Stepping on at guinea pig sounds like a nightmare, 1921kathryn! I am glad she wasn't seriously hurt, and that you didn't drop dead of a heart attack! The pig chattering her teeth is not a surprise, even though the thought makes me smile just a little bit; think of the shock she had, poor thing!
This morning Molly had not moved at all from last night, and there was a large pile of poops behind her. I tried to figure out which ones are the ceacals, but I find it impossible to see any difference - they all look the same to me. I put the whole pile in a place where she could reach them, but I don't know if she will eat any.
Molly was quite bright and munching away on her hay, so I had my own breakfast before I gave her some. And was she hungry! 20 syringes of critical care and just as much water was necessary to satisfy her! No wonder she produces large piles behind her!
I have taken photos of the x-rays, and they came out OK. But just to look at them makes my stomach cringe, as the damage to Molly's spine is so severe, and very visible. My poor little girl!
First of all, really glad to hear that Molly has a good appetite and that she is pooping. Both are really good news.
I've been looking at the x-rays and trying to remember how Dudley's spine looked in his. They actually look similar. The break is in about the same place. From the upper view I can see that the spine is a bit twisted just like Dudley's. The profile view shows that the spine dips down quite a bit, Dudley's did that as well but did not dip down quite as much (hope that makes sense, it is hard to describe it).
I would be especially careful moving Molly at all at this stage. The spine will heal over and fuse in time which is what you want (according to my vet) but limited movement is especially important. When you change her pads, try to get someone to help you put fresh ones in place. Pick Molly up with both hands, keeping her horizontal. With your left hand flat against her left side and your right hand flat against her right side, keeping her spine as straight as you can, as gently as you can. Hope that makes sense.
Does the vet recommend that you make the brace to keep her spine straight? It makes me a little nervous just because I would afraid of the spine shifting too much but I am not a vet.
Is she eating her regular veggies and pellets? Hope so. Mine tend to like a few baby greens when they are sick but I try not to give too many as don't want to give them diarreah. Keeping the poops coming is so important though.
I wish you the best of luck and if you would like to e-mail me or whatever, I'm here. Hope this is of some help. As I said I am not a vet but am passing on what worked for us when taking care of Dudley.
Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job and are a very loving mummy to Molly.
Healing kisses to Molly!
p.s Dudley did not move for many days. I am going out now but will check my diary for you to see just how long he was stationary.
I understand perfectly what you mean with the dip that the spine is making. It worries me a whole lot, but as long as there are reflexes in Molly's back legs not all the nerves can be damaged, and that means that it is possible, if not likely, that she can regain some mobility with time. I know it will depend much on me and what I do for her, so I will do my best.
I have talked to my vet again today, and I told her about how Pippi panicked when I put the harness on her, and that it probably is a bad idea to put it on Molly. I will try to make another one, though, but am really having a hard time, as making a device to keep the spine straight in a guinea pig is not an easy task, I tell you! The bottle shape of a piggy “figure” is a challenge to make anything stay on, especially along the back. In my imagination everything will slip upwards to someplace under the "arms" of the pig, so perhaps it is impossible to make anything that will work? If I manage to make something I will certainly try it on poor Pippi (she looks SO sad to be my "guinea pig"!), take pictures of her and post it here on GL for comments before I eventually try it on Molly. And I will of course consult my vet again before I do anything to my baby.
Molly seems a tad better today. It might just be me imagining, or coincidence, but I have found her twice with at least one leg tucked more up underneath her in stead of spread out behind her like the other mornings since the accident, and I have seen her resting today, too. Yesterday and the days before she just sat there and looked uncomfortable very much of the time. She has also been eating a whole lot more hay today, and was not interested in CC when I came home from work, and not tonight either. She took a few syringes of water, though, and ate all the romaine and bell peppers she was offered. Yesterday she barely took any, so I think this is a good sign. I just saw she had turned around, and was sniffing in the area where the poop pile use to be, so she might be getting her ceacals, after all. She moves around a bit, but mostly inside her little stool hut. I have covered it with a towel, and now I can see her resting with her nose just sticking out of it, as if she wants to keep an eye on what her human is up to. Bless her little whiskers!
