9yo sow with trouble walking


Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:40 pm

Hi all -- I am a new member and need advice. I apologize in advance if the question is too vague.

I have a 9.5+ year old sow (American) who over the past couple of weeks has had serious problems walking. The problem appears to be in the rear left foot but the right one is not better resulting in her having to really struggle to move around and kind of dragging herself around. It started at first at her favoring one leg over the other but now it's gotten to the point where she seldom moves unless she has to. She has bouts of this over the past 6 months but they used to go away after a couple of days. This time it's not appearing to be going away.

She is still eating and drinking (although with much less gusto than before) and enjoys sitting on the couch with me watching tv and getting petted. Her poop is soft but she is able to manage that and seems to be urinating ok.

I am doing my best to keep her comfortable as best I can but I would like some advice on what I should do next. I am really hesitating taking her to a vet because of her advanced age and I don't think I want to put her through anesthesia and prodding but I am open to all advice.

I love her dearly -- she's been the only constant in my life the past nine+ years -- and just want her to be comfortable. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


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Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:45 pm

It could be arthritis due to age. We can't really say. It's the normal course to get an x-ray. A good vet can do it without anesthesia.

I'm assuming she is getting enough vitamin C. So she is just a short hair? Is she a Satin?

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:48 pm

Well, a vet can actually do a lot for her well-being without using anesthesia.

X-rays are not terribly difficult. Bloodwork isn't either. She may have arthritis which would benefit from an anti-inflammatory such as meloxicam. If she has a fracture or bone tumor, anti-inflammatories are also in her future.

What kind of diet does she have? Improving upon that may also help (I'm assuming she's eating a timothy-based pellet, free fed grass hay, and fed appropriate leafy veggies daily).


Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:11 pm

Sounds like I shouldn't worry too much about taking her to a vet. I'll call tomorrow morning to schedule.

She's on a pretty standard diet. Standard pellet fare, timothy hay, fresh vegetables daily and added vitamins in her water so I think vitamin C should be fine as well.

Thanks for the quick advice!

P.S. She is of the short hair variety. :)

Picture taken of her today lounging.. (normally use CareFresh but ran out earlier in the week and now I am trapped indoors by the snow.)


Thanks again,


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Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:29 pm

Wow, she's really nine and a half? Impressive. I hope she feels better soon.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:31 pm

If she's 9 1/2 then congratulations on giving her such a wonderful life!

I hope you find it's something as simple as arthritis. I have several arthritic pigs here who do very well on a low daily dose of Metacam.

Let us know what you find out during the vet visit.

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Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:40 pm

We generally advise people not to put vitamins in the water and if they give supplements to only give vitamin C. And to provide a high quality pellet.

No idea if diet is a contributing factor. You might want to look over www.guinealynx.info/diet.html

But you sure are doing a lot right if she's 9 1/2!


Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:41 pm

I'll have had her for 9 years and 4 months in about week and she was a couple of months old when I got her, so yeah, she's really that old. :) I've been very fortunate.

I'll send a follow-up after the vet visit.

Thanks for the well-wishes everyone!


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Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:48 pm

Wow, that's one old pig. I hope mine can live as long.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:52 pm

All pellets are NOT standard. Please make sure it is timothy-hay based and read the GL Nutrition/Diet pages.

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:03 pm

Wow, that's one long life for a pig!

Is your vet experienced with guinea pigs?


Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:12 pm

I would suspect arthritis as well. My arthritis pigs are on Rimadyl and doing well.


Post   » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:28 pm

I think you are wise to not attempt any drastic diet changes at this point, especially with her feeling unwell currently.

If her current regimen has got her to age nine and half, well, at this point at least, I would not mess with success.

There are certainly differences in pellet quality, but I suspect her issues are most likely caused by something more serious, and age-related.

Bloodwork really does need to be done--Mum has her vet do a toenail overclip method to obtain the sample, much safer and less stressful for the pig than taking it from the jugular vein.

