Melvin, an adorable one year old pot bellied pig, is known in his family for being loveable and amusing! At 15 lbs., Melvin has an appetite but when his family returned from vacation, they knew something was wrong. For 24 hours, Melvin would not eat and began to vomit.
This was concerning because Melvin's family hadn't introduced anything new into his diet, he hadn't left home and the illness seemed to be progressing. Poor Melvin was extremely sick and certainly not himself.
Melvin's family knew Dr. Summer Godfrey, now with Amador Valley Veterinary Center (AVVC) in Pleasanton, would be able to help.
Dr. Godfrey has an extensive veterinary background treating all types of animals and they were confident she was the right veterinarian for Melvin.
When Melvin arrived at AVVC, the initial evaluation showed he was extremely dehydrated and depressed. Pot bellied pigs are usually active and have strong personalities, especially when healthy!
Dr. Godfrey recommended Melvin be hospitalized and treated IV fluids, an antiemetic (a medication used to stop vomiting), antacids and pain medications.
It is typically difficult to place IV catheters in pot bellied pigs but Dr. Godfrey and her team at AVVC were able to begin all medications safely and quickly.
Dr. Godfrey then ordered a radiograph (similar to an x-ray but uses a different type of light to show density). This radiograph test showed abnormal and extensive amounts of gas in Melvin's small intestines.
Blood work was then performed in the AVVC lab. The results showed elevated pancreatic enzymes and a high white blood cell count.
Dr. Godfrey continued to run tests to diagnose the possible illness which at this point could have been; pancreatitis, possible gastritis, a spider bite or a liver shunt.
A liver shunt is a deformity in the liver and is becoming increasingly common in tea cup pot bellied pigs.
When Melvin's tests returned, his family was relieved to know Melvin did not have a liver shunt and after a second round of test, his gas began to move! Dr. Godfrey diagnosed Melvin with pancreatitis and kept him on IV fluids.
On day 2, Melvin began to wag his tail and even eat a little watermelon! Within the next 24 hours, Melvin was taken off IV fluids, given oral antibiotics and was able to go home with his family! Melvin has since made a full recovery and his family is thankful to Dr. Godfrey and her team at AVVC!