Caring for Disabled Piggies

fudgecakes

Post   » Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:46 pm


So about three weeks ago or so, my piggie Sully started limping around. The very next day, his right hind leg went out completely and we couldn't figure out why. He gets a pretty good diet and exercise, but we figured it was old age catching up to him. He turned seven years old in June, so he's a little, old man. With all the vets around us closed, we had to wait to try and get an appointment, but unfortunately Sully couldn't wait. His condition worsened and we rushed to an animal hospital an hour away. They weren't entirely sure what the problem was because his age did complicate things, so they sent his x-rays and exam results over to a small animal expert. To keep that saga short, the expert determined he had arthritis and a vitamin deficiency. We got him started on vitamin C supplements right away and he gets physical therapy every day.


After hours of searching around, there isn't a whole lot of information when it comes to caring for a disabled guinea pig. A lot of the threads I find end with the owners opting to put their piggies down or juicing them up with medications they found online without consulting a vet first. Every day, I sit down in the hopes of finding a comprehensive guide to hopefully make this process easier on not just Sully, but me and my brother (who has been helping with his care a lot). I found a single video about physical therapy, so we incorporate that technique with what we've been currently doing. We clean him several times throughout the day and give him a full on bath every few days. Mainly to get all the yucky stuff off of him, but we've also been trying out modified hydrotherapy to see if it makes a difference.


Sully is still struggling with mobility. I don't think it's a lost cause entirely because he's been gaining muscle in his right hind leg and actively tries to pull his feet away from during therapy. But this is all trial and error for us because as I said, there doesn't appear to be much on caring for guinea pigs in his position. Despite our efforts to keep him clean, he's still losing bits of fur because of skin irritation. With his inability to move much, he has a bed sore, which thankfully hasn't gotten infected because we caught it early enough. We've bandaged it up to keep everything else out of it. He's still eating, drinking, and using the bathroom normally. We've bumped up his vitamin C intake, he gets fresh hay whenever he wants it, and I'm going to get him some toys he can play with since he can't use any of the ones I got for his floor time (crinkle tube and a teach n' treat). He's still surprisingly spunky despite the lack of mobility because when the rabbits are out playing, he gets excited and wheeks for attention. I catch him trying to popcorn when he gets his dinner, so I don't think this is something that needs to end with him being put down like some other sites suggest. Is there anything else I should be doing? Does anyone have any helpful guides or videos they could point me to?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:17 pm


It sounds like you are doing what you can right now. I recall some people setting up the cages with corridors when they had guinea pigs that could not stand well (might help if he regained some strength). Look over this topic too:
http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15475

fudgecakes

Post   » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:29 pm


I've been scared all these weeks that I was doing everything wrong because I was kind of going in blind. It's reassuring that that isn't the case, but it's been really stressful. I've never experienced caring for a disabled pet before, so it's a learning experience. Me and my brother were thinking about making him a wheelchair/cart and somebody suggested that on another forum, so I think that's what I'll be spending the rest of the week doing. My boy misses running around and I feel so bad that he can't, so hopefully a cart lifts his little spirits.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:36 pm


There may also be something useful here:
http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=108

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:43 am


I'm glad you remembered that topic was there!

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:09 pm


I have had 2 pigs with arthritis so far. Both could not walk properly when it was discovered either.

There were no meds offered for it for piggies back then in my country. The X-ray showed she had arthritis in her hips. I put Bibi on Glucosamin and Alchemilla permanently myself instantly after. Her slow hopping stopped, she walked again within days and was running up to rocket speed within a week. Amazing! The last X-Ray before her death showed that it even reversed her arthritis so much that the vet didn't even spot it.

Binky had it even worse when he complained about being sore (he goes against all instincts and always tells us when he has a prob). The X-Ray showed a severe arthritic right knee and lesser problem in the left. The vet said that if he were human, he needed a knee replacement. His bad heart condition, which he was treated for already, made him a bad candidate for chronic meds, it would kill him soon.

Since I too have arthritis and thrive well with Glucosamin and Collagen for it, as I can't stand Alchemilla, I instantly started him on it. Within 14 days, you would never have know that he has arthritis and has been well ever since. I would say that this combo works great, considering how bad his right knee was.

fudgecakes

Post   » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:23 am


Will be ordering Sully some more supplements that include glucosamin for joint support. My mom sent me a bunch of videos and articles about guinea pig carts she found today, so I'll be looking those over as well as looking the Roxy Roller thread over again. Me and my brother will probably start building him his very own cart within the coming days. If it turns out well, I'll be sure to post about it!

