Blind, deaf, and toothless baby Einstein-piggy

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salana
GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:46 pm


I got a female pig, Suzi, as a companion to my neutered male, Doom; however, she was already pregnant and delivered two male piglets two weeks ago.

One of them, Einstein (white with red eyes, part Abyssinian and part crested) seems to be blind and deaf. He gets lost in the cage (a 2 by 4 grid cubes and coroplast cage) and wheeps pitifully for someone to find him, but doesn't respond to any of the other pigs unless they come within a couple inches of him. He doesn't react to things like bright lights or annoying cell-phones, and actually sat in my hand and kept burbling to himself when my phone rang practically in his ear. The other day I noticed he weighs less than his brother (6oz as opposed to 8oz), and then yesterday I looked in his mouth and saw no incisors. He eats, though, and will sit in the pellet bowl munching pellets until one of his parents pushes him out so they can eat. He hasn't eaten most vegetables that I've tried giving him, but I'm thinking he simply can't get them into his back teeth. He nurses like crazy and frequently chases his mother around to get a hold of her and have some drink.

He seems perfectly happy (except when he's lost, when he cries pitifully) and is as sweet as a bowl of sugar, and loves to be cuddled.

So, what do you guys think happened? Is this a genetic defect? Should I get him some special food as a supplement, maybe some baby vegetables? (Would they have any Vitamin C?) He's not in pain, he's just not thriving like his brother, who is perfectly healthy and cuter than possible.

I just moved to upstate NY and haven't found a guinea pig vet yet; does anyone have any suggestions for the Ithaca area, preferably ones I can get to without a car?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:55 pm


Some problems like this are genetic. You may have what is called a "lethal white". If you do a search on the term "lethal" you will find more information. It is a cross between two roan/dals. Sometimes one or more teeth may grow in. Weigh your pig regularly and handfeed if you feel there he is not getting enough nourishment.

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pigluvver

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:01 pm


Is his mum a roan or a dalmation pig?
I have an awful feeling you have what is known as a "lethal" pig which comes from breeding the wrong pig - dal to dal or roan to roan.

I have no experience with lethals, so until someone who does comes along, you could do a search for the word "Goobber". He was a lethal piggie and there's lots of information about how his owner helped him cope.

http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=828&highlight=goobber

There's one thread.
I am not in the US so can't help with vet recommendations either, but until someone comes along who can, here's a link that may help you find one.

http://www.aracnet.com/cgi-usr/seagull/vetfinder.cgi

In the meantime, he needs handfeeding - so this link may help.
http://www.guinealynx.info/emergencymedicalguide.html#handfeeding

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salana
GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:21 pm


Some pictures:
Suzi, when I first got her
Suzi and Einstein, a few hours after delivery
Suzi, Einstein, and Jackie, a few hours after delivery

So, no, she's not roan or dalmatian, which is why it so surprised me that Einstein has all these problems.

Thanks for the vetfinder link; I'll call a couple vets on Monday. Maybe they can help me work out a diet for him. He's enthusiastic and works very hard at eating, but I guess he just can't do it efficiently. I'll try a pellet mash and see if he wants to slurp it up on his own...I might have feeding syringes around here somewhere, I just haven't finished unpacking. I gave him some strips of fresh spinach and once he got those into his molars (which I assume he has, because he DOES eat) he ate them just fine.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:25 pm


The mom:
Image
Yes, I see what you mean. She does not appear to be a roan or dal. Perhaps KM can comment. I imagine genetic problems can occur with any litter but are more likely to happen with a roan/dal cross.

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swannie
For the love of pigs!

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:26 pm


Your pigs are bedded on Carefresh and hay, right? That's not cedar bedding, is it? Some browned bits of hay in the pics look vaguely cedar-ish, but I'm guessing they're not.

They are very cute pigs. Definitely try the pellet mash. Does he manage to get any hay down on his own?

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salana
GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:40 pm


Definitely not cedar. I'm dreadfully allergic to the stuff, and even to pine. Plus the Carefresh is better.

I put down a layer of newspaper, then the Carefresh, then give them hay (in the haybasket in their old cage--I don't have a basket here yet, so I just plop them down a haystack in a clear area). They eat what they like and scatter the brown bits all over the cage.

Einstein does eat hay, or at least he tries to, but I bet his daily hay consumption is about 3 pieces. He does better with long and skinny foods than anything else, and right now he's in my lap working very hard on a piece of hay that I poked into the back of his mouth for him.

I also made a pellet mush a few minutes ago, and held out a teaspoonful in front of him. He worked very hard and ate maybe 1/4 teaspoon, very daintily, and then looked like he was thirsty so I put him back in the cage. He's great with the water bottles, and like I said, can even eat pellets on his own (though slowly). And he's working very hard on this piece of hay, although it's kind of sad, since his mom and "dad" and brother are in the cage running through the haystack and stuffing themselves and popcorning like crazy pigs.

