Which AB for emaciated pig?

Post Reply
User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 3:26 pm

Can you not get the RSPCA equivalent to intervene on his behalf? He sounds bad enough to warrant it, especially if the owner is talking DIY euthanasia.
Poor little guy.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 3:31 pm

Do they know how euthanization at the vets works?

What the eff is wrong with them. They neglect him to the point of death and pretend to give a shit about how he dies?

I suspect they're just too effing cheap and selfish to pay for a professional euthanization. I'm sorry you have to know assholes like this.

He is doomed if he goes back to them. Especially if he has molar problems.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 4:01 pm

Maybe we should chip in for a hitman? What a bunch a whackos.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:22 pm

I'm just hoping that, if they see that proper vet care can make him better, they might be willing to take better care of him. I think they have given up and didn't know what to do.

They know how euthanization at the vet works. The mother asked me, and I gave her a very basic description, but she was very upset at the prospect. They are afraid of needles. I had to lie to them about getting him a subcue.

In their own way, I think they care about him and don't want to see him harmed--they just have a twisted way of interpreting "harm," which in their eyes does not include letting him die naturally, even if it means he will suffer.

We, on the other hand, believe in ending the suffering of animals and that allowing them to linger on is more harmful and painful for them.

I wish I knew a way out of this. We have explored other options, but the bottom line is, we have to give him back if they don't want him treated.

I would be happy to take on his care but we need them to sign a surrender form first and the daughter tells me that they would rather let the pig die than do that. Somewhere in there is perhaps a conviction that it is shameful to surrender one's pet; he is a rescue, as is their other pig. The family members are our volunteers.

The mother just called me in fact, and said that she had been praying that it is just his teeth and not some other problem. So they do love this pig, they just have different ideas about standards of care, however much it offends us.

His URI is responding to the Baytril now.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:48 pm

Hopefully you can talk them into doing the right thing. Have you been able to delve into the reasons as to why they would prefer it die rather than treat it? I wonder if they have terrible misconceptions that could be cleared up.

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:57 pm

You are a model of dipolmacy. I'd likely be postal by now.

Just out of curiosity, do they also decline medical care for their children because of faith issues.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:25 pm

Julian, I was postal yesterday and got my directors very pissed off.

They did make limited attempts at getting veterinary care before this. They did not want to take the pig to my vet because his exam fee is $45.

So they hunted around and found one for less.

Vet #1: This vet did not examine the mouth. He told them that it was a vitamin deficiency and that the pig should receive vitamin C with acerola. The mother hunted all over the county for the correct supplement as the vet directed. The pig continued to decline.

Vet #2: Knowing their cost concerns, I sent them to the Banfield vet, who has treated my pigs in a pinch and has a passable knowledge of guinea pigs. The pig was not pooping then. But this vet also said--vitamin deficiency. He did not examine the mouth either.

Vet #3: By this time the pig was really going downhill, not eating, lost half his weight. This vet wanted them to leave the pig for a few days so that they could hand-feed him and get his strength up enough to put him under and examine the teeth. The mother refused at this point and took him home. The vet noted that the eyes were running, and gave them some Terramycin ointment.

So, in addition to the mother's fear of vet fees, we have failure on a large scale by the vets that she did visit. No one looked in his mouth. No one seemed perturbed by the fact that he only ate vegetables even when hay was available (which is why the idea of vitamin deficiency is absurd). No antibiotics were administered even when he was showing distinct signs of a URI.

And to top it off, he is covered with dandruff, his front toenails are completely curled under, and he has bumblefoot on the back feet. They were giving him vitamin C every day and a wide variety of vegetables, putting the ointment in his eyes, and syringing him a pellet mash and pedialyte, although not nearly enough of each.

They probably figured that they, and the pig, have had enough. So is it any wonder that the don't want more stuff done to him? I'm sure they have absolutely no faith in my vet, but they do have faith in me. And the few things over the past few months that I have told them about general cavy care, they have done. If I had seen the pig's feet and coat earlier they would probably also have treated those problems as I directed. The mother keeps telling me, "nobody told us."

And the son is so attached to his pigs that he gets in the bathtub to bathe them because he doesn't want them to be afraid.

I guess I am just beginning to see the many factors that go into animal neglect. It's important, I think, that we all understand the complexity of the issue. Some people try, but don't know how hard they have to try. Sometimes they spend, but not enough. They do what the vets tell them. They do what the pet stores tell them. They do what their parents tell them. That's a lot of voices to shout over.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:49 pm

If it is tooth problems, this can be very serious and not an easy fix at all. You describe very well a situation that is complicated by good intentions, lack of knowledge and incompetency. I am so sorry the vets failed this pig, whether in the end the owners would have followed their advice or not.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:17 pm

This is a very sick pig. It would take significant time just for the bumblefoot alone. Plus, what if he gets the best treatment from here on out and still doesn't make it? I don't think the family would understand. I'm assuming they declined treatment at Dr. R's? This must be very difficult to watch.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:58 pm

So, in addition to the mother's fear of vet fees

Oh please don't dress this up as a phobia. She's too Effing cheap to get him the care he needs. She had a recommendation and chose to risk his health and probably pay more money in the long run by vet shopping.

I feel heartbroken for the kid but frankly the mother is a selfish idiot. "No one told us." Stupid excuse. She has a brain assumably and a mouth and a finger for dialing the phone. If she didn't know what to do she should have asked someone.

