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Thread: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

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    Cavy Slave
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    I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Hello all,

    I just adopted two sows from PetSmart (I know, I know, you shouldn't adopt from there but the nearest rescue is very far away and they needed a home because they couldn't put them out with the other pigs. I also have another sow from the "front display" that is perfectly healthy.)

    But anyways, these two girls have head tilt, and are perpetually dizzy from what I can tell. They have received treatment and special care and the only thing wrong is that they are constantly going in circles and sometimes run into things in the cage. One (she's brown and white) is pretty close to normal but the other (black and white) will fall over and go in circles for sometimes 1-2 minutes trying to get her bearings and she will stare at me with only her right eye and sometimes throw her head all the way back and stare.

    Another concern is that I believe that they are deaf, or at least partially deaf because my other pig will squeak and freeze when I accidentally hit the cage, but the duo will carry on and not flinch at all.

    They seem to be eating and drinking quite a bit and will lie down and sleep for a few minutes and keep eating or chew on their toys. I haven't put them in the big cage with my old girl because I want to make sure they are healthy first.

    So, my question/concern is if they will need any special care, like food and water at both ends of the cage (2x4 with fleece and a small cat litter box with hay and carefresh) since they are disoriented or anything like that. I'm also worried that my older piggy will not accept them. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you!

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    Cavy Slave KaileighRussell's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    I would suggest throwing a picture up of them if possible - it's easier to see what it could be when you see the head tilt.

    What did the vet there say? I would suggest going to a cavy savvy vet outside the PetSmart system as they are notorious for doing the smallest amount of work possible to try to sell their guinea pigs.

    I would not bring the guinea pigs back because chances are they are just going to tell you they're fine and give them back. I would say go to an experience vet and get them to run some tests for the best chance of a correct diagnosis. There may be other underlying health issues along with the deafness.

    What worries me is the running into things and falling over, which sounds neurological.

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    Cavy Star mufasa's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Did they give you any backstory on the piggies and why they couldn't be sold? Did Petsmart get them from their breeding mill, or were they turned in by someone who didn't want them? At @KaileighRussell said, it sounds like neurological symptoms with the one pig, so I'm wondering if there's a possibility she was injured somehow.

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    Cavy Slave Varcoda's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    it sounds like one of your girls might be blind/partially blind in one eye? it's best to take them to a vet for a proper checkup to determine what's wrong at least :)

    considering their behavior, you might want to make sure there's no second floor of the cage they can fall off from or sharp corners they can run into. you probably also need to keep a special eye out for them during floortime!

    good luck with your girls :)

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    I suspect that the girls were from the mill but they couldn't be sold normally (they didn't cost anything). The employee that helped me (who was very nice and really cared about them) said that she was one of the people who gave them meds and took them for checkups and all that and they were cured of whatever had caused the problem but they have a fluid imbalance in their brain/ears that causes them to be dizzy.

    There is a small animal vet nearby but I have no idea how expensive it would be. (We just paid thousands for treatment for our cat - but that's an entirely different story. And don't worry, the cats never come in contact with the pigs!)

    The cage doesn't have a second floor because the older one was too lazy to use it haha. I took a video so I'll try to put it on youtube and link it in this thread so you can see.

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    Cavy Slave meggymoomoo's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    https://sites.google.com/site/cjscav...escues/momma-g. Saw this when looking for my pigs anything like this? Hope it helped:)

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?



    This is a video I took when we first brought them home. The brown one was really happy. It's usually the black and white one that is going in circles.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    omg this is making my cry I hope they canbe helped.

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    Cavy Slave KaileighRussell's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Just from the video - at least the brown and white one I really want to say it's neuro either caused from illness or an injury. She may have been dropped at some point in the store and "treated" at Petsmart.
    I really really urge you to bring them both to a vet - especially the brown and white girly, this may have the potential to get worse and she may develop seizures. She very much needs a non-Petsmart vet.

    Are they still in that cage? If not I suggest at least a 2x4 C&C cage which gives her enough room to move around.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    @KaileighRussell They are in this cage just for the quarantine period, then they are (hopefully) moving in with my other pig in the 2x4 cage. Now the brown one isn't spinning furiously like that - I think she was just excited to have food and couldn't walk straight. The black one acts like there is something definitely neurologically wrong, as I said before she looks with only one eye and sits and stares. I'll talk to my parents about taking them to the vet.
    They are sweethearts and love to be held and cuddled. I really hope the vet can offer some help.