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Cara

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 5:25 pm


Just be careful about pking hay into his mouth. Sometimes sharp pieces of hay and actually break through the skin and cause an abcess. Try a syrgine to feed him. A 1 cc syrgine with the tip cut off. You can put into his mouth near his back teeth and I bet he'd have a much easier time eating. Ask your vet about Critical Care. I am currently feeding one of my pigs only Critical Care, hay and pellets. She is having a hard time with veggies causing too much gas in her G.I. tract. You can only get Critical Care through your vet. You mix with water and syringe it to them. Zipper loves it. Others of my herd have hated it. If he's hungry I bet he'll eat it and probably like it.

keepawayfromhershey

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:00 pm


Good luck with him. A piggy with problems takes a lot of time and patience.

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lisam

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:38 pm


I have an adult pig who has no incisors, and I cut up all her veggies and fruit. I roll and cut up lettuce and greens, too. Grass and hay have to be cut, too, so she can get them back to her molars.

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salana
GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:42 pm


I got some baby food to mix in, because he takes pellet mash quite well until he decides that it's "yucky", and perhaps some different flavors would help. Also, it has vitamin C (although I'm going to crush up some of my vit C tabs and dissolve it in the water before putting the pellets in).

If he doesn't take much of that, then I'll go to the mall and look for syringes. I looked for them at the grocery store, but they didn't have any. Also, I need to feed myself or I'll be in no condition to go anywhere.

Right now he's eating his poop, so his digestion is working; it just doesn't seem like it's running at high capacity.

One of the nice things about Einstein is that he doesn't complain about all my music, like his mother, or certain artists, like his stepfather does. He just sits there and tastes my cell phone and eats his poop. Well, I better go and start dinner for me and Einstein.

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Cara

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:45 pm


Drug store will have syringes. Just tell then what you need them for and they usually give them to you. At least my drug store does! If they charge it's minimal. If he's not able to eat much of course his digestion isn't running at high capacity! Look into Critical Care. Good luck!

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lisam

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:46 pm


One thing to watch for if using baby food--their poop tends to soften up quite a bit. I used to use it quite a bit, mixing it with Critical Care and giving it straight, but found that the poops were just too loose. The vet said that the more you feed stuff not in it's natural state, the more chances you have of messing up the digestive system. I realize you have a baby you are trying to get to eat, I just wanted you to be aware.

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pigluvver

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:46 pm


The syringes can be bought from a pharmacy/chemist - you need a childs oral medicine syringe.

Canned pumpkin and sugar free apple sauce are good additions to a pellet mash, both for fibre and taste. Some baby foods are ok, but others tend to have a lot of sugar and salt.

He is a real cutie, by the way.

kleenmama
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 7:01 pm


Hmmm. Well, perhaps Josephine or Paisley or E can help, but I would not completely rule out dalmation. I have seen dals that are pure white except for one or two large spots.

Granted, she is not a good example of a dal, and certainly may not be one.

Are Einsteins eyes very small in comparison with his brother and Mom? I can't even see them in the one family picture, and in the picture with Mom they look tiny.

It is not necessarily abnormal to have birth defects. It IS abnormal to have these KINDS of birth defects (small or no eyes, no teeth, and deaf) without being a lethal. The fact that he is pure white and, in my opinion, Mom can't be ruled out as a dal, is suspect.

Dals normally have black points. Feet, and head, but like I said, I have seen pure white dals before with just one large spot. Honestly, I can't remember if the feet were black or not.

Try cutting all veggies into really tiny chunks and put them into his mouth. Also, feel the gums with your finger and see if you can feel any teeth trying to erupt. If you are very brave, stick your finger in and see if you can feel molars.

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salana
GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 7:41 pm


For no particular reason, there are no pharmacies around here that I know of. There was one downtown (I live two blocks from downtown) but it closed. I'll hop on the bus and go uptown, where there's a pharmacy and a pet store.

Einstein seems to think all the baby food I got him smells yucky, and so does the pellet mash. I make it with fairly warm water, so do you think if I microwaved it, it would be more palatable to him?

Of course, I know nothing about the father, although it's not impossible he was Suzi's brother, considering how young she was when I got her, and that she had probably gotten pregnant before she got to the pet store (yes, I know, I shouldn't have gotten a pet store pig...and this is exactly why. But at least I'll take good care of Einstein and make sure Jackie goes to a good home.) One thing is that both babies have crests; Jackie has pretty good rosettes and Einstein looks generally fluffy and only really has butt rosettes and his crest. Now, I don't know at all how the genes controlling the rosettes and the crest interact; but Suzi has no crest at all, so I don't know if that rules out her having a brother who fathered these babies. Obviously if the father was her brother, and if she's a dalmatian, that would greatly increase the chances of the lethal white.

