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Thread: Trouble with walking and balance.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Trouble with walking and balance.

    I got two female guinea pigs in May. It turns out one of them was already pregnant. Much to my surprise, Luna gave birth in June to one female, Lily.

    Lily is really sweet. She's the easiest to pick up of the three of them, and purrs a lot. But she's always had some trouble with walking and balance. She tends to wobble back and forth when she walks, and she frequently rolls over onto her side. It seems to be an issue with moving her hind legs. She can definitely move both of them, but she'll often have one or both legs stuck out awkwardly, and sometimes she seems to almost hop with them rather than moving them one at a time. She'll almost always fall over if she tries to stand up on her hind legs. She is at least able to get around the cage. She can manage basic activities on her own--eating, drinking, grooming, going to the bathroom. When she falls over, she might kick around a bit, but she'll get back up pretty quickly. She does best on a surface like paper bedding or carpet. If she tries walking on a smooth floor, newspaper, or cardboard, she slips a lot, like she can't get any traction with her hind legs.

    I took her to an exotic animal vet. She did an exam and X-rays, and couldn't find any sort of structural problem. Her best guess was that it was some sort of neurological condition. She said she didn't seem to be in pain, and didn't think it would get worse as she grew up.

    Lily's a little over three months old now, and up to about 15 ounces. Her walking hasn't changed dramatically, though sometimes I think she might be falling over more frequently than when she was younger.

    Does anyone have experience with conditions like this? Is there anything that would help her get around better? They all like running through a cardboard tube, but Lily tends to slip when she's in it. Is there another type of tube she'd get better traction in? Should I expect her to have any additional trouble when she's fully grown? What should I watch out for?

    I'll include a couple of videos. Thanks for any advice.


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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.


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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    The only thing I'd suggest is to add another water bottle and experiment with the height of it. I noticed she falls over when she turns her head to drink. If you place another one lower or higher, it might allow her to drink without turning her head. I'd never add a loft because she could fall down the ramp.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    Ditto @pinky. There shouldn't be any reason why she can't have a normal life.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    This looks a lot like how my Indiana was when I brought her home at around 3 months. She has neurological problems. As she has aged (she's 3 now) her behaviors have mostly become "normal", but if she gets excited or scared they come back. She also has scared pig events where she acts like she's being chased by an invisible monster. But, my vet has said she's healthy and should live a normal length life.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    She looks like a far less severe version of the baby i fostered, who couldn't balance well enough to nurse properly. I wouldn't bet on it getting better as she grows, but it is possible and she seems to be doing just fine. I'd suggest cutting the bottom out of the tube so she can keep walking on the floor while she runs through it.

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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    awww! shes just a little rolly- poly-er than normal!

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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll experiment with the water bottle and tube to see if I can make the cage a little more comfortable for Lily. I don't think she'll be breaking any speed records, but all in all, she's done pretty well so far.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    I've got a new question about Lily. She hasn't gained any weight for awhile, and I'm wondering if I should be concerned. She was born June 21, so she's a little over six months old now. For awhile, she was gaining weight at a pretty steady pace. By November 9, she was up to 17.7 oz. (502 grams). The next time I weighed her, she'd dipped down to 16.9 oz. (479 grams), which wasn't enough to concern me at the time. And she has recovered that weight loss, but she's never gotten much heavier, either. The highest I've ever measured is 18.1 oz. (513 grams). So, between Nov. 19 and today, she's always been between 16.9 oz. and 18.1 oz. (479 grams to 513 grams). I think her growth has definitely slowed since she was very young, but she still looks longer than she was in early November, so presumably she's gotten thinner, though it's not super obvious looking at her.

    She's pretty enthusiastic about eating, and is fairly active and seems to be in a good mood. I've read to start limiting their pellets after six months, but I'm keeping up with giving her some extra. It's a little tricky since she's living with two adults, and I don't want to give them unlimited food (except hay, of course). I probably could get Lily to eat at least a little more pellets and vegetables if I offered them more often, so that would probably be the obvious step if the weight is something to worry about.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here are a couple of photos. She often holds her leg out like that. (See the previous posts about neurological issues.)

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    Some pigs are just really small, while others are huge porkers. And she may have other issues related to her neurological condition.

    You could take her out of the cage a couple of times a day, plop her in a laundry basket, and feed her a few extra pellets and some extra veggies. But if her weight stable, and she eats the same foods the others eat, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If she loses and continues to lose, that's another matter altogether.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    Yeah, I guess I'm wondering if she's doing the equivalent of losing weight since I think she's getting longer but she's not getting any heavier. I found a picture of her on November 9 for comparison. (Half the pictures I take anymore are of guinea pigs, haha.) She weighed 17.7 oz. (502 gm) then, almost exactly what she weighs now.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cavy Slave kemmm's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with walking and balance.

    I don't have any helpful input, but just wanted to say that I hope she is okay and you get everything figured out. I watched the videos of her rolling over and it gave me a mixed flurry of emotions. I feel for her because it's not normal, but she is also ADORABLE with her little quirk. Good luck!

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