I have not handled here since this morning, when I fed her a lot of CC and changed her bedding. She is on double fleece with towels underneath, and even when she has been laying still for many hours, and has peed in the same spot, it feels almost dry when I touch the fleece, so I don’t change it too much, perhaps every other day. I think it’s better she gets as much rest as possible, even if that means she can become a little bit dirty. By the way, when I have handled her I have carefully moved her to a shoe box with one side cut away, and then lifted her in the box, as suggested by tiggyswift. This way I have avoided almost all lifting, and I hope that has been gentle enough, even if I have not supported her spine specifically. It is so difficult to handle a pig in a way that is guaranteed not to put any strain on it’s spine!
Again I want to say that I highly appreciate the dedication so many of you have shown to help me take care of poor Molly. Some of you have even contacted me directly, and I am very grateful. Without you GL’ers this accident would have been even more of a nightmare than it is. You have given me hope and knowledge. I need both! Thanks again!
I had a boythat had cancer and it made him go lame in all four legs. He still wanted to be here and so I made him a special pillow to protect him and keep him comfortable when I couldn't be holding him.
I wanted to suggest that you go to a fabric store and buy a thick foam cushion like they make chair cushions out of. They are very thick and firm. Use the healthy guinea pig to help size it if you can. (if they are near the same size)
Cut a hole all the way through for her pees and poops to fall down through. The rest of the "holes" do not go all the way through the pillow. You have to cut little pieces out at a time to get it exactly the right depth and shape for her feet, legs and belly to gently rest in them. You will need to customize it of course specifically for your baby and her needs.
You will need to put cloth of some type as a cover so the foam itself doesn't irritate her skin and so you can wash them. You may need to make a "blanket" that velcros underneath to GENTLY keep her from rooching herself off the cushion while you are not looking.You will of course want the blanket to be quite loose over her area where the break is at.
The cushion I found was so firm and thick I could gently lift Simba while in it without it moving his back at all.
I will also check out the VetBed alternative, as suggested by GuineaPigFun. I have seen some in the nearest pet food store (sells no pets). I have read Tiny Tim's pages today, too - what a brave little pig! Makes me determined to give Molly a good life, even if she never walks again.
Thank you, lainier, for your description of Dudley’s physiotherapy. I will read it carefully over again in a few weeks, when Molly's spine has healed a bit more.
And now an update: The vet wanted the Prednisolon to be totally out of Molly’s system before changing to Metacam, so yesterday she had no pain reliever at all. (Vet had told me to keep an eye on her, and give her some Metacam if she was visibly in pain.)
She had not lost any weight, and she was not too interested in Critical Care, but she took some, and also a few syringes of water.
I bought a bag of Critterberries (Oxbow) at the vet, and they were an immediate success with the other three, but Molly wouldn't touch them. That had changed this morning! When offered one she sniffed it and tried to grab if from me at once, then munched it down in no time. Apparantly her appetite is even better than yesterday, and when she was taken back to her enclosure she just started to eat hay, and continued to do so during the day.
This afternoon she also drank water (about 50 ml) from the water bottle for the first time since the accident, and ate a leaf of romaine like there was no tomorrow. She also and some red bell pepper, then went back to the hay again.
So all in all I am a little bit optimistic. If a there is a pig that should be able to walk again after an injury like Molly’s, it is my girl! She has always been the most athletic of my gang; so different from her mother, the ”rag doll” pig Poppy. Molly has been like a little spring feather all her life. I hope that gives her even more chance to walk again.
Molly says Thank you! to all who have sent her well wishes, and a kiss back to lainier!
It is good your little one is rooching already. That sure seems like a strong will to get better and walk again to me!