But would a dal x dal produce all lethal whites, 50% lethal whites, or 25% lethal whites? I think I'm getting this mixed up in my mind with a similar hamster gene I know about, which produces 25% anophthalmic babies in a white-belly x white-belly litter. But that's beside the point.

Does the other baby, Jackie, look at all like a product of a dal x dal litter? Of course, all these pigs are hopeless mutts, so who knows. Jackie has white feet in front and tan in back.

There is some possibility that Suzi is related to Doom (that hansome pig in my icon) who, as you may or may not be able to see, has a brown (possibly golden agouti??) head and rear and a roan-ish stripe along his side. His sister looked much like Suzi, but with a tan patch much like the one on Jackie. Of course, Doom had nothing to do with these babies, but if they're related to him, his coloring might prove the possibility of some gene or other...

I dunno, anyway, and I have to go catch the bus. I'll upload some more pictures later.

kleenmama
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 8:10 pm


The math is the same for pigs as hamsters. For each dal x dal breeding, the odds are 25% lethals, 25% selfs, and 50 % dals, I think. I know with dal to self breedings, there is 25% dal and 75% self.

Doom absolutely has the roan gene, or course. Roan x dal can produce lethals also, so if any of these pigs are related, there ya go.

How great a possibility is it that Suzi and Doom are related? Are you getting these pigs from the same source?

And no, Jackie does not look like a product of a dal x dal breeding. When I was breeding dals, I never had a broken out of any litter. But then, I was always using my best self blacks or chocolates with my best marked dals, also. No brokens anywhere in the lines.

It is a mystery. To be honest, if not for the baby, I would guess Suzi to be a broken black/white abby.

As for the crests, that is very common in mis-rosetted abbys. I would guess the dad was either an Abby or an American.

As silly as this sounds, check the tummies of Suzi and Jackie. And also right under the chins, on their little chests, between their front legs. I have often found these are the best places to look for hidden roaning.

OH, and if you haven't yet, get some critical care. Here is the website for Oxbow, they make this stuff and it is great to have for handfeeding. It has everything in there in the right amounts for the pigs, even babies.
www.oxbowhay.com

You'll most likley need a vet name and number to order it, they asked for my vets name and number when I ordered by phone. They want to send a copy of the purchase to your vet. They don't just sell it over the internet, because they don't want you to be forcefeeding an animal that may have something else, like bloat.

User avatar
salana
GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 10:56 pm


I got Doom and Suzi from the same pet store, two years apart. Doom's sister looked a hell of a lot like Suzi, though. However, I don't know how the store operates...whether they get their guinea pigs from frantic owners who bring back their babies (already pregnant) or what... These are obviously not show-quality pigs. (At one time they had a guinea pig rescue with the pigs in their back room, but I don't think they do that anymore.)

I really don't know whether they're related, but I could believe that Doom's father got around. Doom would be the 1 roan in a litter of 4 you would expect: he had a brother who was Golden Agouti all over (just like the mother), a brother who was white with a wide tan stripe all around his body, and a sister who looked just like Suzi with a tan patch. So I would think if his father had other litters, Suzi could have come from one. Or from one of their litters. It's possible and may even be about 20% probable.

I looked all over her, though, and I didn't see anything that looked like roaning. The skin on her belly is gray, rather than pink as I expected, but I don't know if that makes a difference. Jackie has some white on the toes of his left rear foot that sort of mixes with the tan, and under his mouth there's some tan in the tiny white patch right below his lip. But I don't know if that's roaning or just not having very clean edges between patches.

Anyway, I got Einstein some syringes, and managed to get some pellet mash into him. It kept bunching up in the syringe, though, and dribbling brown water all over him, and once it squirted too much food right into his mouth (but most of it fell out). I don't know how much I got into him, maybe 3-4 mL. I got about 2 mL into him earlier today, and I know he eats some pellets on his own. I'll feed him again before I go to bed. It's kind of upsetting to him, but he does great if I can only get the syringe into his mouth and actually dispensing food.

Jackie and Einstein together and Jackie and Einstein together again. Pictures taken today. Einstein's eyes are a little smaller (in the second one, Jackie is leaning forward and glaring at the camera, so his eyes appear larger) and when he was a newborn, it seemed like he was squinting all the time.

When I find a vet on Monday I'll have him/her help me order the Critical Care. My pigs' usual vet is back in North Carolina and she's never seen the babies (they were a week old when I left). I called her today and she basically told me to find a vet up here.

User avatar
lisam

Post   » Sat Aug 16, 2003 11:40 pm


What size are your syringes? You need to cut off the ends, so that the stuff can get through.

User avatar
salana
GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sun Aug 17, 2003 12:32 am


They're huge. They're like half an inch across. That's all I could get because every drugstore in Ithaca seems to be going out of business. So I got them from the pet store, and cut the tips back as far as I could and still get them in his mouth.

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