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:16 am


That sounds like a plan. Keep us posted!

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:12 am


Fingers crossed! Keep in mind that a human dosage should be converted to 1/60 for a piggie. I give it twice a day to Binky, because he had it so severe, the same dosage I take myself, 1/60 for him. I figured those pills were made for an average person of 60kg.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:49 am


pigjes - how long did it take for you to get some results from glucosamine? My doc suggested it a number of years ago for my arthritis. He said some of his patients said it helped. I took it for about 2 mos. - nothing. It was sort of pricey, so I stopped. I hurt in so many places, I walk like an 80-year-old. Sorry to hijack to human things.

fudgecakes - hope you find some solutions that help. I won't go into all the detail, but we had a pig that got paralyzed hind legs from stone surgery (we think her legs were tied down too tightly). Warm water soak did seem to help temporarily. We tried to build a cart & failed - we're not very resourceful. And I didn't know about the page sef linked to. Sounds to me like you're on the right track.

fudgecakes

Post   » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:20 pm


Update on Sully: We have most of the cart supplies acquired except for the wheels. Craft stores are selling out of a lot of things because of quarantine, so they're hard to track down. Managed to find a store that carries them though, so hopefully we can begin work on his cart by the weekend.

After bandaging up his bed sore, it's completely scabbed over and healing. Looked it over and the scab looks healthy, no pus or swelling so I don't think we'll have to worry about it getting infected. He still isn't enjoying physical therapy and every session ends with him trying to attack something, whether it be the baby wipes or his towel, or he tries to bolt. We aren't even upset when he runs because at least he's moving lol.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:18 pm


We have a pig with a wet bottom problem & she started losing clumps of fur. We got a cream from the vet & she's better now.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:17 pm


The reaction Sully is having (trying to bolt, etc.) may be due to pain. Does he show any clear signs of pain?
http://www.guinealynx.info/pain.html

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:24 am


Bookfan, I read somewhere that glucosamine on its own does not do the trick. Apparently, the combo with collagen works the best to help. It took a week in pigs, and a month in human to start feeling the difference. After taking it for a year, I felt about 80% better. My joints were so hot and swollen, that's completely gone. I cracked so hard at night, it used to wake hub up constantly.

I can add that I gave it to my hub, as he started to suffer as well. Him being reluctant to try it was wiped off the table when his mom had to have surgery on her shoulder. He too started to feel a difference after a month and after a year, it almost completely reversed itself. I suggested his mom to take it as well, and it prevented her other shoulder to have surgery, so it seems to work well for both of them too.

I have to add some curcumin for Binky. I also take curcumin for my MS muscle and joint problems with a noticeable result. Binky has been kept in small cages too long before he ended up with us, he had lower back pain, and it seems to have helped tremendously for it as well. I also give it to hub and he claims that the curcumin also has a fantastic effect on his muscles after he does some DIY or gardening, it makes him far less sore after, he says.

That, however, can have an effect on bile production, so there is a dosage for each individual that works well or makes you feel slightly ill and affect liver values in tests. So, I take the minimal dosage for all of us.

I buy all supplements on Amazon: decent prizes and great stuff.

fudgecakes

Post   » Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:59 pm


Lynx- He hasn't shown any signs of pain outside of trying to run away or biting us. We give him breaks during the physical therapy when he starts nibbling, biting, or fidgeting too much. Usually give him a minute or two with a treat before continuing. He had pain medication for the first week, but the animal hospital said we can't get a refill.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:37 pm


Metacam is also an anti-inflammatory. It might be worth asking, again, if you do see obvious signs of pain.

fudgecakes

Post   » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:08 pm


Sef- Yeah, if I notice his pain getting worse, I'll try calling them again to see if there's anything they can do. There's two vet offices in town that I know of, but my roommate's sure they don't specialize in exotic pets. Still going to give them a call at some point though because I'd like Sully to have a regular vet he can see. I moved here a year ago, so I haven't been able to get everything in place yet.

And another update on the little guy for those who are curious. He stood up on his own during physical therapy last night! We'd give him a break from the stretches and he'd lay down for a second before he was back on his feet. He even tried walking, but after taking a few steps, he decided he had enough for the day and taking a nap was ultimately more appealing.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:50 pm


Sounds like he is making a little bit of progress. Encouraging!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:26 pm


That is encouraging!

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:42 pm


That is good news!

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