My recent rescue piggy Po came to me with 1 top incisor. After a few weeks I noticed weight loss and that her bottom incisors were overgrown. She had her bottom teeth trimmed, her molars filed and the top incisor apparently fell out when the vet was looking at it. Her x-rays also showed elongated roots. Poor thing has been struggling greatly without her top front teeth.
My exotics vet did another x-ray approximately 2 weeks later and said the roots of the top incisors look viable, and it's just a waiting game now to see if her teeth will grow back.
In the meantime, the poor little thing has steadily been losing weight. I realise there are a number of issues to deal with here, but we're prioritising the eating/weight right now.
She has finished her course of Entrotril and Bactrim, and a couple of days later her Protexin also finished up. I was concerned about pain being an issue so she's also been on Meloxicam (she wasn't able to eat anything independently for a few days following her dental). Since then, she attempts to eat veggies and herbs with some success. She can eat a whole stalk of parsley or coriander if it's hand fed to her. Yesterday she started successfully eating pellets but can't do any hay yet.
We've been handfeeding her approx 45mL of Critical Care mix with various baby foods upon the vet's instructions (approx 9-10mL every 3 hrs or so) plus 0.5mL water at each time. Her weight over the last week has hovered between 717g-731g in the mornings before her first feed (dropped about 100g since the 1st Aug) but it's been decreasing over time and this morning she weighed only 710g. In total she is getting about 1.5tbsp of dry Critical Care in a day. I'm not counting the veggies she is eating as the total amount doesn't get close to how much she would normally consume. Plus no hay etc.
What I want to do is get more calories into this little thing! So now my questions:
I've read about using pumpkin to aide with fibre and nutrition. We don't have canned pumpkin here like in the US, what I've got is a raw Butternut pumpkin (we don't generally get Halloween pumpkins here), which I can blend into a mash to mix with Critical Care.
(1) Is this better than using baby food?
I've also been making her a raw veggie pulpy mash thing by blending her usual vegetables with as little water as my blender can handle, which she will eat off a spoon on my lap. My goal now is to increase her Critical Care to 2.25 tbsp (dry) and the only way I'm going to do that is by decreasing the amount of water that I mix with.
(2) Can I use my veggie pulp instead and is this better than using baby food, or should I be including baby food (or raw pumpkin) as well?
My vet has recommended only giving her a max of 10mL of Critical Care plus 0.5mL of water per feed.
(3) Is this about right or would it be safe to aim for 15mL? Or would it be better to feed more frequently but alternate say 5-6mL with every 10mL feed?
(4) Any other tips you might have for this stressed pig mum would be greatly appreciated!
I've been given a 4-6 week wait for the top incisors to potentially show so it's going to be a difficult road for a while but as long as she's not losing weight, I can deal with it.
Thank you in advance!!!
- And got the T-shirt
I usually aim for 20 ml of Critical Care per feeding, am happy with 15, and will sometimes consider 10 successful. The rule of thumb is 100+ cc. of Critical Care for every kilogram the pig weighs, every 24 hours, around the clock. You adjust up or down according to the weight of the pig, and down to adjust for any other food the pig is eating.
Just don't overdo the veggies. The advantage of the Critical Care is that it's mostly hay, and that's invaluable for the pig's digestive tract.
However, elongated roots are very difficult to deal with, and require repeated planings. It may always be painful for the pig to eat, so you may be looking at long-term hand feedings.