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Should I get my pig put down?

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I'm in a dilema as to whether or not to get our pig put down.

Her name is Josie and she is at least 6 years old, possibly 7. She started losing weight rapidly last summer. We took her to the vet and he found that as well as having blood in her urine she also had a very high level of white blood cells in her blood indicating some sort of infection. He diagnosed a bladder infection and he put her on anti biotics for a couple of weeks. He repeated the tests and her urine was fine, but there were still white blood cells in her blood, albeit not as many as there had been two weeks previously. He said that he could find nothing else wrong with her and that we should monitor her condition.

Fast forward to October - we noticed that she was moving quite slowly and that her back legs had become stiff, we presumed that this was just due to her age and thought nothing of it since she was still eating well. Then one morning about 4 weeks ago when I went to feed the pigs (it was below freezing outside, but the pigs live in our spare room) I noticed that Josie had trouble standing up and was dragging her back legs behind her. So we took her to the vets again, another x ray showed that she had "slight" arthritis in her back legs which was probably agitated by the cold weather outside. He prescribed us pain killers and some homeopathic drops for her joints. Inititially her joints became better and she was moving around ok, but since the weekend (again temperature drop outside) she has hardly any control over her back legs and just drags them behind her, to me it is almost like she has had a stroke. The vet said on Monday that we should perservere with the prescribed treatment and that in his opinion she just has arthritis, however since last weekend all she does is lie in her house, twisted up in her own excrement. She is however eating and doesn't SEEM to be in any pain.

We have had 2 pigs put down previously, but they were both lost causes and in both cases euthanasia was the right decision, but here we are not 100 percent certain. I have read about animals with arthritis becoming more mobile and responding well to a prolonged treatment, however I'm wondering whether she has more than just arthritis due to the blood tests from last summer that showed an unexplained infection. What do i do?
 

doglovinpiggylover

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awww really sorry about your situation, i dont know the answer sorry, but I'm sure others will be able to advise you, i just wanted to wish her well and say that if you do have to proceed at least she is a good age.

sending vibes for your girl x>>
 

flintstones

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The fact you are asking this question says to me it isn't time yet and you know it's not.

When the time comes you will know.
 
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My last rat had 2 strokes within a couple of months of each other, and lost the use of his back legs. He was just over 2 years old, and taught himself to eat with one paw and I'd groom him every night as he wasn't able to lift his back legs to scratch. Guinea-pigs obviously don't eat with their paws like rats, but the same applies for him as it does for her, he kept going regardless. If your girl is still wanting to eat, that is a very good sign she's not ready to go. Be it cruel to some to keep her alive, if they don't give up on life, you don't give up on them, because they know when its time. Sometimes you do have to decide for them, but in this case, it doesn't seem necessary, she's still with it for an old girl :)
 
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My last rat had 2 strokes within a couple of months of each other, and lost the use of his back legs. He was just over 2 years old, and taught himself to eat with one paw and I'd groom him every night as he wasn't able to lift his back legs to scratch. Guinea-pigs obviously don't eat with their paws like rats, but the same applies for him as it does for her, he kept going regardless. If your girl is still wanting to eat, that is a very good sign she's not ready to go. Be it cruel to some to keep her alive, if they don't give up on life, you don't give up on them, because they know when its time. Sometimes you do have to decide for them, but in this case, it doesn't seem necessary, she's still with it for an old girl :)

Do you think 6-7 is so old?

I am feeding her critical care at the moment and she is taking it by herself.

The thing that disturbs me is the fact that she is unable to walk properly. She was the most active of our pigs, the fastest and the hardest to catch :-(

The vet said on Monday that she hadn't had a stroke and that he was certain it was just arthritis. Has anyone else had experience with arthritis here?
 

flintstones

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Do you think 6-7 is so old?

I am feeding her critical care at the moment and she is taking it by herself.

The thing that disturbs me is the fact that she is unable to walk properly. She was the most active of our pigs, the fastest and the hardest to catch :-(

The vet said on Monday that she hadn't had a stroke and that he was certain it was just arthritis. Has anyone else had experience with arthritis here?

My Bette, had arthritis used to bunny hop, I'll be it she could still walk around. She was prescribed Metacam to help with the pain.

She's a good age, but I know people with older pigs. If she's still happy and getting around I see no reason to let her go just yet. I know she may not be able to walk but aslong as it's not affecting her mood and eating etc. I would bear with it.
 
