Your baby is so patient being such a good little model! Bless her heart. Make sure you give her extra kisses and a special veggie snack reward for being such a sweety.
I am so glad to see so many poops from your litttle trooper! I would imagine she would gain weight if she is still eating the same as she was before since she isn't running around and active like she was before the accident.
It looks like the proto type will need more work for her head and back legs.
Simba had a small "U" shape cut out of his pillow so his head could go wherever he wanted. (That also made it easier to place his pellets, hay and water bottle all within reach bit still left me room to make him a pillow for his head)
It may be harder for you though because you will also need to make a pillow where she can rest her head when she wants to go to sleep or rest.
I'd well imagine she would get very upset and depressed right quick if her head were imobilized and all she could do was look forward all the time:(
Just exactly how far off the ground will she be? You may have to build something that will be level with her body to hold her things and pillow at the right height for her right in front of her.
The back legs in the picture look like they are sticking out to far?You don't want her legs pushed upwards at all but more like they would be if she were able to stand. The way the picture seems to have the back legs will cause pain and pressure in her hips. She will then hurt herself because she will wind up tensing the muscles in her back trying to relieve the pressure and pain. Perhaps of course it is just the way I am seeing the picture but just in case, I wanted to be sure you were aware.
Ha-ha, poor Pippi can’t understand why her human is behaving so strange lately, but she don’t complains, because she is bribed with little treats after the photo sessions. Her hope is to be discovered by one of those model scouts, and get a super model contract in Paris soon!
Lynx – I’ll be delighted to contribute the pictures to the thread permanently. Apart form getting valuable input, I post here in the hope that others can benefit from my experiences.
I have been thinking and trying today, and have solved most of the problems, but I don't think I am quite finished yet. One of my main concerns is to figure out how far apart the holes for the back legs should be, and how Molly will react when I put her in the sling, as she is definitely not as patient as Pippi. We have to be two the first time, just in case she panics, I guess.
As you point out, Maremma, we want Molly’s back legs to be in a comfortable position. I might not have made that clear before, but my intention here is to keep Molly in the sling for a very short time, at least in the beginning, My thought is just to be able to give her some physiotherapy as soon as possible, before her spine has grown. Later on I guess we can do that without the sling. Therefore I have not cut out a piece for the head, and it is not so important that she can rest very comfortably when in the sling. The most important thing is that her spine is kept straight, and that her legs are available for some careful manipulation and can move freely.
The solution I found for suspending the sling looks like this:
It is made of a stool turned up side down, with two cube panels secured to the legs with cable ties.
The sling it self (prototype – I'll use a breathable material later on) looks like this at the moment:
There are bamboo rods on each side, and the sling itself is as broad as the space between the stool legs, as seen on this picture (without Pippi – unfortunately I forgot to take a pic from this angle when she was in it).
Pippi being patient – front view:
Front view from a lower angle, where you can see all her legs:
And finally a side view showing how Pippi’s back legs are sticking out:
Tomorrow I think I will try how the sling fits Molly. She is slightly smaller than Pippi, and less than half as patient. Talking about Molly - she still seems to be doing all right, but today was perhaps not her best day. There were a lot fewer poops in her cage this morning, she was not as eager to eat as the days before, and her weight had gone down a little. But when I write this she is munching away, so I guess it was just something passing very quickly, or just one of those days.
Lainier - as far as I know Molly and Pippi are not related – Molly is the only one born in my care; Poppy was pregnant when I bought her in a pet store (before I found GuineaLynx, and before I knew that it’s possible to adopt piggies), and had one pup - Molly.
I have to go to bed now, as it is past midnight, but I will be back tomorrow to tell how it worked out with Molly in the sling - if I don't get too scared to try!
Jane - Pippi is not pitying herself very much as long as she gets bribes. She is a happy, good tempered, chatty little piggie!
Lynx, do you think it is bad to let Molly's feet hang down when she is in the sling (for like 5 minutes in the beginning)? I was thinking that as long as her spine was kept stright, and her "torso" was sufficiently supported, it would be OK to let her legs stick out and down, and thus allowing me to manipulate the back legs carefully. Now I am a bit reluctant. Any comments?I trust her feet will be on solid ground so she will feel more comfortable.
