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Things That Are Toxic To Pigs

March 1 2020

This week is kind of a ‘pig’ deal for those of us who own or care for bovines. March is Poison Prevention month. Plus, tomorrow, March 2nd, is National Pig Day. This is a perfect time to talk about some of the things that are dangerous to pigs! A Mt. Airy, MD vet lists some common ones below.


Mycotoxins are natural toxins that are produced by molds. Mycotoxin poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning with pigs, in large part because mycotoxins can contaminate feed and/or feed bins. It’s worth noting that certain weather conditions are favorable to the growth of certain mycotoxins. This happened in 2014 with ergot poisoning, which can cause dry gangrene. Keep your feed bins clean, and take note if your pigs don’t like something.


Pigs that are given brewing waste can be at risk of alcohol poisoning, as sometimes grain keeps fermenting. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often.


Some feeds—such as wet rations–contain a lot of salt, which is toxic in high amounts. Salt poisoning often goes hand in hand with dehydration. However, if you know or suspect your pigs have salt poisoning, don’t give them too much water too fast: this can make matters worse. Call your vet immediately for instructions.

Coal Tar

Coal tar is in a wide variety of items, including paints and disinfectants. Pigs apparently like the taste, as they often seek these things out. Ingestion of coal tar can cause serious liver damage, and can even be fatal.


Medication is a huge poison risks for pets. Pigs are no exception here. Only offer your pig medicines that your veterinarian has recommended.


Bracken, hemlock, cocklebur, henbane, ivy, acorns, ragwort, foxglove, elder, deadly nightshade, rhododendron, and laburnum are all highly toxic to pigs. Jimsonweed—also known as Hell’s Bells, Pricklyburr, Devil’s Weed, Jamestown Weed, Stinkweed, Devil’s Trumpet, or Devil’s Cucumber—is also poisonous to them.

Signs of Poisoning

The signs of poison ingestion vary, depending on the substance ingested. That said, some common ones include shallow or irregular breathing, elevated or weakened pulse, restlessness, dilated pupils, twitching, depression, low body temperature, excessive or reduced urination, staggering, and diarrhea. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these red flags.

As your Mt. Airy, MD vet clinic, we’re dedicated to offering great care. Call us anytime!