How Tickles Saved Pickles: Poisoned Pig Healed By Fellow Porcine

DAVIS (CBS13) — A pot-bellied pig sickened by rat poison was saved thanks to doctors and students at the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital. The Bay Area pig named Pickles is also a pet and was near death when his owners brought him to the university.

Today, Pickles the Pig is as happy as a pig can be, but two months ago, the now 7-month-old pot-bellied pig, was sicker than a dog.

His owner, Stephen Liu, said, “We noticed that he was bleeding through his mouth and vomiting.”

Liu drove him from the Bay Area to the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, which they described as the “best animal hospital world” with the “best piggy doctors.”

Pickles underwent x-rays and was confined to an incubator when doctors finally discovered what was wrong. It appeared Pickles had ingested rat poison while staying at an Airbnb during a trip to New York City with his owners. Pickles needed a blood transfusion right away, so mom and dad found a pig for sale on Craigslist and had it shipped in a U-Haul to UC Davis to be a blood donor. The 450-pound hog-turned-hero name Tickles was being sold for slaughter.

“Pickles responded pretty well,” said Liu.

But, two days later, the pig chewed through his catheter and started bleeding again and going into seizure after seizure. Doctors weren’t sure he’d survive the night.

“We were just distraught,” said Liu.

But Pickles survived in the end. With the help of UC Davis animal experts, Tickles saved Pickles and the piggy was reunited with his family, including his puppy brother named, Dill.

“He’s a miraculous pig; so strong-willed,” said Liu, “we’re just so thankful that he’s still alive and well. He’s still kind of a brat.”

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine sees about 100 cases per year of animals sickened by rodent poisoning. If not treated in time, it’s highly likely those animals will die.

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