• Discussions taking place within this forum are intended for the purpose of assisting you in discussing options with your vet. Any other use of advice given here is done so at your risk, is solely your responsibility and not that of this forum or its owner. Before posting it is your responsibility you abide by this Statement

Concerned About Piggy After Dental And Foot Surgery

Status
Not open for further replies.

PiggyRitz

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
9
Reaction score
19
Points
70
Location
Bristol, UK
Hi all, I'm just after some thoughts regarding Guzzie (our un-neutered boar) and a few problems he's been grappling with recently.

He lives with his brother Guinness, another un-neutered boar. They're almost five years old. A couple of months back I was trimming their claws and having just done one of Guzzie's front feet, I turned him round to get at the other one and was horrified to find it swollen to a ball that seemed to go almost up to the top of his leg. We had given him a bath two nights previously when clearing an anal impaction (something he is bothered by fairly frequently) and both feet were perfectly normal then.

We discovered the swelling on a Friday night, minutes after his usual vet had closed for the weekend (naturally!), so first thing the next morning we took him to another branch of the same practice. The vet told us that it wasn't bumblefoot but said there was a possibility it could be a tumour. Because of the risks of anaesthetic it was decided not to investigate any further - he was on pain killers for a week and antibiotics for three, after which the swelling went down considerably and the vet said he'd always have a lumpy foot.

He's always been a big piggy (someone I knew who has been owned by lots of piggies said he's the biggest piggy she's ever seen), and I can actually remember commenting recently that his smaller brother (who was never exactly Twiggy piggy either) was catching up with him. Oh, for the benefit of hindsight.

We have a big rug that we get out for them for floor play every evening, and last Friday (again, minutes after the vet had closed for the weekend!), my daughter was offering Guzzie a slice of apple and noticed that he was repeatedly extending his head towards it and then jerking it back again. It took minutes to establish that he would only eat very small pieces of food and, worse still, just what a lot of weight he'd lost. I think I'll feel bad about this until my dying day for not noticing this sooner - Guinness wasn't getting as big as Guzzie, Guzzie had got as small as Guinness.

We gave him finely chopped food all weekend and took him to his usual vet first thing on Monday morning. She confirmed his weight loss, said his jaw felt very strange, asked us if he'd been dropped (he hadn't), looked in his mouth and eventually established that his back teeth had grown so long (in an arch which almost met over his tongue) that he couldn't close his mouth. A procedure under general anaesthetic was the only option, and so it was agreed they'd look at his lumpy foot at the same time. This was arranged for the next day, which turned out to be one of the longest days of my life ever.

Just before lunchtime, when we'd been told we'd be able to pick him up if all went well, the practice rang to say he was having difficulty coming through the anaesthetic and we'd need to wait until six-ish to pick him up as they wanted to keep an eye on him. They said that after sorting out his teeth they'd found that the problem had caused his jaw to drop and that only time would tell if he'd eat comfortably again. In addition, they'd been unable to diagnose the problem with his foot as it had bled so badly that they'd had to do everything they could just to stop the flow. If the leg becomes worse in any way in the future, amputation is likely to be the only option.

Much to our relief, we did get to bring him home at the end of the day. Happily, although understandably a little subdued he was eating his finely chopped salad almost as soon as he got home, inviting his brother to hump his head(!) and hobbling about on a leg bandaged with blue vet tape. As arranged, we took him to the vet again the next morning. She told us he was progressing well, showed us how to change the bandage every other day (he helpfully tears it off himself every day to let us know it needs doing sooner!) and arranged to see him on Wednesday to remove the cotton wool plugging his wound. She also checked his back legs after my husband expressed concerns with the way he was walking but could find nothing wrong. As well as changing his bandage, we're giving him anti-biotics and pain killers fed via syringe each day.

When my husband first mentioned his worries to me I could see nothing wrong with Guzzie's back legs either and fully expected the vet's answer. Now that the vets have closed for the long bank holiday weekend (of course!), it's blindingly obvious that something odd is going on. Whether it's normal is what's bothering me. It was barely noticeable at first - he'd wobble along for a bit and then teeter over on to his bum on the side of the unbandaged leg, then fold that back leg beneath him and sit down with his little back legs crossed together. Understandable enough, but then after a while he decided that he wouldn't bother with the getting back up properly thing again and would just hobble around standing on one un-bandaged front leg, one bandaged one and dragging his bum round behind him in a semi-seated position with his back legs crossed to one side beneath. He's still standing up properly sometimes and even running a little so I know he can do it, but I'd swear he's not standing straight and he's not doing it often.

