Yesterday morning when I went to feed my girls, my older pig Dory (5yrs) was in her little hutch - I saw her moving around a bit and then when she finally poked her head out I could tell right away something was wrong. Her head was tilted to the side and her eyes were rolled (I could see a lot of white above both eyes), and she was sort of stumbling and falling over. I took her to the vet asap, who gave her antibiotics and mild pain killer and kept her for observation yesterday until they closed.
When I returned yesterday evening to pick her up, the vet said she couldn't say for sure what it was - perhaps an ear infection but she didn't see any other signs of this, or perhaps something neurological. She said she wanted to treat her with a round of antibiotics just in case. At the vet's, she hadn't eaten much on her own and so the vet had given her syringe feedings of Critical Care. The head tilt was gone and Dory seemed a bit better and since there's no one at the clinic overnight I brought her home.
At home I set her up in a hospital cage and gave her some of her favorite veggies - she did nibble on them a bit and eat some hay, but definitely not her usual appetite so I gave her another 5-10 mls of CC every few hours before going to bed and then once in the middle of the night/early morning and again this am. She seems to be better - she even wheeked when I opened the fridge this am, but I can tell her appetite is not normal yet... she usually devours everything I give her but now she'll eat a leaf of radicchio, then go back to her hutch for 30 min, then come out and eat a little more. I did give her some fresh grass which she loves and she did eat all of it right away but I don't want to exaggerate and give her an upset stomach.
She's not drinking much from the water bottle but I have been wetting down all her veggies and the CC I've been giving her has water, but her poos are still tinier than they should be. She did pee twice overnight small amounts.
My question I guess is whether anyone has any idea of what could possibly be going on? My thought, with such a sudden onset of symptoms that then just seemed to go away except for the lack of appetite, is a stroke? Would an ear infection clear up that quickly (8 hours) after just the first dose of antibiotics? Has anyone had a similar experience before? Is there anything that I should be doing besides making sure she gets enough food/liquids and finishing out the course of antibiotics? For now she's separate from her cage mate so that she can eat on her own time, but they are right next to each other and I can hear them chatter back and forth.
Yesterday when I first found her I was sure that this was the end, as the way she was acting was so off and I know that once these guys start showing signs of being sick it's often hard to get them back on the mend. But she seems fairly okay now, and I wondered if maybe she can make a full recovery - I surely hope so, she's my little peanut!
- And got the T-shirt
It also sounds to me like it could be neurological. I had a similar thing happen to a guinea pig once, and she fully recovered after a few hours.
She is on Baytril, 15mg tab every 12 hours crushed into a syringe with Critical Care. She weighs 950 grams. I was at work this afternoon (I'm in Italy, btw) and my partner tried syringe feeding her some CC, but she wasn't having it, only got like 3-4 mls before she totally refused. I will try again tonight with her dose of antibiotics, as I'm better at getting her to sit still for me, but she *is* definitely eating more today than yesterday - she's happily munching away on some radicchio leaves right now.
One of my main concerns now is her water intake. Her feces are still small and dry (though there are many of them, many more than yesterday), and I haven't seen her go to the water bottle once (though I did leave her alone for a few hours here and there). Is it okay to also syringe a few cc's of water every few hours? How much would I need to give her to help rehydrate her - or rather, how much would be too much and how much would be not enough to make a difference? She's gotten some liquids from the veggies she's eaten and a bit from the Critical Care, but I doubt that's enough to rehydrate her. I've got her on a white towel and there are some pee spots - they seem kinda dark in color, though I guess I'm not really sure what normal guinea pee spots look like as they're usually both kept on wood pellets. Any other tricks for getting her rehydrated?
I spoke with my vet this am and she said to continue what I'm doing and bring her back in in a week, sooner if she gets worse. I will weigh her daily but she said that a small drop (50 grams) in weight is normal and to not panic, but bring her in if she continues to drop in weight. I am also planning on keeping the girls separate (though their cages are next to each other) until Dory finishes her antibiotics, so that I can be sure how much she is eating and make sure that Olivia does gobble up all the veggies before Dory has a chance to eat them.
Also, I've noticed that the one thing she seems to be happy to eat non-stop is fresh grass. During the spring I usually give them a big bunch of grass every day. I gave her a bit (5-6 long blades perhaps) yesterday and she inhaled them, and another 15-20 blades this am which she also devoured. Is it okay, you think, to give her the same amount I usually would (twice or three times that amount), or do I risk upsetting her stomach?
