- For Rocky
The teeth were leveled up 2 weeks ago. Just goes to show how quickly their teeth can grow.
I hadn't thought about a jaw problem. The vets did say he seems to have some arthritis (not surprising given his age). One vet also thought maybe there was something wrong with the root of the tooth that was causing it to grow out cracked.
- You can quote me
In my experience -- this one.
We had a boar who chewed his bars incessantly. And I do mean incessantly. He was fairly mellow otherwise, so ??? but I do mean incessantly.
He developed the same problem on an upper incisor. No indication of an abscess but the vet said there was some infection present, so we were given Bactrim and metronidazole. The vet referred us to an exotics specialist here in town.
She extracted the tooth. I was in her office for four (4) hours. MacchuPiggu was under for one hour and forty-five minutes (1.75 hours). I was firmly convinced I would be taking home a dead pig.
He recovered, with Baytril and handfeeding. The root, however, is very very very difficult to get out completely, so after a while he had a thing sticking out of his mouth that looked a little like a sea anemone. We just clipped the 'fangs' ourselves at home.
He recovered well, maintained weight on his own pretty well, ate normally and passed quite a bit later of an unrelated tumor.
I would NOT NOT NOT have the tooth removed. Pain med is good; of course he needs to continue to eat, and watch for "shards" forming (such as the little piece at the bottom of his lower gum). You'll need to take those out/off if at all possible.
He may need regular dental trim-ups; the molars may or may not become seriously involved (MacchuPiggu's didn't require more than the occasional trim). The main thing is that he remain able to eat on his own.
- For Rocky
NOTE: This was on the advice of our vet and is NOT for the novice or inexperienced guinea pig person.
Lately, the tooth splinter either isn't growing overly long or it's breaking off on its own when it gets beyond the level of the other teeth.
But my old man is slowing down. He doesn't move much. He's impacted nearly every day. His belly is frequently wet from sitting in his urine. Yesterday he had poop infused boar glue stuck to his belly. He has several fatty lumps on his body and one on his front ankle is scabbed over. I've been cleaning that and putting silvadine cream on it. I've been bathing his butt and belly on a regular basis and he's been patient with that (especially if the blueberries keep coming).
Hermes is now my hospice pig. I've already decided to focus on his quality of life, try to keep him at home and comfortable as long as possible. The vet renewed his tramadol for pain and we're giving that as needed. I will not be taking him to the vet for more diagnostics or seeking curative treatment. And yet, he's eating, he moves around, he goes bonkers for blueberries and carrot. He doesn't seem miserable or in a lot of pain. I don't have that sense that "it's time". But do I wait until I get the sense? Do I wait until he stops eating and is miserable? When is it ok to let him go?
I know, these are the huge, ethical dilemmas we all eventually face. And the spouse and I just went through this with our 17 year-old cat. We did actually have a hospice vet involved and she helped manage the cat's pain. Eventually the cat was harder to feed and was wandering around the house, acting more distressed and restless and we had him euthanized.
But with Hermes I feel like there needs to be a different measure and I'm not quite sure what that is.
- You can quote me
Yes. You will know. You have enough experience with pigs (indeed, with all animals) to know.
"The vet renewed his tramadol for pain and we're giving that as needed. I will not be taking him to the vet for more diagnostics or seeking curative treatment. And yet, he's eating, he moves around, he goes bonkers for blueberries and carrot. He doesn't seem miserable or in a lot of pain."
You are in my opinion taking **exactly** the right approach. As long as he is comfortable (with your help) and shows interest in food and in you, it's not time yet.
In my opinion and experience only (and I am no student of animal psychology), they adapt to decline differently (better?) than we do. All they know is that they are still alive, things are still interesting, food still tastes good. I don't think they get frustrated over what they have lost like we do, or if they do, they forget about it and adapt to the "new now" reasonably quickly.
As long as he's in that place, keep taking such exemplary care of him and carry on. :-)
- For Rocky
Hermes has been doing really well lately, even without pain meds some days. He's been spending his free time rumbling at the other pigs. He's eating well. Life seems ok for him right now.
- For Rocky
After my last post he continued as I had described: not moving much, but still interested in food, still wanting to yell at his friends. After a while I stopped bathing his belly everyday because he seemed distressed by the bathing (and moving him around to rinse him probably put extra stress on his arthritic joints) and his skin wasn't irritated or inflamed. We changed his fleece more frequently, including changing the pad under his house twice a day.
But finally as August wore on he was moving less and showing less interest in the other pigs. Finally we knew it was time when he didn't much want carrots or blueberries anymore.
I had hoped that the hospice vet could come to the house so Hermes could stay in familiar and less-stressful surroundings until the end. But the hospice vet's schedule was packed. So we took our little man to Cornell and their exotics department. We told the resident we wanted to be with him and to hold him as he died. So she took him in the back to put a catheter in his foreleg vein to administer the drugs. But we also told her that if they couldn't get a catheter placed than to just bring him back to us and go through the jugular. We were fine with that, even if it's harder to watch. Instead, they kept Hermes "in the back" for almost an hour and had to try 2 legs before they finally got the catheter placed. I hate to think of Hermes without us, in some strange, cold, sterile place. Finally, after being in the vet hospital for 2 hours our little man was in my arms, the drugs were administered and he was gone.
I know it was the right decision and the right timing. I just hate how stressful the end was.
Hermes is survived by his cagemate Hercules, and neighbors Hamlet and Orville. They all miss the bossy, cranky, elder statespig, but are adapting to his absence.
Rest well good pig.