I was wondering how Molly is doing? I would not recommend keeping her in the sling other than when you are doing massage and physio or at least not for extended periods of time. It sounds as if she can move around a little bit and she should be able to do that when the need arises I think. Dudley lay in one spot for a couple of weeks and I changed his pads beneath him two or three times a day and once a night to make certain that he did not get urine scald. Occasionally he would drag himself off of the blankets and some mornings I would find that he had turned himself around to get his special droppings.
Did your vet give you more meloxicam?
Would love to hear how it's going,
I agree with Maremma, it is probably a really good idea for Molly to have as much contact with the others as possible, so she doesn't get too bored and depressed. At least so that she can hear them squeaking and eating etc.
Keep up the good work.
I am sorry I have not updated sooner, but it has been so busy. The good news is that Molly is doing sooo fine, considering the situation, I can hardly believe it!
I have had her in the sling at least twice every day, but never left her alone there, I can assure you, lainier. I have massaged her feet 10 – 15 minutes, sometimes more, in the morning and in the evening, and the swelling has gone down, thankfully. In the beginning I didn't feel it made any difference with the massaging, but after a while it certainly did.
Molly is bright eyed and active, she moves around a bit, and eats well. Just to be sure I weigh her every day, and feed her some critical care in the morning.
I have put the hay bin for the others up on the longest side of Molly’s enclosure, and there is almost always a pig there, so she gets much company, and eats accordingly. Pippi has been particularly good at cheering her up, and has been sticking her nose through the grids ever so often. Sometimes Molly comes to touch nose with her, at other times she is her angry little self and chatter her teeth at her, but Pippi is not offended.
Today I took Molly to the vet for a check up, and the vet was very pleased about the improvement. The reflexes in Molly’s left leg are very good, and when on the examination table she even put the leg under her a little bit. The reflexes in the right leg are not so good, but not worse than before, so they might still improve with time and exercise.T
The vet also palpated Molly’s back in the area of the fracture. Obviously that was still painful, as Molly started to shiver (but after a few minutes she was back to normal again), so I will continue to give her Metacam for some time still; I guess I have to go by my own gut feeling here.
In about a week we will start out very carefully with water therapy. Hopefully that will improve the recovery even more. Next check up at the vet is in another two weeks.
I will keep you posted!
I have to second the concern with putting her in water. I know out of all the pigs I have ever had to put in water (to bathe) none were thrilled.
I do have one that sat there as if he had no idea he was even in water. LOL Three others you could see by their facial expressions they were not amused but did not panic or try to get out but the rest it was VERY clear they were scared to death and desprate to escape.
I will take everything very easy, and give Molly a chance to get used to the water slowly. I intend to just let her sit in half an inch of luke warm water the first few times, and then increase the depth slowly if she seems to think it is OK to be there.
rshevin - I have also read Peter Gurney's description of how he gave a pig water therapy, and how that pig came to enjoy it. But of course, all pigs are different, and I will definitely not do anything to Molly that can harm her. If it doesn't work I will discontinue and find another way.
One possibility is to fasten wheels to the harness I already have made. But since Pippi was so scared from wearing the harness, I am afraid Molly will be too, and harming herself when trying to rid herself of it. It might be a matter of getting her used to wear it though; I just have to try carefully what works best.
Water therapy worries me. I took care of another guinea pig with a back injury about 12 years ago and I tried water therapy with him. He seemed to be making progress as far as helping the movement in his back legs but he somehow caught a chill or got water on his lungs and died as a result. I was extremely careful not to get his head in the water and I also dried him off very thoroughly so they are obviously very susceptible to chills and water on the lungs. I would stick with the harness and massage and gentle physio, it seems to be a safer route.
Really glad that the swelling has gone down in her leg, keep up the good work with the massage, it really does help doesn't it.
