Hay Poke, probably not a serious problem but still...


Post   » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:54 pm

Okay, we just returned from the vet. The vet not only looked at her injured eye, but gave her a general exam, and examined her for lumps. Going Merry did not appreciate the attention, not even one little bit, but she got over it. Eventually.

The vet gave her an eye stain, to get a better idea of the extent of the injury. She said that there was significant inflammation, and will take longer than 5 days to heal. She also said that pain medication was not needed, as Going Merry was showing no signs of pain, although she did advise us to be alert for such, and if necessary she will give us Metacam. (We will also be monitoring going Merry's weight, which we will record daily.)

She prescribed Ciprofloxacin at least two or preferably three times a day. (We will have no trouble administering it three times a day.) The vet also warned us that it will look worse before it starts to look better. But right now it is looking pretty bad indeed, but that is because of the red eye stain she used to examine the eye. She also said that some pigs react badly to Ciprofloxicin insofar as it stings their eyes but the first administration seems to have gone well, with no ill effects on Going Merry. We can expect that to continue, I should think.

Saturday, i.e. the day before yesterday, we had made an appointment for another one of our pigs with this same vet, for this coming Sunday (i.e. six days from today), so that appointment will now be for two pigs, conveniently saving us a trip there. Although really at this time of year, going there is a reasonably pleasant walk.

Well that's a pretty full report and I do not think that there are any glaring omissions, except for the fact that someone came to the vet's office with a very friendly bulldog, and he greatly amused everyone with his antics and the wide array of entertaining sounds he made!

And of course the girlie and I and Going Merry want to thank everyone for their advice in this matter!

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Post   » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:32 pm

Good job Jazzbox!


Post   » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:38 pm

Awww, wuz nothin'. Besides, there were some people here who were kind enough to give me a few subtle hints.


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Supporter in '15

Post   » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:44 pm

Good news. I would still watch for signs of pain, which I'm sure you will! :) Amazing how bad these guys can hurt themselves with hay isn't it?

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Contributor in 2020

Post   » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:49 pm

Sending best wishes for a speedy recovery for Going Merry!

Those eye stains can make things look worse for a while. My vet used a green stain on my pink eyed pig and it looked terrible for days afterward.

Please be sure to update with her progress.

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Post   » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:03 pm

Ciprofloxacin as eye drops?

Hope it heals quickly!

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:47 am

Yeah, pretty common nowadays, Lynx. Actually my dad was put on them about 10 years ago when he had his lenses replaced. Actually, most vets are on to oofloxacin. The next generation. I suspect cipro is so dang cheap that some vets still use a lot of it.

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Supporter in '12

Post   » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:32 pm

Cipro is what I've been given as well for Barnaby.

That is good news that your piggy will be feeling better soon!


Post   » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:24 pm

Well thanks to all for the good wishes!

I would say that she is feeling better but honestly I don't think that she has felt any discomfort at all except for the moment when she actually got the hay poke. Her appetite is good, her weight was 1044g on Sunday night and is 1042g now (i.e. 50 hours after the injury occurred), essentially unchanged. No behavioral changes, no ominous signs or symptoms, nothing.

So everything is progressing as well as could possibly be hoped for!

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Supporter in '10

Post   » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:11 pm

I had a very similar experience today - it was my day off and I was going to give one of my piggies some lap time when I noticed something was "wrong" with one of her eyes. Sometimes they get a bit of hay stuck in it and "blink" it out, but this time it seemed more serious, with her normal ruby eye color almost turned purple, and a deep red where it's usually white.

So off to the vet we go, thankfully we got an appointment right away. They did an eye stain, flushed the eye, and retrieved a hay seed that was embedded deep in the corner of the eye and caused an ulcer. I was sent home with gentamicin sulfate eye drops to use twice daily.

I am glad they were able to retrieve the culprit, and while Mocha is very shaken, she seems much better already. She's happily munching with the rest of the herd. Moral of the story, don't delay, see a vet right away :)

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Supporter in '16

Post   » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:27 am

When Snick poked himself last year, we used two kinds of ointment, alternating. This time we too got ciprofloxacin drops. Dr. A said she hadn't given them to me before because she had been out, but she prefers them -- and so do I. They were so much easier to be sure I was applying correctly.

Hay pokes suck, and some pigs seem more prone to them than others. They look super-nasty about 12-24 hours after they work. But they seem to clear up really well.

FWIW, I asked Dr. Ahearn about the rule of thumb that one doesn't remove impalements, and she said "Yeah, except for eyes, ALWAYS pull stuff out of eyes immediately."

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Post   » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:01 pm

We brought Going Merry back to the vet today and her eye has healed completely over the past 5 days! The vet said the scar tissue inside her eye will continue to remodel but she doesn't need eyedrop anymore.

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Post   » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:13 am

She looks great! Would you like me to add this photo too?

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Remembering Nemo

Post   » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:34 am

Going Merry is beautiful!


Post   » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:27 am

Lynx, by all means add the picture!

Laura, hi! Thank you! I'll email Monday.

Incidentally, not only did Going Merry not lose weight due to loss of appetite and/or discomfort, she actually gained weight, going from 1044 grams to 1068 grams.

C Cole-Chakotay

Post   » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:59 am

Wonderful news. Going Merry is a pretty girl.


Post   » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:51 pm

There is one question which I have about the ciprofloxacin. Does it actually speed recovery? I was under the impression that it was simply to prevent infection.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:44 am

No, it does not speed recovery, but it is imperative to protect the eye.

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Post   » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:15 am

Going Merry is about 5 years old by now (My roommate calculated her age wrong in the opening post), she has always been timid but is also very gentle and sweet. Around 3am tonight I picked her up to clipped her nails. I was letting her lay vertically against my tummy while I clipped the nails on her hind legs with her head thrown backward. When I moved on to her front paws she was struggling so hard I let her down on all four in my lap, that's when she started making a choking sound. She appeared to have trouble breathing and seemed to be in agony.

And then her body became totally limp and seemed to have wet herself. I laid her down and, not knowing what else to do, tried massaging her ribs in case her heart was stopping. Still laying on her side and entirely limp, she exhibited what I believe is called agonal breathing, with occasional choking. It was terrible not being able to help her with no vet available at this hour.

I would have liked to hold her in case she was passing away, but I felt that she would feel less stressed with minimal human contact. After she was moved into the bathtub where it's darker and cooler, she gradually recovered herself and was able to right herself and stand on all four! She perched there all puffed up for a while, just now she started eating some lettuce. I am so thankful she didn't die when she was going through the agonal breathing!

I am taking her to the vet in the morning but I am worried that the stress of the trip might trigger another attack.

You can quote me

Post   » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:35 am

I have no idea of the physiology involved but several of our pigs have shown discomfort when being held upright for any length of time, especially if they are older and especially if they are heavier.

When we do nails I always put them back to a horizontal position for a bit, either between feet or between front/back feet.

It almost seems as if something presses on their lungs, or they can't breathe easily? I have NO idea why, but several of ours have been like that.

I've fussed with several vet techs about it as well. With an older animal or a heavier animal in particular, whatever they're doing if I am in the room with them and they're holding the pig upright I will flat-out *tell* them to give the pig a break and hold him horizontally for just a bit -- ten or fifteen seconds does the job.

Honestly I doubt the vet trip will stress her. **Leave her on all fours and tell the vet to do the same, though!!**

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