Do you keep her on all fleece or does she have shavings under her bed? If she has shavings you can always put extra in her pen and use them to help her too.
I dug a hole for Simba's cushion that made him level with it for when he had to be in the pen but you could just cut a hole in her fabric (vet bed) and have it on top of her shavings and leave a hole in the shavings for pees and poops to fall into. She couldn't fall off anything because she would already be level.
I think I must be envisioning the hammock thing you are talking about all wrong. I am seeing an actual hammok like they make for rats (which of course would be very bad for your little one because her back would be strained.)
What exactly did you mean? Would there be a firm underside for her belly to give the spine firm support and holes for her legs also? Perhaps that would work so her back wouldn't be strained whasoever.
Here is a picture of her that was taken this morning; as you can see she is still her charming little self:
She is bright eyed and alert, but her eyes are a little bit crusty. Could that be “grooming fluid” build up because she can’t groom herself?
Molly has not lost any weight – quite the contrary; she has put ON about 40 g in a week! I have been a little bit worried that the weight gain could mean that she is not defecating enough, but upon inspection there seems to be enough pee and poo coming out of her. This was what I found yesterday morning, about 12 hours after she had got all her bedding changed:
The towels under the fleece were really wet. No reason to worry about that aspect, I guess!
Lainier, I have sent you a mail about posting of picture. I would love to see one of Dudley here!
Maremma, I have worked further on the hammock plans, or sling, as my vet called it when I discussed the subject with her. She gave me a go as long as the thing (I am not sure what to call it) keeps Molly's spine straight, and is stable. The idea is something like this:
First try, with Pippi as the model pig.
Second version (larger, and easier to hold):
Pig in space (almost!) Pippi chatted away most of the time, and was not afraid at all, so I think it will be easy for Molly to accept, too. Note the little bum washing opening – I figured out that was very needed, as poor Molly is not exactly clean, now that she can’t groom herself.
Before I can put Molly in the sling I need something to hang it on to keep it stable and my hands free. My husband has promised to look into that tomorrow, so hopefully we will be able to come up with a final solution then. The plan is to “hang” Molly up in the sling or whatever I should call it, and then exercise her back feet very carefully, without affecting the spine, as it will be straight all the time. I know this has been done successfully to horses with foot injuries, but I have now idea of it has been done to piggies before.
By the way: I plan to make the "thing" from fleece or a tight wowen cotton. The ones shown in the pictures are just templates, made from a thin plastic foam. When laying flat the last version looks like this:
A few more adjustments will be made before I finish the “prototype”!
Comments are very welcome!
It is nice to see Molly looking so bright. Well done on keeping her bowels moving so nicely. Dudley had crusty eyes and nose as well. I don't think that he could prop himself up on his back legs to properly wash his face. I just wiped them with a warm slightly damp kleenex.
I like the look of the hammock/sling you are working on. That will be wonderful when you come to exercising her legs. I also like the hole that you left at the back end, for cleaning purposes. You have really thought this all through.
I was thinking about the hammock and you mentioned that you needed to find a way to suspend it. I can't think of what you could hang it from but I think it would be good to have it connected to something stable like you said and to connect it from the top and the sides so she is not swinging too much when you manipulate her back legs.
Pippi makes a very fine looking model! Are Pippi and Molly from the same litter?
By the way, thanks for the detailed notes about posting a photo. Really appreciated and I hope to get my husband to help me out. Our computer is old and very slow at the moment so getting anything done is rather frustrating but hopefully we will get a pic of Dudley up soon.
My husband wanted to add the following: When exercising her legs using the bicycle motion, do it in a clockwise motion (like normal GP walking motion) when viewed from the side. One leg at a time as well. Good luck. Dudley sends a kiss back. - D&E
I take it you would have a cooler sling for the summer to avoid overheating?
Let me know if you'd like me to add your pics to this thread so they will be permanently available to other people who read it.
- Catie Cavy
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