Sorry for all the questions but these are my first pigs, I've had Dory for 5 years so I'm not a newbie but everything is a first with her so I'm not sure what is normal and what is cause for alarm.
I hope she recovers.
Unfortunately there's no watermelon here since Italy is very seasonal with its fruits and veggies, but perhaps cucumber might do the trick? I didn't think of it until you mentioned watermelon, but tomorrow I will get a cucumber at the market and see if she'll go for that.
Tonight I mixed her CC extra watery since I've seen her eat some pellets (maybe a teaspoon) and some hay on her own, and she's eaten most of the veggies I've given her. She only put up with about 6 mls before she totally refused and I don't want to stress her any more than necessary so I'll try again in an hour and then let her be for the night.
Thanks for all the kind thoughts - figures and toes crossed that she continues to make positive progress... <3
What's strange is that some things, like fresh grass and baby red leaf lettuce, she is more than happy to eat, but her normal staples like fennel, carrot, peppers, etc. she's turning her nose up at completely. Yesterday she was eating radicchio leaves and today she won't touch them. Even cucumber, she doesn't seem to want to have much to do with, a few nibbles but usually she love it. If the only thing I can get her to eat happily is fresh grass and red leaf lettuce, is it better to give her as much as she wants?
We finally had a somewhat normal poo today, except that it was not really well formed - long and "wet", but not perfectly pellet shaped like normal. I'm assuming this could have something to do with the antibiotics?
- And got the T-shirt
The other caveat is that you don't want her to eat so many veggies that she doesn't eat pellets and hay, but you can give quite a bit of lettuce without danger of that -- up to a cup or a cup and a half.
Last night when giving her her meds, I felt a round lump/bump at the nape of her neck (where her head meets her spine) high between her shoulders. It's maybe the diameter of a dime... I'm wondering if this may be the culprit. I already have a followup appointment scheduled with my vet (exotic specialist) for Saturday am so unless she gets worse between now and then I am going to just take her in then. As of now she's pretty stable, not her normal self for sure also not getting any worse. My other option would be to take her to a different vet today but he doesn't specialize in exotics and I'd rather see my vet who I trust.
Yep, I'm weighing her - she's down about 40 grams since Sunday, but my vet told me to expect a drop in weight because of her suppressed appetite. I have a feeling that if she wasn't eating at all she'd have lost much more than that?
I'm only syringe feeding in the am and pm now with her meds, mostly because if I do it more often she gets so fed up with it that by the time I have to syringe her the antibiotics at night she refuses to cooperate. So I'm getting about 10 mls of CC in the am and 10 in the pm, and the rest is up to her. She is eating lettuce, and hay, and yesterday she ate about a third of a strawberry.
We go back to the vet's on Saturday, so I'll see what she says then and we'll have a look at this lump - if it's a cyst, she's already on antibiotics, and if it's something more serious, there's not a whole lot that we can do anyway - definitely not a spot you could operate on I would think.
The vet is fairly sure that the original episode was a stroke - she said that it may happen again in the future but that it is not guaranteed.
Since Dory has started eating fairly normally (pellets, hay, wider variety of veggies and not just lettuce) yesterday and this am (she even wheeked for veggies this morning), and her weight is slowly going back up, I've decided to put the girls back together today as they've been separate for almost a week now. Their cages have been next to each other but I don't want to wait any longer. Right now they are bickering, a bit of teeth chattering and chasing but they knock it off to eat something and then start up again. So I'm gonna sit and watch them for the next few hours just to make sure their little arguments don't turn into a fight. I'm guessing that it's normal and they need to reestablish their bond/hierarchy so I am going to leave them be as long as they don't hurt each other.
We'll go back to the vet's in a week to check that the hematoma/swelling has gone down some and fingers crossed that this is the last of it! I feel so lucky, I was sure on Sunday morning that this was bad news for Dory, but she seems to be out of the woods now!
Thanks again for your kinds wishes and support!
I took her in once on Saturday for the lump, and back yesterday for another check-in with the original vet who saw her. She was very happy and mildly shocked to see Dory doing so well, especially after the way she had seen her that Sunday morning. She says it was most probably a stroke and to keep a close eye out for signs of further strokes, but that she otherwise looks great, all things considered.
I was wondering if there is anything I can give her to help prevent further strokes? Something homeopathic that may help, or at least won't do any harm.
Thanks again for all the support!