I have to wonder about her kidney function at this point--bloodwork will help you see where she stands with that, liver function, etc.

I also agree a full body Xray will help you rule out or confirm things like heart disease or arthritis.

Thanks for trying to keep the old lady comfy and with quality of life ;-)


Post   » Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:00 am


I give daily liquid vitamin C to my pigs and fosters with a 1cc syringe. Most of them LOVE it and will push one another out of the way to get to it. For an older pig, I believe .50cc would be recommended.


Post   » Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:14 am

Definitely update us on what the vet says. I hope it's nothing too serious.

Welcome to GL, by the way!

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Poop Obsessed

Post   » Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:52 am

Hi, Gpigdad, wow. That is amazing that you have such an elderly lady pig. Congratulations!

I see you live in Reston, Va. I am in northern Va as well and know of a number of good exotic vets. Here is a list of 3, in order of preference to abilities. The least favorite among most area rescuers is the one closest to you. Of course.

1. Valerie Campbell - Blue Ridge Veterinary in Purcellville.
2. Scott Stahl and David Crum - SEAVS in Vienna.
3. Eastern Exotics in Fairfax, Va.

I agree with everyone that taking her for an exam would be good for her.

You can quote me

Post   » Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:15 pm

Ditto Josephine. There is a lot they can do without sedation or extreme stress.

If it is not arthritis -- we had a senior senior (8+, best guess) who developed limited mobility in his back legs. At first, he didn't move much at all; then he began to hop and did quite well at it.

His spirits were always good. We worked hard to keep him clean and debated a Roxy Roller or similar, but by then he had adapted to it and could pretty much get where he wanted to go. He did fall over occasionally. While this was very difficult for us to see, either my husband or me righted him, and he was fine, like it never happened. He benefited from an NSAID, administered daily.

If her spirits, demeanor and behavior are good, this is manageable.

I Love Lucy

Post   » Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:36 pm

You should go over an read my latest update on the "Injectable Baytril dosage needed" thread. These are some of the same symptoms my pig is showing-- he's at the vet today for x-rays, etc. My vet suggested a few possibilities for what could be wrong, but x-rays are really required to diagnose any of them. Granted, your piggy is much older than mine, so it could be something completely different, but the symptoms sound strikingly similar. I'll be posting updates on my thread when I hear back from the vet about the x-rays, what he saw, and treatment options.

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3 Little Pigs

Post   » Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:55 pm

To add to Judi's post, Dr. Crum is great. He is very knowledgeable, and cares about animals. He even called me about my sick pig today. I hope your girl will feel better soon!


Post   » Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:40 pm

(Created second account because I was having a real hard time resetting my password.)

As per JudiL's suggestion I scheduled an appointment this morning with Blue Ridge Veterinary in Purcellville for 5:00pm. A little out of the way but my baby is worth it. Dr Campbell wasn't available so they assigned Dr Peterson. He seemed very competent and was a small animal expert.

He did the usual squeeze/check of the spines and legs and other areas and then proceeded to get an x-ray. Unfortunately it wasn't very good news. Apparently my girl has a tumor that has metastasized around her lower spine putting pressure on the spine which is what is causing the apparent lack of good movement in the back legs. :-( Removing something like that would obviously very invasive and he didn't think that would be the right thing at her age.

He injected her with some kind of steroid which was supposed to help with the swelling and inflammation around the spine and also gave me something similar in drop form that I am to give her 2 drops daily. The bottle reads "Dex Sod Phos per inj."

So not good news but I am hopeful. She is in great spirits and I think the steroid/anti-inflammatory is helping.

Here is a picture I took about 30 minutes ago when I brought her back from the vet. She doesn't look steady but at least she is using her rear legs! Sorry about the fuzzy quality.


I just checked right now as well and she is still there on all 4 legs munching away. :-) I figure I will do whatever it takes to make her comfortable for as much time I have left with her.

Thank you all for your advice and your well-wishes!


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