The last two days I have had her in the kitchen sink, with only about two inches of water, for about 5 - 10 minutes, and so far she has been relatively relaxed. I will continue to take it very easy, though, and take her out at once if she doesn't seem to like being in the water. I will also make sure she is absolutely dry before she goes back to her cage. Glad you reminded me of that, lainier!
I am a bit worried about Molly's back, or rather her pelvis, at the moment. Everything seems so asymmetrical on her now. She tucks up the left leg most of the time, and keeps it under her when resting, whereas the right leg is stretched out, and quite limp, so her back is curved to the right all the time. When I put her in the sling it is more straight, but she can't be there unless I am with her, of course. I am almost certain that this curving is caused by the inactivity, and her tendency to lay on one side, but I wonder if it will become permanent if I don't do anything to make her work with both legs soon.
I have carefully tried the harness on Molly today, too, but she obviously has a different figure than Pippi, as it don't fit very well on her. I might have to make a new one.
I do massage Molly at least twice a day, but I might have to increase that even more. I think it helps, but more for the left side than the right at the moment. In fact I am not sure if there has been any improvement in the right leg at all.
Have you tried putting some type of cushions in her pen to see if she will position herself in different ways with them? Perhaps they would help her be more comfortable and have something soft to lean against. She knows better than we do whether certain positions and movements hurt her or not.
She may be smart enough to know that if she lays on the other side she will not be able to get herself upright again and so avoids it? Cushions would help her be able to stay upright and be able to go again when she wanted to but yet let her get the pressure off of the other side. This providing it isn't pain preventing her from laying on the opposite side.
maremma - no, I must admit that I haven't tried our your idea with a cushion, but I had her with me when I watched TV, and had her in the sling for an extended period. I also did the cycling movement with her legs, and could feel how the muscles in her left thigh are much more developed than in her right one.
I also tried to hold her legs in the right sitting position under her for some time, and she sat there patiently. I am unsure if I am doing the right things for her or not. I wish I had someone that really knew piggy anatomy that could palpate her and tell me what to do. An experienced piggie physiotherapist would be perfect, but they don’t exist, I am afraid! Molly is still dragging her beck legs behind her, and I have not seen her use any of those legs so far, but I guess that doesn't mean she never will. I am still thinking about the water therapy also, but I am not sure that alone can solve the problem. Perhaps it is time to plan for a new Roxy Roller?
Molly is still on Metacam, so I don't think she has any pain now. Besides she doesn't shiver any more when I put her in the sling, but how can I be sure?
At the moment I am optimistic, but not quite sure if I am giving her the best possible care. I know she is enjoying life, though, even if she doesn't run around. And she loves all the attention she gets. Not to mention the envy from the other pigs!
I really try to do my best, but quite often I wish I was an experienced vet, trained physiotherapist, skilled engineer, good dentist etc. etc. - and a millionaire! - just to be able to take expert care of my pigs. ;-)
It makes sense that if she is more spunky she is most likely in a lot less pain so that is a huge plus. Does she react at all to your moving her back legs? I know when one of my pigs are in pain they react in some fashion to the painful area being touched or moved. Quite a few will bite at me (not usually bite me, bite air at me) Some of course squeak or try to move away from my hand in one fashion or the other. I can't imagine your baby wouldn't react at all to pain?
Tonight I tried to do the physio more or less like lainier described on page 3 by letting her lay on the lower part of my arm, with my hand under her belly to steady her, and "paddling" her legs carefully, one at the time. (I had my arm just above a fleece blanket on the table, for security reasons.) Molly was very patient and would lay there quite relaxed most of the time, but now and then she became restless and wanted a break, so I put her on the table for some cuddle time.
I also tried to hold her feet under her for a while, massaging her "hips" very carefully and gently lifting the right hip in the right position.
Then we continued with the physio again. During the hour and a half I worked on her like this she only shivered a little bit a few times, so I don't think it could have been very uncomfortable to her. She has not been the most patient of my pigs in the past, at least, so I doubt she would not tell me if she was in pain.