterinarian.


A common cause of decreased water consumption by

 Your Piggie is temperature extremes in its drinking water. Many piggies will not drink the needed amount if their water is too cold or too hot. However, most of mine LOVE ice cubes in their water in the summer.

For the pig that does not drink adequate amounts of water, water consumption can be increased by

adding diluted fruit juice or other sweet flavoring to their water. (A study in commercial swine demonstrated that when given a choice, pigs prefer sweet-tasting water).

High urinary pH also appears to lend to increased bacterial concentration in urine. Piggies with cystitis

frequently have a urinary pH as high as 8.5. Diet appears to influence urine pH, with high-protein diets promoting an acidic pH and high carbohydrate diets leading to alkaline urine. Most potbellied pig diets are carbohydrate-based with corn, wheat, or soybean making up the majority of the diet.









1. Lawhorn B: Diseases and conditions

of miniature pet pigs, in Reeves

DE (ed): Care and Management of

Miniature Pet Pigs. Santa Barbara,

Calif, Veterinary Practice, 1993, pp


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