So they have a fear of needles??? Idiots. It's not them that get the needle. They certainly have no fear of ludicrous excuses. Tell them the pig can be sedated with Isoflurane gas - no needle - before being euthanized. I'm sure they'll have a fear of gas when they hear that.

Teeth problems do not have to be expensive after the initial dentalwork if they are the kind of problems that can be maintained with the Chin-Sling. Only a good vet will know if the teeth can be helped though. And the initial work must be done.

These people regard the pig as a possession. Theirs to do with what they will. The welfare of the pig is not a priority with these people. The pig is a priority only with the kid. There it is in a nutshell - she is willing to sacrifice the pig so her kid doesn't lose faith in her. I believe in her mind the pig is just a toy her kid doesn't want to part with and she doesn't want to upset him by taking the pig away.

We are adopting a rescue with teeth problems who was surrendered to our vet. The owners did not want to pay for dentalwork. The vet told them they would have to euthanize or surrender the pig to them or the pig would starve to death. They thought it over for a couple of days and surrendered Oscar. That was the responsible thing to do.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:07 pm

I'm assuming they declined treatment at Dr. R's?
We haven't been to see Dr. R yet--another hour. I promised the mother that I would call when I know anything.

Pinta, I understand and share your frustration, but I'm not free to vent it right now. If I don't remain calm, there is very little chance that they will trust me further with their pig. So I've avoided telling them just how insufficient their care has been.

A little good news: he came out of his little box and tried feebly to nibble on a piece of romaine, then gave up. That is at least a little improvement, because he hasn't moved in 48 hours.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:13 pm

Wait a minute - this is a rescue pig??? This pig is one of yours? Don't you have a contract that allows you to take him back if he's neglected?

This is not what a rescue pig is supposed to deal with with screened adopters.


Post   » Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:16 pm

Whoa....hold on there, Pinta. They did not adopt this pig from me. They took him from the owner of a pet store who was shut down for having unsanitary conditions. Their other pig they adopted from Fenella's rescue in San Diego, not from me.

And I agree, they should have been screened better.

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Fri Apr 18, 2003 12:19 am

I undersand your position. It was in the same situation with the feral pigs. If I laid into them like I would have liked to the first day, I would not have been allowed acess back to them. They would have died. End of story

In the end, I just called the police and reported animal cruelty and discharging a gun in a public area.

It wasn't going to change anything by unloading on her as much as I would have loved to. She did call Teresa instead of continuing to let her son use them for target practice.

You are in my thoughts right now. I know it is very hard for you. Hopefully, if the pig survives you can work with the son to get him adequate care.


Post   » Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:03 am

No surprises here: URI, bumblefoot, mites, and....yes, the molars are overgrown. The vet thinks Humphrey is too weak to anaesthetize and wants me to nurse him for another week, then bring him back to do the teeth.

I called the daughter and she has volunteered to pay half the vet bills. I told her that the pig is generally in poor health and discussed how all of this was due to lack of proper care. I suggested that she talk with her brother about the things he needs to do regularly--clean the cage, clip the nails, clean the anal sac, weigh the pig. She said that she had already suggested to her brother that he surrender the pig if he was not willing to give it 110% this time around.

Then I spoke with the mother. She was waiting by the phone. She agreed to pay the other half of the vet bills. I told her about the mites and everything else. She is bringing her other pig out here tomorrow to have me clip his nails and dose him with Ivermectin. I told her that the teeth problem could be a recurring thing and that she needed to take Humphrey back to a good vet to recheck the teeth after they are done. She told me that she will only bring her pigs to Dr. R from now on. I hope she means it.

I didn't mention surrendering to her. The thing is, taking away their pet isn't going to teach them anything and they still have another pig. Hopefully, they are starting to realize that all this could have been prevented. If they want to surrender, of course I will take him. If not, I think they trust me enough to let me supervise his care. He'll be with me for a little while, though.

Ok, in other news....Dr. R gave me a whole bunch of LRS and SQ supplies. That will help a lot in situations like this.


Post   » Fri Apr 18, 2003 3:23 am

Whoa....hold on there, Pinta.

Hold on yourself. They were questions not statements, hence the question marks at the end of the sentences. The questions were based on the information you posted.

Damned shame they didn't feel like paying vet bills before he got to this state.


Post   » Fri Apr 18, 2003 5:27 am

I'm sure that with better husbandary and vet treatment ASAP, It would be cheaper for short-term ABs and dental work that one big gigantic bill for SQ, dental work, ABs etc etc.

User avatar
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Fri Apr 18, 2003 9:47 am

Chary, I am so glad things seem to be working out for you and this pig. I got the original email that was passed around just last night, as it was sent to my old email address. I'm sorry I was out of the loop on this one. You're such a good person though - I just wish there was something I could have done. Sounds like you've got it covered though. Congratulations and good luck making this little guy all better.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Apr 18, 2003 10:06 am

I hope the pig makes it.

Chary, if you ever find yourself needing to buy butterfly needles, I found a source on the internet that's much cheaper than the vet. (Here they charge $3.00/needle).

Good luck.


Post   » Fri Apr 18, 2003 2:02 pm

Thanks Becky, that's very useful.

I have a question. Dr. R said that he thought Humphrey could use a bath "in a couple days" and that it would probably make him feel better. He's terribly dirty, matted, and smells.

He is also riddled with mites, and probably anemic. So I need to treat him topically with Ivermectin right away (not going to mix up an oral batch for one pig).

So, if I dose him now, how long do I have to wait to bathe him? Or should I just bathe him now and then dose him?

The URI is under control, btw.

Post Reply
153 posts