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Last year, the Duchess Fund was honored to sponsor the attendance of Dr. Bruce Lawhorn at the national potbellied pig Symposium in Ft. Myers, Florida on the week end of April 19,th. On Saturday morning at the Holiday Inn in Ft. Myers, Dr. Lawhorn spoke to pet and shelter owners and rescue volunteers. He was introduced as follows:

Dr. Bruce Lawhorn Introduction – Symposium

As most of you know, the Duchess Fund is a charitable, non profit organization and operates on donations only. Those donations have enabled us to welcome Dr. Lawhorn here today.

The Duchess Fund is honored to sponsor Dr. and Mrs. Bruce Lawhorn at the 2002 Symposium. Dr. Lawhorn is a professor and Extension Swine Veterinarian, Dept. of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas A&M; University, College Station, Texas.

Dr. Lawhorn received his Veterinary Medicine degree, his Veterinary Science degree and his Veterinary Microbiology degree from Texas A&M.;

It would take me too much time to list his many other academic appointments, accomplishments and honors so I’ll go right to what Dr. Lawhorn has done for potbellied pigs everywhere.

Some of us at the Duchess Fund have networked with Dr. Lawhorn since 1992. He has always been exceptionally generous with his time for potbellied pig owners and their veterinarians. A typical example, and only one of many, 5 years ago one of us referred a blocked pig in Alaska to Dr. Lawhorn. On Easter Sunday night, at midnight, two Anchorage veterinarians, on their hands and knees in a barn, catheterized a 300 lb potbellied barrow with Dr. Lawhorn on the other end of the phone guiding them. The pig recovered and is alive and well today.

The Duchess Fund referred a pig owner who had an extremely ill pig with a temperature of 106 to Dr. Lawhorn. Dr. Lawhorn met her at Texas A&M; at 7:00 AM. The pig was admitted. The owner went back after work to visit her pig. At 6:00 PM she found Dr. Lawhorn administering medication to her pig. She told us she wondered if he had stayed with her pig all day, he seemed so caring and concerned. Her pig recovered after 6 days.

After consulting with Dr. Lawhorn over a period of a few weeks, a veterinarian sent a Louisiana pig owner to Texas A&M.; She drove 18 hours so her pig could receive the skills Dr. Lawhorn could provide. Again, her pig recovered as a result of many diagnostic tests and Dr. Lawhorn’s knowledge and experience.

More recently, a pet owner contacted us prior to taking her pig to a university for treatment and surgery. We provided her with Dr. Lawhorn’s number in the event the veterinarians had questions once they opened the pig up. While the pig was actually on the operating table, the university vets phoned Dr. Lawhorn to describe what they saw and, based on his expertise, the surgeons were able to make an appropriate decision.

When we did the trials on thyroid reference ranges, he guided us throughout that procedure with great detail. He was featured in our Porcine Stress Syndrome article and answered all the many questions that were raised as a result of the first documented case .

I talked to Dr. Lawhorn throughout Duchess’ illness and sent him each diagnostic test as it was done. Her treatment and lab work went on for months. This gave me the peace of mind that everything was being done for her that could be done. He was also on the phone with my local vet just a few hours before she died.

Owners and veterinarians alike have reported back to us at the Duchess Fund after a medical situation has been resolved. They all express how patient, caring and helpful Dr. Lawhorn has been.

Dr. Lawhorn is a household name in the potbellied pig industry and has been for 12 years. He has devoted countless hours to our pets and for that we are extremely grateful. The fact that he is here today is yet another example of his dedication…and again we are grateful.

In short, he’s the MAN !! Please welcome Dr. Lawhorn!!!

While speaking to this group, some of the topics he covered included: anesthesia, crystals forming in urine (and prevention), constipation, intubation and thyroid reference ranges (Duchess Fund research project). He cautioned the audience about supplementing with Vitamin E/Selenium. Dr. Lawhorn expressed his willingness to work with individual veterinarians on questions they might have. He encouraged pet owners to have their vets call him directly or email him as that will save time.

After speaking to pet owners and rescue people, we traveled to the veterinary clinic where the wet lab was being held for the attending veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Dr. Lawhorn then spoke about various medical issues on potbellied pigs that he has seen at Texas A&M; University and presented some very interesting slides and information about these cases, some of which included: Melanoma growths removed, a metastatic melanoma on spinal cord, a growth in the mammary system of a 200 pound potbellied pig, abscessed roots of teeth, stricture in spiral colon, fat necrosis in abdomen, fractures and repair of the distal humerus, a one year old pig that suffered from Phycomycosis resulting in amputation of ½ of the leg (recovered and doing well today!), a prolapsed rectum, bladder stones, cryptorchid neuter, psychogenic water consumption, a spayed pig with vulva bleeding resulting in endoscope showing clot on cervix (from undissolved sutures), a pig that had salt toxicity and, last, a pig that had skin (paper thin) sloughing.

We extend another big thanks to him for his dedication and taking the time to spend the long week end in Florida

Your continued support and contributions to the Duchess Fund enables us to fulfill our many goals.


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408-14th St. S.W.

Ruskin, FL 33570


Duchess Fund
408-14th St. S.W., Ruskin, FL
33570 USA

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