Hope you are feeling better today, Lynx!
Molly in the sling:
I massaged her back feet and talked to her at the same time. She just looked at me and seemed relatively content:
I managed to wash her a bit, and to cut the dirty hair around her bum, so hopefully she feels better already. I am a bit worried about her feet, though, as the seem to be a bit swollen, as you can see here:
The right (black) foot seems to be more swollen than the left one:
(The stain on the washcloth under her is from her pee - she will get a new cloth tonight!)
The swollenness worries me a bit, but I guess it should be expected, as most of the time she keeps her back legs more or less stretched out behind her, and that limits the circulation in them, I suppose. Hopefully the gentle massaging and careful pedaling helps a bit. Has anybody any experience here?
I only had Molly in the sling for about 5 minutes today, because I don’t want to over do it the first time. My plan is to put her in there at least once a day, perhaps more. Today there was no “resistance” (for a better word) in any of her legs, but there still might have been “something” in the left leg, though. I am really curious about how long it will take before I can feel any difference.
Another question: I have been giving Molly Metacam since Wednesday, and have 3 doses left. Would that be long enough? Should I ask the vet for more at once, or wait and see how she reacts when she is taken off the medicine?
You have done a really great job at creating the sling. What good girls Molly and Pippi are!
With regards to Molly's swollen legs: Dudley had swollen back feet as well. His left back leg was significantly more swollen than his left. He also had less movement in his left leg. The swelling lasted for a few months, actually until he was mobile again.
Dudley was on meloxicam for about 3 months, so I would say that you need to get some more from your vet for Molly. For the first couple of months he was on about 3-4 drops a day. I started to taper his dose down. So for a a week or so he was on 3 drops, then for week or so he was on 2 drops and so on. I think the meloxicam really helped with his recovery and think Molly should be on something (as long as she is not having a bad reaction to it) for a while to keep the inflammation down. We had to disguise the medication in little pieces of celery leaves wrapped in baby greens. He really didn't enjoy the taste of it.
I would recommend going very slowly with the physiotherapy this early on.
We massaged Dudley's legs as well, in fact that is how I started out. I did this for about a week before doing any physio, I thought that it would keep the blood moving and keep sensation in his feet.
Keep up the good work.
As I have mentioned earlier I don't think my vet has much experience with this type of injury in pigs, so the more I find out on my own, the better. I will contact her on the Meloxicam. And I will massage Molly's cute little feet every day.
Indeed it seems to early to be doing physical therapy on her but the massages definately seem needed right away. Do her feet feel cold to the touch as well as being swollen? The poor little darling. It might be wise to use some warm (not hot) compresses against her feet and legs while you massage them several times a day to help get the blood flowing better for her.
Maybe it would also be a good idea to put the sling down so her feet are touching the ground and let her sit for longer periods of time so her legs aren't always sticking out behind her cutting off circulation?
Does she seem to be getting depressed that she is eating less? I know this may sound stupid but can you play a radio quietly for her when you can't be with her? For some reason my pigs enjoy listening to the oldies station and I have one that even acknowledges his name being sang and comes out looking for who is calling him. LOL (His name is James Dean) Maybe it will help cheer up your little one too?
I also have pigs that enjoy watching the TV. Can she see a TV from where she is at? Maybe you will be lucky and she will like watching TV then you can let her watch TV while she sits in her sling for a while. (with hay to munch on at the same time of course)
I well imagine her laying with her legs behind her can't be good for her for extended periods of time. Laying in any one position for extended periods of time seems worrisome really. I wish your vet knew more about this type of thing. As well with humans we need to be concerned with "bed sores" forming as well as her circulation problems, urine scald and infections.
If she were my girl I would be putting something under her while she is in her sling to be able to watch her pees carefully to look for any signs of infection. I know people use white towels but I found that if you can get them to pee into something clear or even directly on a tile floor, even a cup saucer in your little ones case) you can see thing a lot lot faster and easier than waiting for it to be severe enough to show on a towel.
You can ask the vet to give you a pippet that will let you suck up the pee and be able to see it very well or use a glass eye dropper if you have one.
