Miracle Pig...

Angle

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Hello, I've come to share the story of one of my miracle pigs, Pumpkin.

We adopted Pumpkin 3 years ago, along with another piggy friend, Toffee. We bought him from a house that we thought was abandoned, but don't worry, the previous owners cared for the pigs really well and were just bad at finishing renovations. They told us, "Buy this one, he's friendly and has a shiny coat." Of course, we thought to buy him, for his coat was really beautiful, it was a shiny gold.
Little did we know, this 'shiny gold', would be catastrophic.

We brought them home and let them get accustomed to their new cage, etc.

*Fast forward 2.5 years and 2 adoptions later*
We started to notice that Pumpkin would have stuck poops, so we did a bit of research, and found that he had a suffering from'impaction'. Impaction means that the guinea pig can't push their poop out properly, due to pains in the lower body. He was also starting to walk less, because of the pain in his lower body. For a week or so, we were manually cleaning his bottom multiple times a day, before deciding to take him to a guinea pig rescue owner, who's very experienced with guinea pigs, and in this case, more likely to figure out what was wrong with him rather than our local vet.

At first, she thought he was just a weak guinea pig and prescribed him some painkillers to take twice daily, which would help him walk a bit easier. But then, she took him out in the sun, (she runs a small youtube channel and needed lighting), and realised Pumpkin had the satin gene. We didn't exactly know what this meant when she first said it, but she explained the consequences of satin pigs.

I'm just gonna briefly explain the satin gene-
The satin gene is a particular gene that effects the appearance of a guinea pig's coat. It is not a breed. The coat would appear much shinier in the sun, much like silky human hair rather than the stereotypical matte guinea pig coat. Guinea pigs with this gene increased in popularity due to the shiny appearance of the coat, and therefore many guinea pigs were left to suffer if they were a carrier of SS.
Common symptoms of SS include:
- Fibrous Osteodystrophy
- dental abnormalities
- lameness

Yep, our guinea pig had this. He had severe osteodystrophy, and his leg bones were getting weaker and weaker. Each and every day, Pumpkin was getting worse and worse and worse. Only 2 weeks after that visit to the rescue, he could barely walk. The most he could do was hobble and few centimetres before succumbing to the pain and lying there. He could barely eat, we had to hand feed him everyday, with a drop of his painkiller on a small leaf of kale. He would lie on his side to try and get the weight of his legs. Probably the most noticeable effect was, his once ginormous balls, had shrunken and could barely be seen. It was horrible, to see him lying in pain and we knew it was only a matter of time, before he would have to go to Paradise.

We had another guinea pig, Bootsie, and something about Pumpkin's scent really attracted him. All day, he would jump up against the enclosure side to try and get to him. If he got the fleece that Pumpkin used previously, he would lick it and try to wrap himself in it. So we thought, if Pumpkin's going soon, we may as well let Bootsie in with him for a while. We kept a close eye on him, because we knew that Bootsie was hOrnY, and any humping would be too much for Pumpkin's bones to handle. We let him in for about 5 minutes each day, as Pumpkin got worse. We wondered how Bootsie would take the loss.

At this point, Pumpkin was practically lying on his death bed. The only movement he could do was to slightly twist his body. Walking was out of the question. Even the painkillers were no help at this point. He had lost so much weight, you could see his bones and likely weighed less than 600g.

So we tried one last thing. We cracked open a tablet of probiotic powder and sprinkled some on a leaf. Within a weak, his poops were become slightly larger and sturdier. He still couldn't walk though. 3 weeks later, he could hobble about 10 centimetres, and he ate slightly more. A month later, I decided to feed him some pumpkin (cannibalism, I know). And... he WALKED! I couldn't believe my eyes at all. he walked the entire length of the cage for FOOD. We kept on feeding him probiotics and he kept on getting fatter and fatter, hungrier and hungrier.

Now a few months later, he eats the most out of all our boys, and constantly looks for food. He eats so much hay and walks around just because he can. He still does take pain killers, but only once a day.
 

Bill & Ted

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What an amazing story about Pumpkin, so glad he is doing so well, have you a photo of Pumpkin X
 

Angle

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i dont have any pictures from when he was sickly, he was so skinny and hi honestly looked like he could just die tomorrow.
yet he never did.
 

Lady Kelly

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Oh wow it certainly sounds like he had some complex health conditions alongside a gut imbalance for the probiotics to make that much difference. The difficulty with guinea pigs is they are prey animals so can hide illnesses really well and sometimes without having a vet do an overall check underlying conditions can go unnoticed. Sounds like he is on the mend though
 

Angle

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Oh wow it certainly sounds like he had some complex health conditions alongside a gut imbalance for the probiotics to make that much difference. The difficulty with guinea pigs is they are prey animals so can hide illnesses really well and sometimes without having a vet do an overall check underlying conditions can go unnoticed. Sounds like he is on the mend though
most definitely getting better. He's a fighter.
Since he was so weak, he couldn't eat much (even though we hand fed him), which made him even weaker, and then the cycle kept going on and on. But I suspect that the probiotics helped him feel a bit hungrier, so when he ate a bit more, he gained strength and cotinued to get better.
 

Lady Kelly

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most definitely getting better. He's a fighter.
Since he was so weak, he couldn't eat much (even though we hand fed him), which made him even weaker, and then the cycle kept going on and on. But I suspect that the probiotics helped him feel a bit hungrier, so when he ate a bit more, he gained strength and cotinued to get better.
If you were mostly handfeeding veggies then that could upset his stomach too. If you aren't already I would look to syringe some mushed up pellets or recovery food to help keep his guts moving though hay should be 80% of his diet so try handfeeding fresh strands of hay too
 

Eddie & Elvis

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What an amazing recovery well done Pumpkin and of course his slave too! 😃
 

Angle

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If you were mostly handfeeding veggies then that could upset his stomach too. If you aren't already I would look to syringe some mushed up pellets or recovery food to help keep his guts moving though hay should be 80% of his diet so try handfeeding fresh strands of hay too
now he's never hand fed, and can eat like a normal boy, it was just when he was sick and didnt have the energy to get the food himself. He eats plenty of hay, so don't worry. Now hes either eating dinner/brekker or chewing on his hay.
 

Merab's Slave

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So happy to read this story - thank you so much for sharing it with us.
Pumpkin owes so much to your love and care.
He’s a lucky boy to have found a home with you.
 
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