So I took him to the vet today, fearing the worst. We x-rayed him and the vet had a good feel of his legs, knees and back. The x-rays looked fine in terms of damage, there doesn't appear to be anything broken or injured, but he does have REALLY bad arthritis in his knees.
As bad as his knees are however, it doesn't explain the weakness in his back legs. He has purposeful movement in his legs so the vet doesn't think there is a neurological problem, or a spinal cord injury. The only thing we can think of is that perhaps he hurt his back falling off the ramp, and that rest and resticted activity will help. He doesn't appear to be in pain, even when the vet manipulated his legs and felt his back, but he's looking into doses for pig-safe anti-inflammatories to speed his recovery and help with any pain he MAY be having. (I was trying to view the meloxicam dosing chart since that's the drug my vet was going to look into for him, but when I clicked the download link it said I was not allowed to view that page, any way to get around that??)
I don't think Rajah is overweight (he only weighs 2lbs 8oz) but the vet thinks he is and losing a few ounces will help take some of the burden off his knees. So poor Rajah is in a 1x2 section of his cage (so he can still socalize with his harem without being able to move around a whole lot) with lots of hay and a very few pellets. He has to stay in there for at least a week, in which time he will hopefully re-gain the use of his legs. Hopefully the vet will have some meds for me soon too.
Has anyone ever gone through anything like this? Everything else is normal, he's eating well, drinking well, pooping up a storm, and happily rumblestrutting for his ladies, but no indication of what could be causing the weakness in his legs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
You are in luck though. You are in easy reach of an animal physical therapist who deals a lot with arthritis in pigs.
She's on vacation until the 6th but you can book an appointment through the Animal Critical Care Group. Bring his xrays and she will give laser treatments and show you how to do it at home.
In the meantime, get him on Cartrophen and an NSAID. You can also give a drop of vet grade vitamin E and a pinch of vet grade glucosamine.
Treatment and physio makes a huge difference.
So you think the arthritis IS the cause of his weakness.....
I can get metacam/meloxicam, glucosamine, vitamin E, and cartophen from work so that's great. Do you know the dosing for meloxicam though? I tried to download it from the "first hand medical accounts" but it said access for me was denied. I guess I would need to know how much cartrophen to give too. This is my vet's first time seeing this in a guinea pig so he's looking into it for me, but any help I can give him would speed things up! I'm going to ask him for a referral to animal critcal care as well, that would be fabulous if it helped him. He's such a loving little pig.
My regular vet was away today so I had a long chat with his replacement (she works at your clinic every now and then so I think you know her) Anyways she agreed that it is more likely the arthritis rather than a back injury causing him to drag his legs and so we sat down with some syringes and a calculator and worked out a dose for metacam. Originally she said one drop a day but said maybe start with a half drop to see if he tolerates it ok. She also said the glucosamine was a good idea but wanted me to talk to my regular vet about the cartrophen etc.
The metacam was easy, we diluted it so that I can give him the small amount easier, and I just syringed it to him, but the glucosamine is a powder so I'm finding it harder to give. I added water and made a runny slurry to syringe him but it was quite messy. Any suggestions? I was going to try sprinkling it on his veggies tomorrow.
I dip my finger tip into the glucosamine powder and wipe it against their mouths. Very easy.
I just had all my arthritis pigs in today for their monthly cartrophen booster. It's worth doing. They seem to do better with cartrophen.
The Physio will be able to help the most. She is also excellent at readjusting out-of-line jaws.
My friends were laughing at me for considering physio until I asked them if they would do if for their dogs, that stopped them pretty quick.
Rajah did really well on the arthritis treatments for 7 months. He was doing so well you would never have known his knees were so bad. He passed away very suddenly though in June while at the vets. He wouldn't eat that moring and while we were developing his x-rays he just died. The x-rays determined he had a very large mass in his chest.
Anyways you guys helped me a lot while he was ill (not just his arthritis but his bladder problems) and I just wanted to thank you.
Unfortunately he passed away 2 weeks before my wedding so June was sort of a mixed emotions month.