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My Bette, had arthritis used to bunny hop, I'll be it she could still walk around. She was prescribed Metacam to help with the pain.

josie cant walk, her lower torso is pretty limp, but she can move her legs.
 

RabbitFan

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I try to make the decision on 'quality of life'. Does she have a quality of life left? Does she still show an interest in her surroundings? Is she getting sore from sitting in her own wee? If she lives with other piggies, does she still interact with them? These are the questions you've got to ask yourself. If you answer them honestly, you'll know what to do. Best wishes with your decision. You'll do the right thing because you love her. x>>
 

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If i was you i would wait a little longer aslong as she is eating and drinking and otherwise happy, keep going with the metacam and see what happens in a week. If the vet is sure that it is just arthritis and nothing else i would keep trying with the metacam, as you said the cold weather seems to be affecting her, maybe you could turn the radiators up on the room they are in and see if that helps?

I have a pig with arthritis and he is on metacam the dog suspension, he takes two drops twice a day and he seems to be responding well to it. My vet said that metacam can take quite a well to take affect. How long has your pig been on the metacam?
 

sarahchad

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This is probably a daft question but she's not lacking in vitamin c ?
 
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I asked our vet about metacom but he said that it shouldn't be used for more than 2 weeks because it can be damaging for the kidneys. Instead he has prescribed metamizol which is supposed to have less side effects and can be used for longer periods. She has been taking that for 3 weeks.

The room is nice and warm (21 - 22degrees), but I think it has more to do with the humidity. I can't explain it but there was a correlation between the temperature outside and her mobility.

She does interact with the other pigs - there are another 3, 1 boy (3.5yrs) and 2 girls (both 6yrs), although they are not sensitive to her condition and tend to snap at her when she doesnt move out of the way.

She doesnt have sores because we try to keep her clean, but she does smell of urine and her fur doesn't look healthy.
 
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she shouldnt have a vitamin c deficit. They eat fenchel, carrots, paprika, apples plus lots of hay and the occasional pellet as a treat.
 

Tommies Mam

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Before Prince Harry passed away (from cancer) he lost the use of his back legs but could still speed around in 2. I used to wipe him down every night with simple baby wipes to keep him clean and dry.
 

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With regards to the metacam you are able to use it over a long period of time, i have asked about the long term effects and yes it can cause kidney damage but that is over a very long time and if you use high doses regularly. I'm not sure about the medicine you have been given by your vet but I'm sure that someone with more experince than me can give you more information. I know that rimadyl is also used for pigs who dont seem to respond to metacam and this too has good results.

Is your vet a cavy vet?

:)
 
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With regards to the metacam you are able to use it over a long period of time, i have asked about the long term effects and yes it can cause kidney damage but that is over a very long time and if you use high doses regularly. I'm not sure about the medicine you have been given by your vet but I'm sure that someone with more experince than me can give you more information. I know that rimadyl is also used for pigs who dont seem to respond to metacam and this too has good results.

Is your vet a cavy vet?

:)

He was recommended by a local gp sanctuary. We have been using him for 4 years and he has always been very competent.
 
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Lol, 6-7 years old is well past her "sell-by-date" :p the eldest pig I've had was 6 and a half and never had a single problem! He was my first pig when I was 9 so he lived through my early teens with me, my little side-kick :p

But no, seriously that's a brilliant age and to still be interested in food when not exactly fit as a fiddle, she's doing well. If it was a stroke, she'd have changed over night, arthritis does come on dramatically (especially in cold weather) as well but considering she'd already been treated with it, it's likely what it is.

Like someone else said, quality of life is important to look at as well. She has to be living comfortably, and if she's laying in her own pee and poop, you'd probably need to change it on a regular basis throughout the day or when needed so she's not getting burns from it on her paws, her genitals and her belly. Or you could move her little house.. I think you mentioned she goes into? To give her clean bedding to lay on :)
 
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We have decided to give her til Monday, if her condition deteriorates hen we will have to take her to the vet.

We both work during the day so cant keep an eye on her 24/7, but we clean out the muck from under her house twice a day and make sure that she is able to eat in peace. The others try and nick her food because she cant eat as fast.

Thanks all for your tips and advice. Will let you know how things develop.
 
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