I've got a video for you! There are a few comments below before you watch the video:
1. He is usually wrapped in a blanket when we do the trims, but we were so caught up in filming that we initially forgot to wrap him. He didn't appreciate it.
2. You'll see that his paws look a bit swollen. He's developed some bumblefoot in his front paws over the past several months, we're not sure why but think he may have gotten poked by his hay (he eat orchard grass hay). He gets epsom salt foot soaks to keep it under control.
3. You will notice that he has cheilitis. This tends to flare up when he is in need of a trim, and then improve right after the trims. We put coconut oil on it. Occasionally, we sparingly use neosporin depending on the way the lesions look. I've never had it tested for fungal or bacterial elements, but he's been prone to it since we had him as a baby. It would flare whenever he was stressed or not eating well.
4. Dr. Fisher was willing to teach me how to do the trims. I'm working up the courage to learn, I'm just so afraid I'll accidentally clip his lips. I did find a vet about 30-40 minutes away from where I will be living that appears to be comfortable with weekly guinea pig dental trims. That's a long drive for the piggo to do every week, so I'm really leaning towards trying to do them myself. Has anyone here had experience with that?
Some travel updates:
1. As many of you are aware, Sugar was adopted in California. He flew on board with me to Georgia, then back to California, and then to Michigan. Each time he flew, though, he had Peanut with him. This will be Sugar's first solo trip.
2. From what I know, Frontier is still the only airlines that allows guinea pigs on board. I am buying a ticket to fly out from Detroit to Orange county on September 1st. While the total flying time is only about 5 or 6 hours, the whole trip is about 12 hours when including layover time in Denver.
3. For the trip: We have Sugar's basic on-board carrier. I will line it with a pet bed, a puppy training pad, and then fleece (we'll try this method at home, to make sure he's comfortable with it). During the layover, I've bought a small puppy tent online that can pop up, so he's got a little bit more space and a change of environment. Once I receive the tent, we'll let him try it out so he's used to it.
4. In case he doesn't like the pee pads or the tent, I'll just take tons off extra bedding with me to switch out every few hours.
5. I will syringe feed him water throughout the trip, he tolerates this pretty well. He will have hay at all times with a small amount of fresh veggies. I'll give pellets, veggies, and hay during the layover.
6. We will go to my parent's house first, where I am having a small temporary cage set up. It's about 3 grids by 2 grids in size (his current cage is 6 grids by 2 grids). As soon as our house shipment arrives (should be within 2 weeks), we will move into the new house and set up his normal cage.
7. I'll give him a dose of meloxicam before we leave. We believe he has some arthritis in his hind legs, and the last thing I want is for him to be uncomfortable or in pain.
This kid is a fighter. But, he's getting older, so I worry about the stress this will cause him. I hope that whatever happens through this process of moving over the next few weeks, he remembers that he is loved and he remains comfortable.
It looks like a simple wire cutters is being used to trim the teeth. It is unfortunate that something is going on with the upper incisors. Perhaps an infection or injury? I expect you will continue to occasionally see them come out.
Ever since then, the teeth have grown in gnarly despite frequent trims, and his bite is not strong. Currently, his veggies are all sliced/shredded with a salad shooter. He has difficulty biting into anything thicker than that (about 2-3 mm) unless it's a softer piece of fruit. Lettuce gets torn into smaller pieces, and he uses his feet to help with tearing. He has no problems eating hay.
I believe the clippers actually are wire cutters!
- Supporter in 2019
At this point, we are in super comfort care mode, so I want to do whatever will keep him most comfortable and happy. I'm not sure how stressful it is for a guinea pig to drive an hour a week for a dental trim vs having it done at home?
- Supporter in 2019
- Sewing for a Cause
Tip - if leaving in the cage, squeeze some cucumber or other fresh food juice over them prior and let dry, for carrot I'd shred some a day ahead and let the emery boards sit in the shredded carrots. Pepper juice was another favorite of theirs, a garlic press works pretty well as a tiny juicer.
Also for clipping teeth & nails, the larger size human (toe) clippers work great when the nail isn't to thick to fit in between. When that happens, I cut the ones that fits and then get the regular animal nail clippers and use them for the thicker teeth.
Glad you enjoyed Ann Arbor! And found the best vets of that area. To bad I didn't know you were at UofM, we could of did lunch or something. I spend several weeks at Thanksgiving up there in the Motts section.
I did my first independent trim today. It was smooth and without complications, though I don't believe the piggo was happy with the end result. I think I was too conservative, and may consider trimming off a bit more tomorrow, depending on his mood.
About Ann Arbor, I miss it so much!! I miss our vet, the downtown area, the culture, the lifestyle, the medical campus....Sigh. Well, if you're ever in Southern California, I will be here! I'm sorry to know that you spent so much time in Mott. I hope your experience there was a positive one. It's so odd working in inpatient medicine, I hope to never see someone that I know, and I hope to never see my patients again (unless I run into them at the grocery store)!
So, we got him on abx and stronger pain meds, knowing that there wasn't much time left, and hoping that his last few days might be comfortable and surrounded in love.
Deepak and I had already been talking about putting him to sleep so that he would not suffer. We figured we'd give these meds a try and then go the euthanasia route if it wasn't giving him the quality of life that he deserved... it was a painful conversation. Anyway, while I was at work, Deepak called me to see if I could come home early, telling me that Sugar was getting worse, and that he was absolutely miserable. He kept wheeking, but didn't want any of the food or water offered to him... he only calmed when Deepak was nearby and touching him. Sugar passed before I could make it home. He didn't want us to make the hard decisions of putting him down, so he made it for us. He had been fighting his physical battles for so long, and saw me through all of mine..he moved on to the next phase of his soul's journey only after making sure I was settled. He was so very loved, and I'm sorry that he had to suffer in his last days, I never wanted that for him. In about a month, he would have been 8 years old. Our little Potato was the sweetest and gentlest of all our pigs, and gave us so much joy.
I'ts been almost 12 years as a pig mum... and I'm not sure where to go from here. I knew that we wouldn't get more guinea pigs after Sugar, the pain of losing them is so hard... but I'm also feeling a void of sorts. I want to donate my cage and fleece, but I can't bear to even pack it into a box, because seeing those items (they are in my living room) gives me such bittersweet feelings.