The Recurring Abscess
“Petunia” was purchased from a potbellied pig breeder in Georgia in 1998 at approximately 7 weeks of age and 5 pounds. Her new owners noticed a “crease” in her flank area and were told that the pigs on the breeding farm
would run through some chutes and sometimes they would get stuck and have to wiggle through. It was not known to the new owners if the chutes had any wire in them or not. The owner thought often of this and wondered if there was some connection to this “crease” in the same area where the abscess formed later on. Petunia received routine vet care over a 3 month period (September, October and November, 1998) for vaccinations, deworming, microchip and spay. She had one heat before her spay. She also developed a cough during this period of time and was treated for that.
When she was about a year old (June, 1999), she developed her first abscess in the flank where the “crease” was. It looked like a big bug bite that was infected about the size of a large golf ball. She contacted the vet and subsequently took Petunia in. The vet lanced it, drained the puss and placed a drain in the surgery site. Some cultures were done (e-coli was one culprit) and Petunia was put on antibiotics while there. Once home, the owners were unable to get the antibiotics in Petunia. Petunia seemed to recover without incident until October, 1999 when the lump appeared again. She was also quiet, sleepy and not her normal self. Back to the vet where more medication was given and another surgery and drains. She was sent home and the owner applied hot packs twice a day and flushed the area good but again, was unable to get any antibiotics in Petunia.
In November, she was oozing puss again from an infected surgical site and was referred to a specialist in the area. The specialist recommended she take Petunia immediately to the veterinary teaching college, which she did. Once there, diagnostic tests were done and they removed a considerable amount of necrotic tissue and puss. Radiographic findings showed no bony abnormalities and the ultrasound did not locate a nidus of infection. They did not use stitches to close the area allowing it to heal from the inside out and drain naturally. She was there 5 days and sent home to recover, which she seemed to do nicely.
The swelling and puss recurred in January, 2000, the local vet did another surgery and Petunia seemed to recover once again. In March, 2000, two bumps appeared at the same site, oozing puss. The local vet was discouraged by now.
Arrangements were made to have Petunia transferred to a pig sanctuary where she could be given daily injections of antibiotics under the supervision of an agriculture veterinarian. The first injection was given May l, 2000 and lasted for 15 days and then oral antibiotics were given for another 14 days for a total of 29 days. Cultures were also taken again. It was extremely difficult to get the oral medication in and down the pig. The pig was also given some vitamins and the infected area flushed out twice daily.
She went home on June 11, 2000 and as of this writing (July, 2000) she has remained well.