Help, my pig suffers from PTSD - owner
There was no getting around it: Amanda Clark’s pig might have had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dumbledore was so horrified he lost the urge to walk.
Now, Clark has called for help to rehabilitate Dumbledore, who she believes was traumatised by getting tangled in an electric fence during a storm about two years ago.
Dumbledore, a large white, is now on the road to recovery, thanks to donations of a special walking frame, and a pig-vest from Weta Workshop, but he needs more space, and shelter, to help his rehabilitation.
Dumbledore’s troubles stemmed from a stormy night when his head became entangled in an electric fence while he was staying on an Upper Hutt farm.
Clark heard screams and grabbed rubber gloves, slipped on rubber boots and used bolt cutters to free him.
‘‘If what I was getting was any gauge, he was getting some pretty nasty shocks.’’
When freed, Dumbledore was virtually catatonic, she said. She placed blankets over him to comfort him: he seemed all right, but then several months later started developing troubling symptoms.
He became reclusive – cowering, and easily startled by loud noises and clicks. Then he appeared to lose the ability to walk.
Vets were unable to say whether it was a physical problem, but Clark, who lives in Otaki Gorge, on the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington, believed it could be a type of animal PTSD.
She said eventually Dumbledore started to regain the use of his legs, dragging himself up off the ground using fences and other structures as leverage.
He would manage a few paces then would stumble over, but would always try again.
She was given a special walking-frame device by Scafit, and the Weta Workshop vest, which attaches him to the frame.
The rig functions as a lifting device, then as a walking aid, to help rebuild muscle tone, as with humans who need rehabilitation after long periods of immobility.
But Clark’s property in Otaki Gorge is wet and unsheltered. She said Dumbledore needed a covered area large enough to work him every day, regardless of the weather, and with firm footing and flat terrain so the rig could work.
It was not about the time or the money, she said. Dumbledore was her mate, and she loved him.
‘‘I’m a vegetarian and an animal consciousness advocate, and I believe he’s got the same right to long-term treatment as a human.’’
Massey University lecturer and behaviour veterinarian Rachael Stratton said it was possible Dumbledore could indeed have had animal PTSD.
Animals experienced both negative and positive emotions, she said.
‘‘The short answer is yes, we know we can get ongoing behavioural consequences because of a traumatic event ... it’s highly plausible that the pig suffers some fear and anxiety from that event.’’
She said Dumbledore’s condition could have been triggered by physical surroundings, or circumstances similar to those when he was shocked, or he could suffer from generalised ongoing anxiety.
‘‘It is possible. I’ve never treated a pig with generalised anxiety before, but it is possible.’’
She said solutions to PTSD included therapy to desensitise animals to their triggers, and antianxiety medication.
Amanda Clark wants assistance to rehabilitate her pig Dumbledore, who suffered severe stress after an electric fence accident.
Dumbledore’s harness was donated by Sir Richard Taylor, of Weta Workshop. It will help Dumbledore stand and use his legs again. Amanda Clark on her pig Dumbledore