We've also been clearing impactions almost constantly since he's got home, to the point where we were so worried that we put him in a cage on his own last night so that we could see if he was eliminating anything at all without help. I haven't found a single turd or puddle in there all day, but after we cleared another impaction tonight he half-passed a turd (the type like a bunch of grapes) on the rug, which my husband eventually helped him out with. He's currently got another one on it's way out, which we hope he can pass properly on his own. He is eating and drinking well and tackling pieces of food that are quite a bit bigger now. We dragged out my old postage scales and implemented a weekly weighing system for both piggies the day after he had his op so that big losses would not get past us ever again, and weighed him again this morning. He's not gained anything since the op, but hasn't lost anything either.

So... what I'm really worried about, as well as the cage free of poop and pee today thing, is the weird way he's getting around. Hopefully I'll be successful in attaching a picture showing him in the sitting position (his blue bandage should be partly visible, but he is the lighter coloured piggy in the foreground). Imagine him standing up at the front in that position, putting his weight on his un-bandaged leg then half-rising at the back, legs still crossed to one side beneath him and dragging his bum behind him. I've often seen him sitting in this position in the past and it's normal enough for him. He's also well known for being bone idle and both he and his brother have frequently been called 'snake piggies' because of just how far they can stretch their front ends for food when lying down in order to avoid moving their bums.

Is he getting around like this because he's impacted? Because of the surgery and the bandage on his front foot? Because he's worn out after everything he's been through just lately and just can't be bothered yet? A combination of some or all of these things? Should I be worried, or is this something that will sort itself out as he recovers from all this? I'm sorry this is so long, but I'd be grateful for any answers.

IMAG1600.jpg IMAG1604.jpg
 

Lady Kelly

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
13,538
Reaction score
17,566
Points
2,115
Location
Leicester
How cavy savvy is your vet? He definitely looks like he's struggling a fair bit and I wonder if he's damaged something or perhaps has arthritis? My vet's aren't specialists but very knowledgeable, none the less they were still not skilled enough to recognise quite marked arthritis in my Bumbles lower spine.

Does he need to go for another post op check? If so I would take these photos along to show the vet. Something is clearly not right if he is dragging himself along
 

PiggyRitz

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
9
Reaction score
19
Points
70
Location
Bristol, UK
Wow, this forum brings quick results :) As soon as I hit the post button, my daughter ran upstairs to tell me that Guzzie had passed two turds. I went down to take a look and he is sitting (still cross-legged) cheerfully tucking into them :) Fingers crossed that he'll start walking properly again soon too.
 

PiggyRitz

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
9
Reaction score
19
Points
70
Location
Bristol, UK
How cavy savvy is your vet? He definitely looks like he's struggling a fair bit and I wonder if he's damaged something or perhaps has arthritis? My vet's aren't specialists but very knowledgeable, none the less they were still not skilled enough to recognise quite marked arthritis in my Bumbles lower spine.

Does he need to go for another post op check? If so I would take these photos along to show the vet. Something is clearly not right if he is dragging himself along
Thanks, Lady Kelly. The vet has always come across as cavy savvy, but it surprises me that she said she had never seen a dental issue like Guzzie's as I did some research as soon as we found out what the problem was and as far as I can tell it is not uncommon. I will give the surgery a ring at the first opportunity and will see what they say, and will show the vet the photos on my phone when he is seen again.
 

Poppy'sMum

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
5,471
Reaction score
2,138
Points
1,120
Location
Dear old Blighty UK
I'm wondering if he has sustained some nerve damage during his op :( Please start syringe feeding him, try to get little & often in him to keep his system moving, the bunch of grapes poop is usually because their guts have been affected from the anaesthetic. How long ago was his op? A week? When did he start sitting like that? It's certainly not normal & if your vet is open tomorrow morning I would get him seen asap.
 

PiggyRitz

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
9
Reaction score
19
Points
70
Location
Bristol, UK
Thanks, Poppy'sMum. He had his op on Tuesday (four days ago). My husband thought there was something wrong with the way he was using his back legs afterwards and mentioned it repeatedly, but no matter how hard I looked, I couldn't see it. The vet only checked his back legs because my husband asked her to and said she couldn't see a problem. Guzzie squeaked loudly and lots when she did it, which is not typical of him - he's very much an 'I'm not about to show weakness to potential predators here' kind of piggy. It's been very obvious since then that something isn't right somewhere and I can't help wondering if the vet accidentally hurt him because he was wriggling a lot while she checked too, but my husband is adamant that the problem existed before she looked.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
70,231
Reaction score
40,483
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Thanks, Poppy'sMum. He had his op on Tuesday (four days ago). My husband thought there was something wrong with the way he was using his back legs afterwards and mentioned it repeatedly, but no matter how hard I looked, I couldn't see it. The vet only checked his back legs because my husband asked her to and said she couldn't see a problem. Guzzie squeaked loudly and lots when she did it, which is not typical of him - he's very much an 'I'm not about to show weakness to potential predators here' kind of piggy. It's been very obvious since then that something isn't right somewhere and I can't help wondering if the vet accidentally hurt him because he was wriggling a lot while she checked too, but my husband is adamant that the problem existed before she looked.
Hi and welcome

It does rather look like Guzzy may have sustained some damage during the op.
Please weigh her daily at the same time and top her up with syringe feed and water. Up to 80% of the daily food intake is hay, so you need to make sure that she has got everything within easy reach, from hay to water to her other foods.

