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Anyone Have Experience Of Guinea Pig Stroke Recovery?

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Blobfish

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Hi everyone,

I have sadly had a very bad few weeks. I had two 'special needs' guinea pigs - both 3.5 year old brothers with chronic bloating problems. Sadly I lost my boy 'Blob' three weeks ago to liquid bloat (he's the one in my profile pic) - I had left him with an animal boarder over a weekend, and his symptoms had gone unnoticed.
Anyway, my last surviving piggy 'Bramble' suddenly had a stroke yesterday morning. I rushed him straight to the vets, expecting that he would need to be put to sleep. His eyes were moving rapidly and repeatedly side-to-side, his head was gently moving side to side too, and he could only walk slowly in circles. It was awful to see, and such a surprise as 10 minutes earlier I had had him out and he had been fine and seemingly happy.
Surprisingly the vet told me that it is common for guinea pigs to actually make a good recovery following a stroke, and they wanted to keep him in to monitor him. I've called up today and he is apparently doing fairly well. He is eating a bit on his own, although not completely recovered.
Has anyone got any experience of guinea pigs recovering from stroke? Any advice would be welcome. Obviously if Bramble can not properly recover, and if his quality of life will be low, I will have to seriously think about what is the kindest and best option for him going forward. But if he can recover, that would be great. Is full and complete recovery common? Does it take a very long time? Is there anything that can be done to help this?

Thanks x
 

Wiebke

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Firstly, I am very for your loss!

It depends on the severity of the stroke; guinea pigs can make a full recovery.

You may have to top up your boy with syringe feeding at first if he is not eating fully; use mushed up pellets or a pellet/formula mix if necessary, for a more familiar taste.

Piggies are however more likely to have more strokes later on; like with humans - the first few weeks afterwards are the most critical time.

It depends on how you measure time - a month is nearly a year in guinea pig terms, so surviving several months is a much longer period than for us humans. As long as your boy is stable, well in himself and willing to live (i.e. eating), it is definitely worth buying him more time!

I did look after the frail survivor of a near fatal stroke and a massive eye infection earlier this year for a few weeks to give her all-day. She was a tiny guinea pig that had clearly things wrong with her, which was the reason why my friend got her from the p@h adoption section as she clearly needed to be in experienced hands. In the wake of Nimue's stroke and the eye infection, which she both battled through against all odds, Nimue had been left with a head tilt and a blind eye. Unfortunately, she had more small strokes after a few weeks, which meant that she was not able to chew well on her weak side and not able to have the dental care she required. But she was such a fighter and very much enjoyed her new life - as you can see in this little video!
 
D

DM030819

Is he walking around and eating okay now? One of my current boys has had two very similar episodes in the last year. Unfortunately the vet can only diagnose exactly what happens if she sees him when it's happening.
He circles around and around, and his eyes flick from side to side. He has recovered fully after each one. He's a bit subdued the same day, but is completely fine by the next. You wouldn't know anything just by looking at him.

I also had a pig a few years who had a more severe stroke. He lost the use of his back legs. I kept him separated for a week, helped him eat his veg and hay, and supplemented with hand feeding. I had to clean this cage twice daily as he couldn't move. The vet didn't have good hope for him, and he surprised us both when he slowly gained us of his legs again. Eventually he could walk, and trot, with a bit of a wobble. And he had a tilted head. He survived another 7 months or so, until I had to have him euthanized for a separate issue.
 

Blobfish

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Thank you @Jaycey and @Wiebke .

I am so pleased and relieved to say - Bramble made a full recovery! I couldn't believe it, I had no idea piggies are such resilient things when it comes to suffering a stroke.When I rushed him to the vets, I was convinced his time was up.

@Jaycey - yes Bramble looked similar to your video of Jon Snow. His eyes just kept moving side to side rapidly and repeatedly, his head gently swayed, and he could only move slowly in circles. The vet kept him in for two nights, and they did give him a bit of extra care, syringe feeding him etc. Although when I called up to see how he was, they did say he was also able to eat by himself a bit. He was even trying to nibble hay just after the stroke happened (even though he was walking in circles), so I think maybe his stroke was relatively mild. When I picked him up from the vets - approximately 54 hours after his stroke - he was completely fine! You wouldn't even realise anything had happened to him, I haven't noticed any head tilt and he was perfectly able to run about and was munching though his food. So I'm over the moon about all that :)

I've read that after one stroke, they may be susceptible to more. Some have suggested giving Arnica to prevent further stroke, so I will look into giving him that.
 
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