Maremma - thank you for all the good ideas! When I am upset I don't seem to be able to have too many thoughts in my head at the same time, as I had not thought about the possibility of letting Molly be in the sling for a longer period of time. After reading your post I have been given it a thought, and I think it is a very good idea that I will try out tonight.
Molly is doing relatively well, but she has lost another few grams of weight, so I have to increase the amount of Critical Care I give her. Until now it has been enough to give her about 15 ml in the morning – mostly to spoil her, as she loves it. From now on she will get another meal or two of CC every day. You might be right that she is getting a bit depressed, or at least is feeling lonely, as she the last few days has been crawling up to the divider to be as close as possible to the others. Yesterday she sat on her side and munched away in her hay as long as one of the others sat in the hay bin on the other side. The hay bin has very low sides, so Molly always can see if one of the others are in there, and apparently it encourages her to eat when they are. I have not noticed that my pigs like music or TV, but the radio could be worth a try (TV is in another room downstairs).
Molly’s swollen white leg is of some concern. The black one is more back to normal, and limp. The white one on the other hand is swollen and stiff, but not cold at all – if anything it is the contrary. I have asked the vet about it, but she is not alarmed, and thinks it sounds normal. Per her advice I also pinched her legs to see if there are reflexes, and fortunately there are. I will bring Molly back for control on Monday, though.
I am also keeping and eye on Molly’s urine (tanks for the tip, maremma!) – I put a little tray under her when she is in the sling, as she pees most times. So far everything seems good in that department, fortunately.
My Lovebug just recently lost her beloved Cocoa. I was always scared for either one of them when the inevitable would happen as they were so strongly bonded. More so for Cocoa if Lovebug had passed first but still very afraid for her as well because I was aware of her history of severe depression from being seperated from her sisters when I first adopted them. (Darty rejected her and it was agressive biting not normal girl bickering. It was not safe to let them together)
I am very aware of how badly the depression from seperation can affect a guinea pig. Lovebug actually did this heartbreaking begging thing and would throw herself down and flatten herself on the floor under Darty's chin whimpering trying to make Dart accept her again when they were out for floor time together.
When Darty wouldn't, Lovebug stopped eating, kept crying and staring into the other girls pen. I had to "share" the neutral sister between them until I found Cocoa to adopt for Lovebug. Poor Sweetpea lived 12 hours with one sister then 12 with the other.
When we were losing Cocoa I knew Lovebug knew what was happening with Cocoa as she was extremely gentle with him and would lay outside his bed talking softly to him a lot. When he passed she shocked and confused me because she didn't seem to react at all. BUT it sank in for her pretty quickly and she became severely depressed about a week later.
It broke my heart again.This poor girl has suffered a lot of loss and rejection as well as having a bad heart at a young age (which is why I think she was suddenly rejected by Darty. She had fluid that made her "hoot" periodically, probably making Darty afraid of her) and having bladder sludge problems too.
I put a devider in her pen and put the other male that has always worshipped her from afar in the other half of her pen (he is not neutered so cannot live WITH her) At first she reacted with fear and confusion but JamesDean being the wonderful sweetheart he is quickly made her feel safe.
He went and laid down tight against the bars instead of standing wagging his behind rumbling at her to scare her like the other pigs do to her. He made these soft little noises at her and she slowly came over to him and they sniffed noses.
She has not only perked back up and began eating well again she has been popcorning again! They both lay against the pen bars in their respective binkies and talk to each other munching hay between touching each others noses. It has been a very good move for both of them.
Is there a way you can make it so she can see and touch noses the full length of the pen? I know it may sound mean to the other pigs but perhaps you could put a devider in their pen that would limit how far away from her they can wonder and let the other take "shifts with keeping her company?
For example Lovebugs pen is a 2x4 pen and I put the devider in the middle so now both are each in a 2x2 pen. Granted they are older pigs both with heart conditions and not nearly as active as younger pigs so have no problem with the new arrangement but yours can take turns. (Plus I put each out for floor time every day, which neither really cares for, for more than 20 minutes then both beg to go back in their own homes)
I also have both their box beds facing the other so they can still see each other even when one wants to get in their box instead of the binkies.