Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Images in this post are GRAPHIC and not for the faint of heart. These photos
document an actual rescue, showing affected areas of the body. Please
exercise caution when viewing.
On 11/11/2019, Better Piggies Rescue received a desperate rescue call from Ironwood Pig Sanctuary. The information was limited but had to act quickly to save the pig in need. A possibly pregnant female potbelly pig had been mauled and attacked by a neighborhood stray large dog and was severely injured. An ear was missing and there was bleeding from her vulva which indicated a possible hemorrhage.
The person who reached out to Ironwood was a neighbor of the pig's owners. A large animal vet tech contacted by the 15 boy living at the residence. This was his pig and he cared as best he could for her. When the pig was attacked he requested any any help she could give. Being ill equipped and unable to access the pig, she did her best to evaluate her on scene from a distance. She was not able to do much other than note her injuries which was the missing ear and bleeding. They gave her comfort by giving blankets and tried calling every vet in Northern Arizona. After contacting over 20 different veterinary agencies, she started contacting animal rescues, finally getting in touch with Ironwood. They relayed the call to us to see if we could help which we gladly obliged.
While preparing our equipment for rescue, we contacted persons in the area of the rescue and had people coming to assist. We also contacted Herd Health and informed them of the rescue operation and they agreed to meet us at our Rescue upon our arrival back. Being only about 1 hour away from Camp Verde, we quickly drove to the location given of where the pig was residing. At approximately 7:45pm we were met on-site by other people there to help as well as the 15 year old caregiver and neighbor who and called they showed us where the pig was located.
As we turned the corner of the mobile home, we found her laying under a raised porch and covered in blankets. Visibly we could see a missing ear with little remaining tissue, dried blood coming from other areas near the rear of the pig, and a large amount of concentrated blood near the rear right leg. Quickly devising a plan, we put everyone with hog boards, kennels, and flashlights in place. The 15 year old that the pig was bonded with and Better Piggies Rescue Owner and Director Danielle Betterman climbed under the raised porch and on hands and knees began prepping her for extraction. They placed her on a few blankets and used those to slide her across the ground to the entrance under the porch where we were all standing with a kennel in place. We grabbed the blankets and gently set her into the kennel where she was more than willing to be. It was obvious the pig only cared about getting out of there by any means possible. This was the first time we had noticed how strong of a fighter she was. After carrying her to the rescue vehicle and securing her in the back, we did a rough evaluation of her overall condition. She had wheezing/labored breathing, a high heart rate, and was lateral and immobile. We determined she was in a state of shock. After quickly applying a topical ointment to the affected areas, we set off back to the rescue. Herd Health met us shortly after arriving back at the rescue where they began to do their evaluation and begin immediate treatment.
Dr. Michael Marricle of Herd Health began with injecting a pain medication which comes with minor sedation. The physical relief of that injection was seen immediately and new rescue resident now named "Hope" was finally at a bit of ease. Upon treating her wounds from the mauling we discovered more wounds on other parts of her body in worse condition. We also determined she was not pregnant. Based off the condition and appearance of these newly discovered wounds, we determined she had been attacked by a dog days prior as well. The new wounds were rotten and the tissue decayed. This was a concern for many reasons. Dr. Marricle quickly began treating the newly discovered wounds and removed a lot of dead tissue. This allowed the wound to breathe to heal. We gave Hope her vaccines, additional pain meds, and antibiotics. She had been through enough at this point and we decided she was stable enough to let rest for the evening and re-evaluate her condition the next day.
The extent of her injuries we determined are the following: Approximately 6-8 puncture wounds, Left ear removed, minimal bleeding from the vulva, multiple scratches and bite marks covering about 50% of her body, a large laceration to the front left leg, left eye swollen shut, and damage to her left eye lid.
Hope is currently in very stable condition with rapid improvement each day. She is now eating and drinking regularly and allows people to come visit her within reason. Requiring constant treatment through each day and a regular dose of medication twice a day, she still has a long road ahead of her but she is fighting to take every day she can. Her tenacity is nothing like we have ever seen in a sick or injured animal. She refuses to let her injuries get the best of her and against the odds is now standing for a few moments each day.
The interaction between pigs and dogs is stressed at every possible chance by us and other rescue organizations and this is exactly why. Never leave dogs and pigs alone. The life of an amazing piggy is always at stake when facing a dog alone. Even the sweetest dog can turn the situation into a nightmare unprovoked. It is in their nature..
Follow Hope's progress through our social media account on Facebook and Instagram or come to the rescue for a visit and tour. Hope is available for sponsor and she can use as many as she can get as her medical expenses will grow by the thousands before she is finished with recovery.
To learn more about pigs and dogs together please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.