Esther the Wonder Pig captured hearts around the world but is now battling a mysterious illness.
Steve Jenkins says the beloved 600-pound pig, who lives at home with him and his partner Derek Walter and has over 1.5 million followers on social media, suddenly collapsed last Saturday and experienced what looked like a seizure.
“She was hyperventilating, making awful noises, it was terrible,” Jenkins told CityNews.
The two immediately rushed Esther to the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in Guelph — the premier veterinary hospital in Canada.
“They don’t know yet what is wrong with her. There is a laundry list of possibilities that we are slowly eliminating,” Jenkins explained.
Esther has undergone all of the tests available at OVC, but the one test that could tell if the problem is with her spinal cord is unavailable for an animal her size.
Esther doesn’t fit through the CT scan machine at OVC or anywhere else in Canada that they know of. The one option is to take her to the United States but her dads are reluctant for two reasons.
Firstly, the risk of travel and sedation may outweigh the benefits, since the problem may be with the spine.
Secondly, and even more concerning for Jenkins and Walter, is the fact that the Canadian government would require her to be kept in quarantine for three weeks upon her return to Canada.
It’s a condition that they refuse to consider.
“They’re asking us to leave her with the same people who manage (pigs) for our consumption,” Jenkins said.
A petition was started to ask the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to exempt Esther from the quarantine, since she clearly is not meant for consumption.
Within three days the petition had close to 100,000 signatures and continues to grow.
The ordeal has left Jenkins and Walter wanting to do something in the future to bring a large CT Scan to the OVC.
They are thinking of starting a fundraiser to gather the more than $1-million needed.
With no other tests available to her here, and her condition improving slightly each day, they hope to bring Esther home as soon as possible.
To follow her progress click here.