With a guinea pig with limited mobility, it is important to change the area she is sitting/sleeping in most often in 2-3 times daily. If she is no longer able to clean herself, please gently wipe her bum with a hand warm damp cloth and dry afterwards in order to prevent urine scald and skin lesions.
Also regularly check the foot pads. If a guinea pig cannot use their back legs well, this means that the pressure is going to other points, especially the front legs which she may no longer be able to take the weight off when lying down. This can lead to bumblefoot (foot infection) in the longer term; you notice irregular reddish dots/circles and then open sores. Make sure that disinfect and care for the pads regularly in order to prevent this.

There is unfortunately not a lot you can do. You can gently massage the legs if she will allow it. Have her seen again if it doesn't get any better. If necessary, take a video of her movements to show your vet.

Here are our post-op and syringe feeding care tips:
Tips For Post-operative Care
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
 

Tiamolly123

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Messages
7,099
Reaction score
4,284
Points
1,375
Location
Binfield, berkshire
Any luck with an answer to her problem, I know Wiebke says there is not a lot you can do, but I think I'd still have her vet checked so at least you know what's wrong & how long will it take to heal.
If I was you I would look at the vet locator about & get a savvy vet. If they were competent this wouldn't have happened. If you do change vets just check if they are all piggie savvy or book an appointment with anyone that is.
 

PiggyRitz

New Born Pup
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
9
Reaction score
19
Points
70
Location
Bristol, UK
Thanks so much to everyone for your responses - much of the advice was followed. Sadly, the vet discovered a new lump on Guzzie's back knee and a lump on his spine, pointing to neurological damage, probably due to a tumour. Treatment was possible, but the likelihood was it would only prolong discomfort and difficulties that he would be unable to come back from. After five years of being lucky enough to be able to bring nothing but some of the immeasurable joy and happiness into his life that he brought into ours, we decided our brave, beautiful and amazing boy had suffered as much as he was going to. We told him we'd love him forever and a day, promised we'd always look after his brother for him and then we let him go. His body is now at rest in the garden and I'd like to think his spirit has gone to a heaven where he can watch as much Lovejoy as he likes and where parsley and alfalfa chunks are in constant supply.

I love so you much, Guzbucket, more than you'll ever know xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 

Swissgreys

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
6,677
Reaction score
13,622
Points
1,965
Location
Zürich, Switzerland
So sorry for your loss, but it really does sound like you had tried everything possible and made the kindest decision for him.
 

Claire W

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
24,508
Reaction score
12,551
Points
2,415
Location
Lancashire (Originally from Nottingham)
I am so very sorry for your loss :(

Please feel free to write a tribute in our Rainbow Bridge section if you wish.

He was very lucky to have had such a wonderful life with you xx
 

TAN

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
3,245
Reaction score
1,186
Points
845
Location
Wiltshire
Big hugs to you - there was absolutely nothing else you could have done - I have a fantastic piggy savvy vet in Dursley at Vale Vets called Rachel Mowbray - she looks after all mine and has pigs of her own - can spay in her sleep and has all the latest state of the art equipment - her second in command Alison White is really good as well and you are only talking about £25 for a consult and they have an emergency out of hours service all over the weekend as well - might just be worth taking down their telephone number and googling them for future reference.
 

Guinea Slave

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
2,492
Reaction score
2,177
Points
1,025
Location
Hampshire
Thanks so much to everyone for your responses - much of the advice was followed. Sadly, the vet discovered a new lump on Guzzie's back knee and a lump on his spine, pointing to neurological damage, probably due to a tumour. Treatment was possible, but the likelihood was it would only prolong discomfort and difficulties that he would be unable to come back from. After five years of being lucky enough to be able to bring nothing but some of the immeasurable joy and happiness into his life that he brought into ours, we decided our brave, beautiful and amazing boy had suffered as much as he was going to. We told him we'd love him forever and a day, promised we'd always look after his brother for him and then we let him go. His body is now at rest in the garden and I'd like to think his spirit has gone to a heaven where he can watch as much Lovejoy as he likes and where parsley and alfalfa chunks are in constant supply.

I love so you much, Guzbucket, more than you'll ever know xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Your post brought a tear to my eye. You clearly loved him so much and gave him that final gift of releasing him from pain. You sound like such a lovely guinea family. Sleep well little Guzbucket, you sounded amazing. Hugs to you all xxxxx
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top