You might get some ideas from this thread.
The vets involved are at Angell Memorial in Boston. Your vet could consult with them.
All I can think of is keeping him immobilized - small space. A small container with a lid(holes in it of course) to keep him from struggling to get out. Towels over a hot water bottle can be arranged to almost suspend him.
If I get any more info I´ll post.
Sometimes confinement to a very small area causes the cavy to panic or try to escape - which will defeat the purpose of keeping him quiet. Depression from this confinement can also hinder recovery.
I´ve never tried to bandage a back injury, but I wonder if wrapping the pig with an ACE bandage or VetWrap would provide enough support to protect the injured spine. This may be possible if the injury is mid to upper back, where you can criss-cross wrap around the front legs. I don´t know how practical it would be for a lower back injury though, as wrapping around the hind legs probably won´t work very well. Best bet would be to talk with an exotics vet that has treated cavy back injuries before, to see if a wrap would help - and not hurt - recovery.
If the injury can tolerate some movement, I would put the cavy in a comfortable travel-size cage for now. Something like 24" X 12" or 24" X 18". The cage should open big at the top, so the cavy can be easily lifted out. Use a flat towel on the floor of the cage.
Keep food in a very shallow dish, something like a cheap ashtray, so the cavy can easily reach down to eat. Walmart sells small glass ashtrays for about a buck. Keep the water bottle tube low also, and if the cavy has trouble even with that, put some water in a shallow ashtray.
A heating pad can be put under one end of the cage, but give the cavy plenty of area to move away from it if he doesn´t want the heat.
Rimidyl (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) can help with the pain and any inflammation. Or the vet might want to consider prednisone (a glucocorticosteroid) for this. You might also want to consider giving metoclopramide (Reglan) for a while to help keep his digestion moving. It´s not uncommon for cavies to bloat or have digestion problems due to trauma. A vitamin C supplement is also a good idea, as vitamin C is important for healing injuries.
This cavy may need to be syringe feed and watered for a while until his body has a chance to start healing and the pain subsides. Critical Care would be a very big help here. I don´t know if I´d want to do SQ fluids with the injuries he has. I´d be afraid of additional pain or damage if he fights the injection.
Sometimes sick or sore cavies are more willing to eat softened pellets rather than hard pellets. Put some pellets in a shallow dish, run warm water over them - then immediately drain the water out. Stir the pellets to separate. They will quickly soften and puff up.
Sick or sore cavies may be more willing to eat small guinea pig bite-size pieces of fresh food. Less work for them. Fresh grass would be great, and might perk his appetite. Some pet stores sell small tubs of fresh wheat grass and such during the winter.
I am guessing recovery will take quite some time. You may have to syringe feed/water this cavy for weeks. If the Rimadyl can help with the pain and make this cavy more comfortable, it´s worth giving him some time to try and heal himself.
Geez, good luck. I hope this poor little guy does OK.
I really think his appetite will improve if he isn´t hurting so much (based upon my experience with Sean).
Try little pieces of Romaine lettuce if grass isn´t available to tempt him.
If you are going to try the ACE bandage, then may I suggest that you use two splints--running the length of the gp along each side--and wrap around them? Of course, the vet and staff should do this. You would need lots of hands to keep the back in alignment during the wrapping process.
I´m so sorry. Best wishes to your gp. He is fortunate to have you. I´ll know you´ll do everything you can.
- I GAVE, dammit!
So try hard to bring him home. Worse case scenario, at least he will be in familiar surroundings and with those he loves and who love him.
Anyway, Happy is home and doing ok. Nothing stellar. This splint thing seems to be working and I have him in his own cage. He´s eating hay and pellets and bits of veggies. I´m still feeding him Critical Care and he readily sucks it up. I´m giving him vit C supplements too. The vet said to watch the splint to make sure it´s not rubbing any sore spots into his body. She said it may rub fur off depending how long he has to wear it but shouldn´t rub raw spots. I´ll have to take pictures to post. He´s quite a sight. I do think the other pigs are helping and the fact that´s he´s home. She did give me pains meds and Reglan to keep things moving thru. I´m feeding him a slurry too. I truly think he´ll be ok, but it´s going to take a while. She wants to see him next week, not sure if she´ll xray again. She thinks it´ll take 6-8 weeks for the fractures to heal.
Thanks for all the info. I´ll keep you posted on how´s he´s doing. He doesn´t move much, I put his pellets and water bottle right there for him and he´s on towels with hay, no bedding.
- Little Jo Wheek
Lynx: As for the carprofen (Rimadyl), yes, it can cause liver problems. It is an NSAID and all NSAIDS can cause liver problems. The incidence of reactions in fairly healthy animals is very slim. Even in dogs, we see very few with elevated liver enzymes, and good vets require blood chemistries before and during carprofen treatment. In cavies, it is a use your best judgement decision. I don´t see how it would be contraindicated unless there was a suspect or proven liver or kidney ailment (it can affect many organs). Lack of knowledge does make many vets wary of doing the right things for cavies. All I can say is that there are a few of us in the know who have used it safely for years. I know many formularies that list it for rabbits, but haven´t listed a cavy dose since cavy medicine has not reached house rabbit proportions.
Also, Patch´s fur is growing back. I threw Lance in with Patch and Streak b/c he seemed so lonely after Sable died. Patch´s skin is covered and it´s getting longer. So that it good. She also let me know what my bill would be for Happy. The wedding favor decision has been made thanks to Happy!!!! 437.85!
The 5mW laser pointers are in the range of $50 Can., and the 1mW ones are about $10 Can.
Hold the laser light directly on the spine where the fracture is(in physical contact) for 10 seconds(50 seconds for a 1mW strength beam). Repeat process every 1 cm. Do not be tempted to leave the light on the skin longer than the time stated for the strength of laser. Lasers can burn and damage tissue if left in contact too long.
Treat with the laser every OTHER day for a total of 20 treatments(40 days). Then take a complete break for a few weeks before the next session (if another session is necessary).
This treatment comes from an animal physical therapist and can be used to relieve pain and promote healing of wounds(place saran wrap film over wound if raw and apply laser beam directly to the protective plastic film). It can also be used for arthritis but it´s best to bring xrays of the joints to the therapist so she/he can show you exactly where to apply the beam for maximum results. And light laser treatment can be used to stimulate hair regrowth. The application and technique is the same for all of the above.
Do not ever use the laser around the eyes or point it at your own eyes or anyone else´s eyes.