This last Saturday at work, a guy burst through our front door with a piglet wrapped in bloody towels. Her name is Petunia. Petunia the pig had been attacked by a dog and badly. According to the owner, he had only just taken possession of the piglet about two hours prior - supposedly from a neighbor who didn't seem to be taking good care of her - when another neighbor's dog tried to eat it for lunch.
Petunia had puncture wounds all over, from top to bottom. A couple puncture wounds punctured through her chest cavity, exposing her lungs - which were unharmed as far as we could tell. She was in shock, her gums were pale and she was shaking. And her temperature was so low, it barely registered on our thermometer. An average body temp for a pig is anywhere between 100 and 103* (F), although potbellied pigs can be a bit lower. When I left her at 3pm, her temperature was 93.9 and that was an improvement.
Dr. M spoke with the pig's owner, as well as the dog's owner, about cost and they both agreed to try to save her. The dog's owner put down the required $500 deposit, and both men were quoted that the bill could get as high as $1000. We got Petunia started on oxygen, we had the ROP student get hot water into bottles and lots of blankets. I started clipping the different wounds, while trying to keep pressure on her right side as that was where the hole into her chest cavity was. Dr. M didn't have everything she needed to fix Petunia completely or properly, but we sutured her up as best as we could and cleaned her up. I set up a cage for her and put fresh hot water in the water bottles and extra towels. I just kept petting her on her nose. I'm not partial to pigs, but she's super cute. Besides, how can you not love a pig named Petunia?
I went to work Monday morning, having thought and worried about this poor little pig through the weekend, went straight to the back to see if she was still on our white board for in-house patients. She was. Then I went to her cage in the cat ward, and there she was. I opened her cage door, she started oinking. I was so happy, I was near tears. Over a pig. I fed her a bowl of dog food and she just chowed down on it. We have to syringe feed her water, because she'll knock the bowl over and only make a mess. Her wounds have already started healing. She's still sore, and won't actually walk. Dr. M had me take her outside to see if she'd walk. She squealed the entire way. I'm pretty sure the folks in the pizza kitchen next door had to be wondering, "What the hell?!" lol
Once outside, she just sat there. And scooted around a little. But she wouldn't walk. I took her inside when she tried eating rocks, because we don't need that. I took her back inside, carrying her with her squealing away. I got her back in her cage, gave her more food and water, and let her be. She's still not out of the woods by any means, but she's slowly improving.
As I was leaving this afternoon, I told one of the girls to, "not forget to water the pig." That really tickled her funny bone, and I only made it worse when I said, "well, her name is Petunia, so don't forget our little flower."
I will see how she's doing on Tuesday.