Esther the Wonder Pig now cancer-free, pain-free and ‘fabulous’
A Canadian pig with a huge social media following is out of pain, cancer-free and able to strut around her Ontario home with ease weeks after undergoing surgery.
Owner Steve Jenkins said Esther the Wonder Pig‘s “bad year” is now behind her.
In August, veterinarians discovered that the popular pig had breast cancer. Later that month, she underwent surgery to remove several lumps, Jenkins said.
Shortly after, veterinarians also found a stomach ulcer that had caused her severe pain and left her with little inclination to move around, Jenkins said.
Esther is now taking medication for the ulcer and has resumed daily walks around her farm home in Campbellville, Ont., for the first time in nearly a year.
“She’s been doing fabulous,” Jenkins said. “She recovered from surgery really, really well.”
Last November, Esther came down with a mysterious ailment that her “fathers,” Jenkins and Derek Walter, said left her listless.
They believed it to be a serious back injury but had trouble nailing down a diagnosis. There wasn’t a CT scanner big enough in Canada for the pig, so the pair looked into bringing Esther to a facility in New York where there was one that could be used for the 300-kilogram animal.
Jenkins and Walter learned, however, that rules surrounding food and farm animals would have left Esther in a lengthy quarantine if she travelled to the U.S.
The pair then decided to launch a fundraiser and quickly raised more than US$500,000 to buy an equine CT scanner that they donated to the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College.
In August, the university set up the scanner for its first use – on Esther.
They didn’t find any indication of a back injury, or any other muscoloskeletal issue, through the scan, Jenkins said. But the exercise led to further investigation as well as bloodwork that indicated the stomach ulcer, he said.
“That ulcer was almost certainly caused by the pain medication we gave her to treat this unknown illness,” he said, noting that Esther is now off that medication and the ulcer is healing with different treatment.
The pig, who has 1.4 million followers on Facebook alone, has attracted fans that include actor Alan Cumming and comedy star Ricky Gervais.
Jenkins and Walter adopted Esther in 2012, thinking she was a so-called micropiglet.
To the pair’s surprise, she grew to be a full-sized commercial pig. Jenkins and Walter eventually left their jobs and moved with Esther from their small home in Georgetown, Ont., to their current farm that houses more than 60 animals.
With her breast cancer behind her, Esther will be spayed in early October in an effort to prevent against uterine cancers and stabilize her hormone levels, Jenkins said.
“She’s walking around like she owns the place,” he said.
“This should give us another six, seven, eight more years together.”
© 2018 The Canadian Press