Eye loss, mammary tumor and widowed

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Post   » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:26 am

This is my first post. Its really about Cullen, Calico Abby, age 4.

His lifelong mate, Mofusa, was devastated by a terrible URI, among other things, suffering though most of last November. While driving home from ending her suffering only last week, Cullen and I were in a serious auto accident. He and I got the airbags. His little travel carrier was smashed in half. Instantly, after the crash, I reached for him and he seemed to have been spared physical injury.

A few days later, his right eye became inflamed. The 4th vet to see him armed us with antibiotic ointments, probis and metacam (I requested) ... maybe the metacam eased his pain, I don't think so, it had to have been excruciating, he gradually wouldn't eat or drink on his own. It went from treatment of injury to an emergency situation in hours. His eye was surgically removed yesterday, as was a mammary tumor for biopsy. Tonight, we're home, chillng out by the TV and he is doing well, eating, thirsty and napping between cuddlings on a special pillow on my lap.

He has stiches on his right eyelid and his belly, but is not bothering them. No adhesive.

Geeze. I want to say a few things I have learned lately.

I learned with Mofusa's torticollis, arthiritis, pnemonia and weight loss, the time to let her go had come. (Cullen and I buried her last week and made a thicket over her grave with a birdseed block so she would always have lots of visitors.) I know she is always with us, and I know she saved our lives during the collision, watching over us from her little vet-style cardboard casket resting in the back seat. I know she has been comforting Cullen through his grief and his surgery and now his recouperation.

I know long nursing only extends the pain of loss, letting go and ending suffering when undeniable suffering exists, is a higher, stronger, deeper love.

I know our pets can never ride in the front seat. Never, ever.

I learned that what I think I see is not the same as a thorough vet check after a disaster.

I know Cullen is grieving and physically stressed and now learning how to live with only one eye. I know I am his other eye. I know he need lots of time, lots of reassurance and very, very gentle handling.

The three of us were together every day and night for the past four years since I adopted them from an L.A. animal shelter. They traveled with me across the US twice, (in the backseat) during snowstorms, strange motels and even evacuated a California wildfire through crowds of alarmed people and confused livestock. Their picture and watercolor portrait is on my website. I am a painter, I do what I do with them always close by, so I am making adjustments, too. It is because Cullen's adjustment is so much greater than my own that I will move us past this time, into better times, under the guidance of spiritual forces beyond our human ability to comprehend.

I was reluctant to drive again, but that fear had to be overcome immediately in order to get Cullen medical treatment. Each trip is rental cars and hundreds of miles, while the bureaucratic details of the accident have to stand in line. I learned they will take you over, completely, into an abyss of indecision if you do not stay "in the moment". And this moment belongs to Cullen.

The biopsy on Cullen's mammary tumor will be back soon. We have a recheck in 10 days. Meanwhile, I am continuing with the metacam once a day and indulging Cullen in anything he wants or seems to need.

I will post about Cullen's progress as time goes on in case anyone else finds it helpful. I've lurked here quite a lot lately and found out about metacam from this forum. Thanks.

Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:42 am

Welcome to GuineaLynx, Mocu.

I'm so sorry that you lost one of your beloved piggies. I do hope that both you and Cullen will heal and be well soon.

Thank you for sharing your experience with the pet carrier in the front seat. This is valuable information.

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Post   » Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:10 am

Hello Mocu,

I am so very sorry that you have had such tragedy recently, Mofusa and Cullen are lucky to have you.

I hope you and Cullen have many, many more days together.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:20 am

Oh dear, what a very traumatic time you've all had.

I'm so sorry you lost Mofusa and then had to suffer through such a dreadful ordeal.

You probably know that mammary tumors are usually very slow growing and often easily removed with no further problems. Cullen should also adjust well to the loss of his eye, but this is certainly a lot to deal with at once.

Welcome to Guinea Lynx!

Your paintings of the boys are wonderful.

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Post   » Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:14 am

Thank you tracis, slfalzone and Mum for your kind comments. Mum, it looks as if you are right, Cullen is breakfasting as we speak. He's made a hay nest and has found his way to the top. That is heartening news about the mammary tumor. I look forward to hearing about all of your piggies.

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Post   » Wed Dec 27, 2006 12:58 am

Day five after Cullen's eye and mammary tumor surgeries:
I am wondering how long to keep up with the metacam?
And if Cullen is going to be on it further, I'd like to figure out how to adjust his time of taking it to the evening instead of at dawn? Is there an optimum time? He takes it once every 24 hours. Don't want to give too little or too frequently. If its best, I will leave it at dawn, but I think it would be more effective to ease his nights. Yes? No?
He was a little light after his surgeries, but has since regained the loss. What are the side effects of metacam? Wouldn't it make for a softer poop? We've had to do 2 brief warm water on washcloth paw wipes today.
I just gave him a tiny dose of probiacin.
I feel he is grieving for Mofusa and alternately feeling lonely and self-conscious and trying to figure out why his eyesight has changed. Otherwise, he is out of his cabin and stirring around at least every hour. I am not hearing the wheeks over the fridge door opening but I do get purrs during cuddle time.
His post-op checkup isn't until Jan 2. Any advice is appreciated, thanks.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:02 am

After 5 days he may not need it any longer.

