Who Lost Her Back Feet, Ears, Tail and Skin
Miss Piggy was born on 11/2/96 and she and her sister went to their new home at only 3 days of age where they lived inside a pair of fuzzy bear slippers and were bottle fed formula every 2 hours. As they got older they ate potbellied pig food and fresh produce. Miss Piggy was quite the social pig always eager to do tricks. She was very happy and apparently healthy. Today, Miss Piggy lives with her family of 3 other potbellied pigs, some goats and some dogs.
It was on November 26, 1999 when she fell ill. She didn’t come when called and was laying down and appeared to be having respiratory distress. She finally got up and took a few steps, then began defecating over and over, fell over, and continued to defecate. She had difficulty walking and subsequently wouldn’t get up. She was taken to two local vets. Treatment by local vets resulted in no improvement so she was taken to a veterinary teaching college. Upon her arrival there, she was recumbent, depressed, heart rate of 76 and pale mucous membranes. Patches of sloughing skin were found over the hind legs from the hock down, over the rump and over small areas on the front legs, one ear and the tail. The back feet from the fetlocks on down were cool and had lost sensation, suggesting that the blood supply to these areas had been compromised. She was placed in Intensive Care, diagnosed with “Probable” Erysipelas and placed on medication. She did not have the typical “diamond shaped” lesions associated with Erysipelas, however. Miss Piggy’s vaccinations were not current..
Abdominal ultrasound and thoracic radiographs revealed no abnormalities. The CBC showed slightly decreased red blood cell count (anemia) and slightly decreased white cell count (leukopenia). These findings can be associated with several disease states, including systemic infection. Serum chemistry panel revealed slightly increased liver enzymes (AST, CK) and decreased potassium. UA was unremarkable.
Her stay at the university was over a week. She returned home and the owner was warned that the skin would be sloughing off and to keep Miss Piggy as comfortable and clean as possible. The skin began to slough and slough and slough. As soon as one layer would finish the new layer would begin all over again. The skin was irrigated with water to keep it clean. Miss Piggy seemed to get some relief with the water irrigation also. Medication was put certain areas of the skin as needed.
In January, she lost both back feet. She also lost her tail and both ears. Miss Piggy was quite depressed and in pain. Euthanasia was considered a few times but each time, Miss Piggy would perk up and show signs of wanting to live!!! The first several weeks after she lost her feet, her back legs would shake when she tried to get up and move about. Gradually, she regained her strength and adjusted to life without these feet. By March, 2000, she was getting around pretty good on her “stumps” and her skin stopped sloughing although there were still some areas of concern. She grew both ears back and part of the tail! Everyone was hoping for a miracle and watched for signs of the feet growing back, but they didn’t.
By June, Miss Piggy was reportedly really getting around now and doing everything she did before her illness. She even runs when her food bowl is delivered! She’s happy, alert, and appears to be in good health after a severe illness and a very long recovery.
Unfortunately, in July, 2000, Miss Piggy started sloughing her skin again. She does not seem to be in any pain but it does itch. Medication is being applied and the skin is irrigated with water which she continues to love! It is not clear at this time how significant the sloughing of the skin is, but we will continue to monitor Miss Piggy. Her mysterious ordeal has been going on for 9 months now, yet it is still not clear whether she is totally stabilized. We will continue to update her condition.