Cat pellets save scrawny piglet named Otter

2017-06-06 07:08
Otter the pig has been rescued. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

Otter the pig has been rescued. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein - Maximum 48 hours: That's how long Otter the pig with an oesophagus problem and scrawny body would have survived the Free State cold.

The initial and more humane option had been to have the 8-week-old piglet put to sleep, Netwerk24 reported.

However, Otter grabbed his second chance at survival with such gusto that he - courtesy of his love for cat pellets - has more than doubled in weight.

He still squeals when one picks him up to put on his jersey or to take him to his new, warm bed.

The problem isn't the jersey or the bed.

Outreach programme

The problem is the picking up - and some pig-headedness, said Marizda Kruger, co-ordinator of the Society for Animals in Distress (Said) in Midrand, with a laugh.

Her tablecloth which, flower pot and all, was pulled off the table and Otter's snout tracks through the garden were proof of this.

Otter also can't sleep with his dog buddy anymore. He is so much heavier and stronger than the whippet that the pushing and shoving for the most comfortable spot, has become a bit of a bullying tactic.

Said had an outreach programme to the rural area around Steynsrus, in the Free State, about two weeks ago.

Township dogs were sterilised and given desperately needed blankets and kennels.

"In the one area there were about 150 pigs in corrugated iron pens. They were in mud up to their chests and surviving on the owners' scraps," said Kruger.

"In one of the pens there was a piglet that was so small and thin that he wouldn't have survived another night in the mud. There also was a problem with his oesophagus. After fighting his way to a piece of skin, it made him choke.

"Then it's 10 minutes of coughing, frothing and struggling before he could try to get something to eat again."

High care

The piglet also was "seriously hypoglycaemic" with a dangerously low blood sugar level.

That's when Kruger negotiated with the owner - she would deworm all his pigs for him and he could "pay" her with the pig in poor health.

Said was working from the local church hall.

Kruger put Otter in a kennel there so that he would be comfortable before being put to sleep. Because they'd actually come to help dogs, the only food option was a hand full of dog pellets. But they seemed too big and she had to make do with the cat pellets on hand.

Otter made a pig of himself, gobbling down the cat pellets.

No soft food such as bread or porridge went down his gullet, just the cat pellets.

"It's so weird that he doesn't choke on the cat pellets," said Kruger.

Otter, like a chosen one and snug in a dog jacket, was taken to Midrand on the Said members' laps.

Now he helps Kruger inspect the horses at Said during the day.

At night, he sleeps under infrared lights in high care.

"It took just a week to house-train him and to teach him how to walk on a lead," said Kruger.

On Tuesday he will be castrated - and then he's going back to the vet to see what's wrong with his throat and oesophagus.

As soon as Otter is older and healthier, he will move in with an adult sow at Said's premises.

"I promised him that he won't end up as someone's chop," Kruger said.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  good news  |  animals

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