Weak back legs

Post Reply
User avatar

Post   » Wed Dec 03, 2003 1:47 am

My poor little Rajah has lost partial use of his back legs! I noticed last night that he was struggling to get up his ramp and ended up lying down in the middle of it with his back legs sticking straight out behind him (like a frog). He never lies like that, it's always on his side with his legs sticking out, or upright with his legs tucked under him. So I got all panicky and put him on the ground to see if he could walk ok. He could get around still but with difficulty. He he sort of dragged his back legs, then took a few wobbly steps and then dragged his legs again.

So I took him to the vet today, fearing the worst. We x-rayed him and the vet had a good feel of his legs, knees and back. The x-rays looked fine in terms of damage, there doesn't appear to be anything broken or injured, but he does have REALLY bad arthritis in his knees.

As bad as his knees are however, it doesn't explain the weakness in his back legs. He has purposeful movement in his legs so the vet doesn't think there is a neurological problem, or a spinal cord injury. The only thing we can think of is that perhaps he hurt his back falling off the ramp, and that rest and resticted activity will help. He doesn't appear to be in pain, even when the vet manipulated his legs and felt his back, but he's looking into doses for pig-safe anti-inflammatories to speed his recovery and help with any pain he MAY be having. (I was trying to view the meloxicam dosing chart since that's the drug my vet was going to look into for him, but when I clicked the download link it said I was not allowed to view that page, any way to get around that??)

I don't think Rajah is overweight (he only weighs 2lbs 8oz) but the vet thinks he is and losing a few ounces will help take some of the burden off his knees. So poor Rajah is in a 1x2 section of his cage (so he can still socalize with his harem without being able to move around a whole lot) with lots of hay and a very few pellets. He has to stay in there for at least a week, in which time he will hopefully re-gain the use of his legs. Hopefully the vet will have some meds for me soon too.

Has anyone ever gone through anything like this? Everything else is normal, he's eating well, drinking well, pooping up a storm, and happily rumblestrutting for his ladies, but no indication of what could be causing the weakness in his legs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

User avatar

Post   » Wed Dec 03, 2003 1:58 am

Up his Vitamin C intake to 50-100mg/daily. I don't have any other advice, but additional Vit. C can't hurt.


Post   » Wed Dec 03, 2003 1:58 am

How old is he? And what do you feed him?

It sounds a bit like scurvy. Does he get a lot of vitamin C-enriched veggies each day? At least a cup?

User avatar

Post   » Wed Dec 03, 2003 2:16 am

He is 4 1/2, and he gets Oxbow Cavy Cuisine, timothy hay, water and veggies (parsley, green pepper, carrots, romaine, tomato, kale, cucumber, apple). He eats an oxbow vitamin C tablet every day too.....


Post   » Wed Dec 03, 2003 4:38 am

Yes, that's what happens with arthritis. The weather can affect them a lot. Beaches drags her legs if she's been lying down for a while and she has arthritis in her knees. When the weather shifts, she is worse.

You are in luck though. You are in easy reach of an animal physical therapist who deals a lot with arthritis in pigs.


She's on vacation until the 6th but you can book an appointment through the Animal Critical Care Group. Bring his xrays and she will give laser treatments and show you how to do it at home.

In the meantime, get him on Cartrophen and an NSAID. You can also give a drop of vet grade vitamin E and a pinch of vet grade glucosamine.

Treatment and physio makes a huge difference.

User avatar

Post   » Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:38 am

Thanks Pinta!

So you think the arthritis IS the cause of his weakness.....

I can get metacam/meloxicam, glucosamine, vitamin E, and cartophen from work so that's great. Do you know the dosing for meloxicam though? I tried to download it from the "first hand medical accounts" but it said access for me was denied. I guess I would need to know how much cartrophen to give too. This is my vet's first time seeing this in a guinea pig so he's looking into it for me, but any help I can give him would speed things up! I'm going to ask him for a referral to animal critcal care as well, that would be fabulous if it helped him. He's such a loving little pig.


Post   » Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:16 pm

I was going to email you my vet's info so your vet could consult re doses etc. but your email is not operating.

Yes, I think arthritis IS the cause of the weakness.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 1:58 am

I fixed my e-mail, it should work now.

My regular vet was away today so I had a long chat with his replacement (she works at your clinic every now and then so I think you know her) Anyways she agreed that it is more likely the arthritis rather than a back injury causing him to drag his legs and so we sat down with some syringes and a calculator and worked out a dose for metacam. Originally she said one drop a day but said maybe start with a half drop to see if he tolerates it ok. She also said the glucosamine was a good idea but wanted me to talk to my regular vet about the cartrophen etc.

The metacam was easy, we diluted it so that I can give him the small amount easier, and I just syringed it to him, but the glucosamine is a powder so I'm finding it harder to give. I added water and made a runny slurry to syringe him but it was quite messy. Any suggestions? I was going to try sprinkling it on his veggies tomorrow.


Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:31 am

Which locum was that? Wendy Royal? There's a couple I know and I think they're both Wendys. Come to think of it I already sent you my vet's name so you probably have it. Let me know if you need it again.

I dip my finger tip into the glucosamine powder and wipe it against their mouths. Very easy.

I just had all my arthritis pigs in today for their monthly cartrophen booster. It's worth doing. They seem to do better with cartrophen.

The Physio will be able to help the most. She is also excellent at readjusting out-of-line jaws.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 12:18 pm

Yes it was Dr. Royle, I really like her, she knows a lot about these little guys, so does my vet but I'd love the name of your vet again in case mine needs more info (I know the clinic name, just forget your vets name). He's in today so I'll chat with him about the cartophen and physio. Thanks so much.

My friends were laughing at me for considering physio until I asked them if they would do if for their dogs, that stopped them pretty quick.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:00 pm

This is an old thread but I just wanted to thank-you again for your help.

Rajah did really well on the arthritis treatments for 7 months. He was doing so well you would never have known his knees were so bad. He passed away very suddenly though in June while at the vets. He wouldn't eat that moring and while we were developing his x-rays he just died. The x-rays determined he had a very large mass in his chest.

Anyways you guys helped me a lot while he was ill (not just his arthritis but his bladder problems) and I just wanted to thank you.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:11 pm

I'm sorry you lost him. It sounds like you gave him the best of care.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:32 pm

I know words don't help but I'm very sorry that you lost him.

User avatar
Barbara Osborn
Supporter from '05 - '12

Post   » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:10 pm

Rajah, you were so loved by Hedra. How she took good care of you. June was a sad month for your family.

Time can be a salve for your loss, I do hope that at this time you only have dear remembrances of Rajah. No regrets.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:29 pm

Aw thanks for your kinds words. I still miss him tons. He was 6 years old and he and his sister were my first guinea pigs, so he was kind of my favourite. His four cage mates are still around though and help me feel a lot better.

Unfortunately he passed away 2 weeks before my wedding so June was sort of a mixed emotions month.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:32 pm

I'm sorry for your loss.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:46 pm

I'm sorry to hear he's gone too. But glad he had a few good months.

Post Reply
17 posts • Page 1 of 1