I tried him again with Critical Care, turns out he loves it! He just doesn't want his head held, but he doesn't need it, because he will take the syringe by choice. He dropped a lot (all over my leg) last night, and I just scooped it up on my fingers. He ate it off my fingers! With the gentlest touch of his teeth. It was soooooo wonderful.
Today I have fed him twice, in his bowl, and will feed him again soon. I will talk to my vets about changing the calcium. I was giving him metacam. Is that for pain? I thought it was for inflammation.
I don't think the lamp has much to do with it, because all the other pigs are huge, but it can't hurt to give them some sunlight. I can get many different daylight spectrum bulbs at work, but a friend of mine said that wasn't the same as a sun lamp, so I'd like to know what you're using.
Thanks for all the info and support.
Metacam is for pain and inflammation, just like aspirin or ibuprofen for humans. It does both.
Getting full spectrum light could very well be a major element of recovery for these guys. Look for a twisted-type bulb with these specifications--UV 290-320 nm full spectrum fluorescent bult. Don't forget to replace it every 6-12 months. The bulb will fit into any lamp that takes a standard bulb. I have a clamp-on lamp that I suspend above their feeding area. I turn it on while they eat and turn it off when they've moved.
Elvis says his boy needs to get better. Keep us updated.
So far, what he likes best is his morning banana with his meds mashed in, and Critical Care. I have tried mixing Earth's Best baby foods with the CC, because the vitamin C is 45% and there are no additives, but one day great, next day no interest.
- Knee Deep
Becky, are those bulbs available in most places that sell light bulbs? I think one would probably be a good idea in my pig room that only has one window and hardly any daylight now that winter is coming. I've got quite a few satins, 2 teddies and 4 texels that I need to watch out for, plus the "average" pigs could surely benifit.
I got it at Pet Food Express, a local pet store here in the Bay Area. They ain't cheap--around $20--and have to be replaced about once a year.
I have to say, I have a feeling it's been good for all my pigs. Nothing else has changed, but all five are slowly gaining some weight. I know that's junk science, but I suspect there might be a connection. At any rate, it can't hurt them.
Laurie, I'd really be worried about Fluffy's teeth and whether or not he's in pain. What's the dosage on his pain meds? By breakage, I meant a fracture. (Don't know why I couldn't think of the word.)
There's got to be a reason he's not eating. Elvis has never had any problem, even before being treated when he most likely was in pain.
Did you talk to your vet about changing to calcium lactate? Maybe get an x-ray of his head to check out his teeth/roots?
I'd love to see a picture, too.
Sorry I haven't updated lately. Fluffy's ability to eat had decreased to the point of exasperation, although it was obvious that he was hungry, so I did some thinking. He likes carrot baby food, Earth's Best, but it's messy to syringe, so.... why not give him cooked carrots? I did, and he went nuts!
He likes Kale. I bought some organic Red Kale and gave him a leaf tonight and he loves it. He also likes Swiss Chard, so I bought some organic. Whenever he has a hard time biting off bits, I tear it up for him. Tonight I cooked beets, carrots (baby) and broccoli, let them cool, chopped them in the food processor til chunky, and gave him half, and he chowed down! then went back to the kale.
He still gets banana in the a.m., but I don't mix in the meds, in case he doesn't eat it all. He will take the syringe for his meds as long as I don't try to hold his head.
His vets and I talked about giving him Metacam twice a day, but he is so improved today, I will only give him a little bit tonight. I think he was bored with the Critical Care and the baby food, and was soon to be bored with banana.
In addition, my vet and Dr. Nakamura finally caught up with each other. Dr. N supposedly said that calcium gluconate and calcium lactate are equivalent in absorbability by the body.
I will send pictures. Tell me how. Also, I didn't know he had more than one sibling. I have the Cavy Spirit roster that showed mom, Francine, and Fluffy. His baby pic is adorable.
The molers can only be thoroughly checked out by a cavy savy vet. Dr Nakamura is awesome as he just trimmed my Millie's teeth this past Thursday. If you're vet doesn't/won't check his molers, preferably under sedation since his eating problem seems fairly severe from what you describe, please call Dr Nakamura as he CAN help you.
Problems tearing food and dropping food repeatedly are indications of teeth problems. There are other more qualified people on this board that can ellaborate.
I didn't realize it had been three weeks or more since I posted last. Fluffy was doing all right. He had actually gotten to the point where he could tear the leafy bits of kale and chard off the stems, and then I did a really dumb (in hindsight) thing.
I noticed his front teeth were really long, so I took him to the vet last Monday to have them clipped. Since it had to be done under anesthesia, I had follow-up xrays taken too. The xrays didn't show much change of any significance in his bones, but his jaw has grown! His front teeth were long because they had to be to meet! And I had them clipped! Now he's back to mush (Critical Care) until they grow back. And it is definitely his jaw, not his molars. The opening behind his front teeth is larger, but his molars are the same length as the previous xray.
So are we looking at Paget's disease now?
I finally read the story of Shiraz, and I am going to fax it to my vet so she can explain it to me. I was once a medical assistant, but it was over my head. I was startled to realize Shiraz died in 2002.
One thing about Fluffy that makes me sad is he no longer lies down. He just hunches on all fours and looks miserable.
- ...what, what, what?
I took them at the vet's office, where they had the viewer as it gives uniform background light.
If you have the special scanner attachments, that would probably work, but otherwise you need to rig it up with a very bright light above it and hope (in my experience).
- Knee Deep
He looks so much like Lilly did, the crazy partial peruvian frontal and all. So handsome. Thank you much for the pictures. Their mom was beautiful, wasn't she?
I'm also surprised that there isn't an improvement in his bones. It happened fairly quickly with Elvis.
So are we looking at Paget's disease now?
It really does sound like Pinta's pig, that's for sure. Couldn't tell you if it's Pagets for sure, though.
The side shot of Fluffy looks so much like Elvis. That impossible-to-manage hair that matts if you look at it crooked. Even the coloring is so similar--that greyish black and faded cream. I'm hoping you can get his issues under control.
Elvis actually began losing weight again. I've added a morning dose of calcium along with two doses every other day. It seems to be doing the trick, since he's once again gradually gaining weight back. I'll most likely take him in for another x-ray in January.
I also took pictures of Elvis' x-rays on the viewer, but I'm not very steady. They didn't turn out all that great. Adobe can scan x-rays (it wasn't working the day I was there), so I'll see if I can get scanned copies next time. You might ask your vet if they have an x-ray scanner.
Also, they always let me check out the x-rays. Never been a problem.
In fact my vet thought she would have a relatively normal live with calcium supplementation. It wasn't until the bone culture was done after she died that we realized what we had been up against.