Wednesday was check up time for Molly again, and to my surprise her reflexes were much stronger than before - it almost looked like she was kicking when the vet checked them! But if that means Molly will be able to walk again I don't know, as her spine is still curved, and the vet doubt it will straighten itself very much. But hopefully she will be able to waddle about with time.
Molly scared me a bit today, though. I came to give the pigs some grass when I saw her little legs kicking in the air. The upper part of her body was inside her step stool house, and for a second I was afraid something terrible had happened, but it turned out she had managed to fall on her side, or almost on her back, and couldn't manage to turn herself on her belly again. When I turned her the right way she looked very offended about the incident. I had to smile at her!
I have good news today - your encouragement helps, Jane! For the first time this year everybody was out on the lawn for an hour; of course closely supervised in an enclosure that was partly covered with a large piece of cloth for shade and protection. And everybody behaved themselves most of the time, just chattering their teeth a little bit. Much better than expected. After eating grass for a while they sat closely together, and Molly tucked her back legs under her! When she moves about they are sticking out behind her as before, but when she rested in the grass she sat on them. That makes me really optimistic at the moment! I know she won't be able to run, but I think it is possible she will walk or wobble or whatever to call it. She has a strong will, for sure!
Our Scottie (black American male, 1 1/2 years old) suffered a similar fate 2 days ago. He squirmed out of my 9 year old daughters hands and possibly landed on his back. He's been since dragging his hind legs, but shows some ability to move his legs. We have him confined in a smaller cage, he is eating, drinking, pooping fine. We took him to a vet and have been giving him Metacam. The vet was not an expert in exotics or guinea pigs, and I did not have an x-ray taken as I wasn't sure what value the x-ray would bring if it doesn't change the immediate treatment options. I'm now trying to research additional information online, and I expect that I will go back to an exotic vet by the end of this week and have an x-ray taken.
Poppypiggy - I'd love to correspond further with you as you seem to have had the most relevant experience. I am hoping that Molly has improved further.
I welcome all advice.
Did the vet give you any Pred? I believe that helped Molly in the first few days, as it has anti-swelling and anti-inflammatory properties ( http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21192 . Later she got Metacam.
I hope Scottie will recover more and faster than Molly has done. As far as I can see Molly has not improved very much since the last update, but I handle her every day, so there might have been a little difference without me noticing. At least she moves around quite a bit and seems to be content with life, but she drags her legs like she did 3 weeks ago. There is a little bit more "resistance" in her left leg when I do the "physio", though, so things seem to be going ..., well, somewhere, if not in the right direction. I doubt she will walk again, but I think that is because a vertebrae is more damaged than seen on the x-ray.
I have tried to do water therapy with her, but that has not worked out; she doesn't like to be in the water and she refuses to swim. Next step will be the Roxy Roller, but I have not been able to find all the materials yet. I am working on it, though.
You are very welcome to contact me through the mailer, and I will try to answer all your questions if I can.
The vet only prescribed Metacam, which I'm told is a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It's now been 2 days, so I'm not sure that a change in medication would help at this point.
I'll likely take Scottie to an Exotics specialist tomorrow. They charge $65 for the visit which is OK, but $169 for the X-ray. While this is "nice to know" information, I'm not sure how it will help the treatment decision. I'm hoping that the doctor will be able to feel the shape of the spine.
This whole experience has been very heart breaking for all of us. I really appreciated seeing all of the Molly postings, it gives us hope that Scottie will survive this.
$169 sounds like a lot for the x-rays, and I am not sure if those really made any difference for Molly. The best information the vet got was from pinching Molly's toes, and finding that there was a reaction. After that it has mostly been a matter of exercising the legs carefully.
I hope everything goes well at the vet tomorrow. Scottie is fortunate to be in your care!
One concern is that he hasn't been drinking water from the bottle. We have been feeding him wet lettuce and celery, perhaps he's getting enough water from that and doesn't want any more. He does seem to be pooing and urinating.
I may start a new topic to hopefully get any new input from others who have had similar experiences.
I hope Scottie is healing - the "walking movement" of his feet sounds promising.