The only way to know is to try skipping a day and see if it makes a difference.

It shouldn't affect his poop. However, if he's on baytril or another antibiotic that might affect this. Probiotics are usually given two hours after antibiotics to be most effective.

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Post   » Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:37 am

No advice to add I'm afraid - I am very happy to hear that Cullen is feeling a little better!

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Post   » Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:02 am

Yes, you can see if he's doing better by cutting back or skipping a dose.

For what it's worth with my human surgery, the first couple days were bad and subsequent days were just ibuprophen or nothing. You seem to be observing him well. That and weighing will give you an indication if he is ready to get off it.

You can quote me

Post   » Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:21 pm

You can also give him half his Metacam dose, twice a day (rather than the full dose once a day). This has worked well for us.

Thanks to you, my car's back seat is now cleaned out and future vet trips will be taken in the back. Know that Cullen and you may save many lives by posting your experience.

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Post   » Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:29 am

I couldn't bring myself to take him off it completely and went for the half dose twice a day. For the first time in a very long time it seems, he is doing his normal things. Normal means he runs away when anybody comes around and you have to cajole him out. Another day of this half dosing twice a day and I think he'll be ready to stop.
Thanks everybody for your comments and information. Its all very helpful and encouraging.

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Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:46 am

I think we're on to something here. On the half doses of metacam twice a day, Cullen's poop returned to normal. We're not going to do any today. He's energetic, eating well and behaving normally. FWIW, I am concluding metacam, for all its benefits, indeed has a side effect of softening poops and produces a semi-lethargy which is minimized by breaking the once-a-day does into two half-doses. Cullen was further aided by a less-than-pea-size taste of probis, once-a-day on his two half-days. I saw on this forum that some people were doing that successfully and it made a lot of sense.
Talishan, that was a very good suggestion! I appreciate it so much.
And Mum, yes, Cullen does appear to be adjusting just fine in all respects as you thought he might. You called it perfectly!

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Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:54 am

I will never put my pigs in the front seat again, thanks to you. I always have before, but have since learned better.

Do you weigh Cullen? That will give you a good idea of how he is adjusting to his Metacam withdrawal and life in general. Most of us weigh our pigs at least weekly - more if we suspect something isn't right.

Glad you were all okay after all you've been through.

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:00 pm

I'm glad Cullen is doing better. He's so lucky to have a caring person as yourself to tend to him.

I always drive with my pigs in the front seat, if only to talk and pet them during the trip. Now, I will securely fasten them in the backseat.

I think I might try the 1/2 dose thing with the metacam too. Fuzzy does better in the mornings but by evening is just blah-that's the only way I can describe it. Maybe by splitting the dose she'll be more balanced.

Thanks for the tips!

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Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:03 pm

The passenger side airbag broke the walls of the travel carrier. It looked at first as if Cullen was so low in the seat he didn't receive injury, which was not the case. The passenger side airbag is much larger than the driver-side bag because there is no steering wheel on the passenger's side. You can see the diagrams by running a google search on airbags. They are designed to detonate even at very low speeds of impact.

The collision was completely out of the blue, a freak happening. The country road was seemingly empty, I had the right of way and then ... the absolute "unpredictable" just swallowed us.

Just because it never happened before doesn't mean it won't happen.

It is exactly the desire to express our affection by sharing the front seat that puts the piggies at risk. Illogical, really: Putting them at risk to journey them to the vet so they are not at risk? We expose them to instant death, or serious harm, while attempting to keep them safe?

So much unnecessary stress and suffering can be so easily prevented.

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:41 pm

Well, and I guess that's why kids are safer in the backseat too-because of the airbag dangers. Small beings, pets included, are safer buckled in back.

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Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:33 pm

Yes, center back seat for kids and pigs!

Wheekness for Pigs

Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:44 pm

Yes, the airbag deployment is a controlled explosion that provides an opposite force and cushion that counters the body's momentum forward when everything stops in an accident. In addition to the forces, it is also possible to get some abrasions and burns from the airbag. The idea being that it is additional safety to augment the seat belt. An airbag by itself is not designed to protect you that well.

Most accidents occur when people are within 5 miles of their homes and it can and does happen anywhere at anytime. The newer airbags are smart - if they sense any weight in the seat without the seatbelt attached, then the bag will not go off. As soon as you engage the seatbelt, I believe the bag will go off in a not-low-speed collision. I think the car manufacturers tell you not to put a child in the seat under 80 pounds and under a fairly decent height. Since a piggie in a carrier would fit that criteria, the piggie definitely belongs in the back seat, carrier strapped into the seatbelt. The piggie might be subjected to forces in a collision but it would be nothing like the forces in an untethered cage.

I was in a serious car accident with my family when I was 14...my Dad's golf clubs were in the back of the station wagon when we lost control and hit a tree at high speed. Those clubs flew right over our heads and out the front windshield - landing quite a distance in front of the car. Gives you a whole new perspective on the physics of momentum!

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Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:23 pm

Good luck to you and Cullen. I hope everything works out.

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amy m guinea

Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:52 pm

Your story brings tears to my eyes and I wish you and Cullen all the best.

You have saved many pig's lives by your post! I've always strapped my guys into the front seat in the carrier, but never again.

Thank you.

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