Paralysis and recovery

MelissaW80

Post   » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:05 pm


Our guinea pig, Brownie, had a short fall a couple of weeks ago. We took him to the vet and they did xrays. Nothing was broken, but he did have a spinal injury, in that it was out of alignment. He lost the use of his hind legs the next day and was just dragging himself around. We did anti-inflammatories for 5 days and several rounds of laser/light therapy. He quickly regained the use, at least partially, of his right rear, but the left rear has had very little movement. The accident was 2.5 weeks ago. I did notice him starting to pull left leg up under him last night, ever so slightly on occasion. He is eating and drinking very well and actually quite mobile, just scooting along. His spirits seem high. No signs of pain that I can detect.

I wanted to find out as many specifics as possible from those of you who have done hydrotherapy and/or physiotherapy following these symptoms. I have read most of the forums on the topic on the site, and want to start some PT to aid in his recovery and learning to use his legs again, but felt that I needed a little more step by step instructions on the water therapy and any other therapy that anyone has found useful in this type of situation. Has anyone done physical therapy with their guinea pig? If so, I will take as many specifics as you can offer, please.

His legs are not dead, he is still has some nerve function I can tell by the movement he has displayed, I just feel like the right PT would really benefit him. Thank you!

User avatar
daveandtiff

Post   » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:29 am


The fact that Brownie is having some movement and sensation is a very good thing, and am so glad for him and you for that.

We have not dealt with paralysis in acute or chronic form, but have used hydrotherapy and physical therapy to help with comfort, movement and muscle tone for arthritic condition. Our therapy, however, was not guided by certified professionals, but from limited knowledge gained from some past experience or from instinct. Do you have trained persons in your area who have worked with guinea pigs?

With hydrotherapy, a pig would need to be very comfortable in warm water, and well-supported. If not comfortable, he could make sudden movements or become tense, which would be counterproductive or possibly harmful. So you would want to determine if water would be a good choice for Brownie.

In your situation, I would be cautious with movement of the spine if there could be residual swelling or weakness, and if alignment issue still exists. Some have talked of seeing a chiropractor for alignment issues. It would be important to know if there are any nerves that could be further damaged by certain movements so you are avoiding too much movement of these areas. I incorporate massage therapy to help with circulation of blood and nutrients to the affected areas.

Encouraging him to use body parts the way that he normally would is usually safer initially. I have had our boys move, without my handling, by presenting a hidey area just ahead of them that they will usually want to walk to (ie a blanket overhang). Occasionally, new presentation of hay or food/treat will encourage walking.

You'll probably want to watch skin to be sure pressure sores do not develop, and might provide softer blanket underneath to help protect the tissue.

A few thoughts, maybe not as precise as what you are needing for Brownie, but did want to share a little from our experience here.

User avatar
Jaycey
Supporter in 2014

Post   » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:55 am


I know BamBam had great success with Jack. He's his thread:

http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=66622&highlight=jack

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:34 am


I've nothing specific to add but very best wishes. You're doing everything right. Kudos to you for caring for him so well.

MelissaW80

Post   » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:32 pm


Thank you all for your replies. Brownie has been on "bed rest" for the last few weeks in a small container by himself. As we are now approaching three weeks since his injury, I want to start transitioning to rehab, but figuring out exactly what that should look like is a bit puzzling.
Getting him to walk is no problem, because he can actually run around really fast using his other three legs, but getting him to use the one that is the weakest is a little more challenging, because I think it is just easier for him to drag right now than to try to use it. But I can already see a lot of atrophy and I just want to find the best ways to encourage use and exercise.
I will try some massage of the area and maybe just some manual range of motion kind of movements with him. Please let me know if anyone has any more ideas. Thank you all!

User avatar
Kimera

Post   » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:46 pm


Galantamini hydrobromidum (Nivalin) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galantamine has been used for treating guinea pigs with nerve damage and temporary leg paralysis with good results. Additionally, physical therapy and vitamins B were used.
The cases of paralysis that I know of, and which have been treated succesfully, were not results of spinal injury, however, but trauma to the leg nerve, and specifically, a side effect of botched injections in lab cavies.

MelissaW80

Post   » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:22 pm


Wanted to let everyone know that Brownie is walking again!! With all four feet!! He has improved incrementally day by day over the last five days or so, and today he is standing and walking, not just scooting himself along! His gate isn't quite 100% normal yet, but I expect him to get there. Thanks all!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:29 pm


That is fabulous! Thanks for the update!

GrannyJu1
Armcavy

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:50 am


Way cool!! Good job!

Vhailor

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:12 am


That's a great story! Congratulations!

User avatar
daveandtiff

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:12 am


Oh, that is really awesome news! I'm so happy for you all!!

User avatar
GP_mum
Supporter in '13

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:43 am


So glad to read the positive update. I'm sure that your massage and helping him to increase his range of motion where possible all helped greatly in his recovering his ability to walk. Well done and thanks for the update.

MelissaW80

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:37 pm


So I wound up doing several things, I'm not sure how much of his recovery was due them and how much was just prayers and time to heal. But I did the simple range of motion exercises by just manually manipulating his leg in a gentle circle. I did some massage. I did some water therapy, first just in the sink in an inch or two of water out of necessity because I was afraid he was going to get urine burn from laying on his stomach all the time. After the first bath, even though I didn't have him move at all really in the sink, he seemed to try to pull his leg under for several steps when I put him on the floor to dry, then back to dragging it. Then a few days later I ran a couple inches in the tub and put him on the area that had the slip resistant mat on it and encouraged him to walk with carrots. I could see that it helped him get his body off the ground a little easier where he could actually get the foot underneath him with the water helping to lessen his weight. We did this a few times and yesterday when I got him out, before ever taking him to the water, he was actually up on his feet on dry land and not just scooting himself along.

The other exercise that I did when he wasn't really using his back legs very much was something I had seen done with a dog that was paralyzed in his hind legs. They kind of put the dog's front legs and torso on a yoga type ball and encouraged him to push over it. I didn't have a guinea pig sized yoga ball so I just held his upper body off the ground a couple inches, with both hands under his belly, and put his hind legs on the ground to encourage him to push off and over my hand.

He still has a ways to go to be 100%, but I think a lot of that is probably due to atrophy and now that he has regained use, the muscles will strengthen with time. Thanks all for your input and support.

MelissaW80

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:13 pm


I got some of the ideas from this video if anyone else is seeking help with a similar situation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTLZNqE1Psg

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:47 pm


It sounds like your regimen worked! Thanks for sharing it with us.

User avatar
daveandtiff

Post   » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:03 pm


Melissa, what a great job on working with him and for giving detail on what you did. I'm sure the prayer helped, too :)

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:33 pm


Excellent, excellent job caring for him. Kudos to you! Job well done and thanks for the update!!

Lynx/Tracis, can this thread be linked to in the Records forum?

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:36 pm


Where would you put the link?

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:47 pm


Either in the "Bones" (skeletal) section, or possibly create a new section for paralysis/partial paralysis.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:52 pm


A new forum named Neurology perhaps?

Post Reply
22 posts