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Thread: Spinal injuries (are not hopeless)

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    Cavy Slave cavydude74's Avatar
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    Spinal injuries (are not hopeless)

    We adopted two adolescent boars, Peanut and Walnut, back in December. Both boys were very healthy and happy and getting along great in their two story C&C cage. Roughly five and a half weeks ago we woke up to find our cute little teddy Peanut dragging his back legs behind him as he struggled to get to his hay. He was clearly very injured and we immediately rushed him to the animal hospital (our exotic vet was closed as it was a Saturday). After many hours waiting, he was finally x-rayed and it was discovered that he had crushed his 5th vertebrae and likely permanently damaged his spinal cord. The doctor advised that Peanut had no feeling on the rear end of his torso or his legs or feet and that his prognosis was extremely poor-to-grave. He recommended that we think hard about euthanizing him then and there, but since the kids hadn't had a chance to say goodbye to him, I took him home with some metacam, isolated him in a small 1x2 c&c enclosure and gave him lots of fun snacks and treats to make him comfortable. His spirits remained good, he showed a strong appetite, was still urinating and defecating without issue, and he remained eager to scoot around on his tummy. Since he didn't seem to be in any pain, we decided to give him some time to heal and basically hoped for a miracle.

    After a week or so without any visible improvement, we took him to our local exotic vet and were again advised to "think about getting another pig". We said we weren't ready to let him go yet and took him home with some steroids. The next week or two were especially tough for us from a moral perspective since we didn't know if he was in any real pain since prey animals will hide it. He still showed no function in his hind legs or feet, but we would take him out for floor time each evening and he would drag himself around with his front legs. He seemed to be getting speedier and friskier during floor time each day, but we assumed he was just adapting to his paralysis. During the day, he remained isolated in a small enclosure next to his bonded friend Walnut.

    About a week ago (four weeks after his injury) we thought we started to notice him trying to move his hind left leg to scratch himself, but it was so shocking and unexpected we weren't sure we had actually seen it. We would take him out for floor time and he would still drag his limp legs behind him. However, four nights ago, he just randomly got up on his hind feet and started limping around!!! We were so excited. The following night during floor time he began to actually walk, albeit stiffly, on all four legs again. The next night was even better, as he began to popcorn and sprint around. As of this evening, he still has some balance issues, but he's walking, running, popcorning, mounting his bud (haha) and grooming himself with his hind legs!!! Needless to say, we are over the moon with joy at his miraculous recovery and are so very grateful that we followed our intuition (and Peanut's lead) and proceeded with patience in giving him time to recover instead of euthanizing him.

    Anyhow, I wanted to share this story in case anyone runs into a similar situation. Remember that there is hope with spinal injuries. These guys are tough little buggers. As for how he was injured, it remains a complete mystery to us. We can only assume he tried to climb out of his cage or possible popcorned off the loft or bridge in his cage and landed on the edge of his feedbowl.

    If you have any questions, please post them here and I'll be sure to respond

  2. #2
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal injuries (are not hopeless)

    What an amazing story. I am so happy for Peanut, Walnut and for you that you really do seem to have had a miracle happen!

    If you don't mind, please keep posting updates on Peanut. Hoping this is a permanent recovery for him!

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    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal injuries (are not hopeless)

    I had a similar situation. One of my girls a few years back just suddenly lost use of her back legs overnight, I have no clue what she did to herself or how she did it. I took her to my usual vet but at the time they were unable to x-ray her and the closest vet who could was a 6 hr round trip away. Regardless my vet prescribed her an anti-inflammatory as that is all the help they could offer.

    I took her home and for the first 4 days things didn't look good, she didn't react when I would move her hind legs but I would take her out and exercise the back legs. She also adapted to belly scooting quite fast. On the fifth day when I took her out for her leg exercises there was the ever so slight amount of resistance of her trying to pull her legs towards herself and away from my hands. After that progress was slow but steady until after two weeks she was flailing her back legs in step like motions while belly scooting. Then two days later she was walking, wobbly steps and with not much balance but walking all the same. After a month she was back to normal. I did notice she didn't do as many zoomies post injury, but she lived and walked for 4 more years post injury.

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