Molly has not made much of a progress since last update. She still has this feisty look on her face, and seems content and in good spirit. But when you look at her feet, she is a pathetic sight. I have made a roller for her, but she refuse to use it. Even when I tempt her with a piece of carrot she refuses move:
And honestly I doubt the roller will make much of a difference, since Molly’s spine is so curved, and she holds her feet out to one side, as you can se from this second picture taken from behind
At the moment I am planning to make a little chart that can hold her spine more straight, and the legs, especially the left one, stretched out in a more natural position. My husband has promised to help me with this, but I am not sure if it is possible to make a device that will work properly. But if we do, I will definitely let you know!
My largest concern, though, is that when I have Molly out for floor time or on the lawn for grassing with the other girls, they are attacking her and bite her in the back. At first I just thought it was some kind of argument, but then I found wounds on Molly. So she is still in a separate enclosure, and only ”play” with the others under close supervision.
I had to seperate my Darty and Lovebug (sisters) because Darty rejected her. I came to realize it was because Lovebug has a really bad heart and when I first took them in Lovebug had hooting incidents. (It took a little bit to firgure out it was her)
As heartbreaking as it is it seems common in communal animals. They fear catching whatever the "ill" pig has or having predators get them because there is an injured one amoung them and try to chase away the unwell one:(
Lovebug would pathetically beg Darty to accept her. She would literally throw herself under Darty's chin and make the most pathetic noise. Dart would then proceed to either run from her or bite her:( It was hopeless. Darty only got meaner the more Lovebug tried to beg "forgiveness"
Lovebug did not do well at all. She became severely depressed and would stare into the other girls pen and cry:( I had to share the third sister between them until I adopted a neutered male to live with Lovebug.
I truely am so sorry your poor baby has had this added suffering:( Lots of extra love from mommy is in order.
Did the vet say that her spine fused the way she is sitting? If it did trying to make her sit straighter will cause severe pain and may rebreak her back:(
Thank you for your good thoughts for JamesDean and me. He is such a sweet little angel.
Lynx, she moves around easily without the roller, but she keeps her body curved all the time, and her left leg folded under her, whereas the right one is stretched out to the side. But even if the left leg is kept under her most of the time, it is this leg that is the strongest, and also the most flexible. So if Molly should be able to walk, more or less, I think it is the left leg that I need to help her strengthen.
Maremma, I am so sorry for what your poor Lovebug had to go through. What at heart breaking story! But I am glad it worked out when you adopted a boyfriend for her - I am thinking of doing the same for Molly in a while.
Regarding Molly's spine, there has not been taken another x-ray, but I suppose it is the way it has fused that cause her to sit as she does. So I will of course be very careful with the device - if I manage to make one. The purpose will be to keep the spine more straight when she exercise the left leg, so the movement will be more natural, and that way it hopefully will become stronger. I don't know if this makes any sense to others, but I remember when a close friend had a spinal chord injury after an accident, and had to exercise his legs a lot to be able to walk again. And a very important part of that training was to keep the legs in the right position while moving them. I am thinking that Molly has to do the same, in a way. But to make sure, I will discuss it with my vet before I do anything that could harm her.
Molly was out on the lawn in a covered enclosure with the other girls today, and I sat there with them the whole time while they stuffed their little faces with the fresh grass. And for some reason there was no quarreling - and absolutely no biting. I guess everybody were too busy eating, and none had time for nonsense!
Cocoa was an EXTREMELY docile male and that is why things worked so well with him and Lovebug. With her heart being so bad and she gets so out of breath very easily I couldn't have a hyper or dominating pig in with her.
Even though he was neutered and super docile otherwise still when she went into heat he would get after her. I suspect any male would do the same which in Molly's case could be really bad. We sure don't want anyone jumping on her back!
I was constantly on guard for their behavior to change and then I would have to put seperator grids in their pen till Lovebugs heat was over she wouldn't have a heart attack from being chased.
We lost Cocoa this year and poor Lovebug once again became severely depressed. I split her pen and put JamesDean (before we knew he had cancer) in the other half and she rapidly changed and even began popcorning again.
I have once again moved things around so that she has Katie and Fasa on the other sides of her also for fear losing JamesDean right after losing Cocoa would be more than she can handle.
Perhaps you could somehow put other pigs around Molly without them actually being in her pen with her to keep her safe but also have buddies. It is working well for Lovebug.