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    Cavy Slave theguineapigguy's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Quote Originally Posted by azkaland View Post
    @KaileighRussell They are in this cage just for the quarantine period, then they are (hopefully) moving in with my other pig in the 2x4 cage. Now the brown one isn't spinning furiously like that - I think she was just excited to have food and couldn't walk straight. The black one acts like there is something definitely neurologically wrong, as I said before she looks with only one eye and sits and stares. I'll talk to my parents about taking them to the vet.
    They are sweethearts and love to be held and cuddled. I really hope the vet can offer some help.
    Just thought i'd add this, I hope your upgrading your 2 by 4 too atleast a 2 by 5 because a 2 by 4 is a little small for 3 piggies im afraid.

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    Cavy Slave wheeek's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Not sure but I think head tilt can be from an ear infection.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    I'd get them to a good vet ASAP. It's possible they have nothing worse than ear infections, but the disorientation can become permanent if it's not treated promptly.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Quote Originally Posted by theguineapigguy View Post
    Just thought i'd add this, I hope your upgrading your 2 by 4 too atleast a 2 by 5 because a 2 by 4 is a little small for 3 piggies im afraid.
    I would love to give them a bigger cage but I don't have the money or the space. I spent the better part of three paychecks getting the C&C (which I built myself) and the fleece and food and toys and everything. I've seen pictures where people have attached their store-bought cage to the C&C as a kitchen. That would give an extra 1x2 that was originally used as the kitchen. But if I can't do that, I definitely won't put any more than 3 piggies in there. I'll also probably end up removing the litter box because my old girl isn't too fond of it.

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    Cavy Slave cheesypuffpea's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    DEFINITELY urge you to bring them to a vet asap. Hope they are okay! Please let us know how it goes.

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    Cavy Slave KaileighRussell's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Yes! Keep us updated when they're back from the vet!

    I would suggest keeping the two new girls on their own until they're cleared by a vet. My brain didn't include the fact you had a third pig - I definitely would not suggest keeping three in a 2x4. I know that 2x5 is the minimum - my girls are being upgraded from that soon because they're bickering.

    Too small a cage can lead to big arguments and territorial behaviour - even in sows!

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    Cavy Slave Varcoda's Avatar
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    yes, attaching the pet store cage to your C&C will be a good idea :) just NEVER build a second floor.

    i hope you can get them for a proper vet checkup soon, although i suspect it might cost abit to maintain and care for these piggies. if you can't afford it, maybe you should try using guineapigzone to find a good home for them :)

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Arg.. sadly I know a bit too much about this subject having had a young pig who is sadly no longer with us. if a piggies has suddenly developed a head tilt then get them to a vet ASAP, it is likely to be an inner ear infection and needs treating immediately! However, even after a pig has been treated for an inner ear infection they can be left with a permanent head tilt and varying degrees of balance issues.

    In my opinion I think these piggies have had serious infections and have been left damaged by them. A couple of questions I'm interested to ask, if you let them outside of their cage to they seem confused? Do they have spacial awareness (i.e. know if they are going off the edge of something like a sofa or do they run straight off the end if you don't catch them), do they find an edge and wander around in one direction over and over and over, possibly changing direction but with no meaningful exploration? How steady is their head when they feed or drink water? How active are they?

    I had a lovely little piggie Martha who's inner ear infection spread to the brain even though we had treatment for her asap and ended up with wide spread neurological damage that was irreversible. I have some footage of her which we took along to the vets which I can post if anyone is interested, but because she was still quite young and the damage substantial the vet said she had to be put to sleep because her quality of life would be so poor even though she was eating and drinking and a very affectionate girl once she wasn't so ill with the infection. It was and still is incredibly sad for me as it's only 3 weeks since this happened. What concerns me is these little guys quality of life. Even if they are able to eat and drink you need to be very sure that they are not in distress or are going to develop severe debilitating complications in the future. If they are unable to walk properly or with any speed (Martha refused to move much because she was confused and mostly went in circles until she found a single route to walk) their muscles won't develop properly or very well as they grow and they may end up with other complications and mobility issues, in later life that might well be obesity etc.

    I am not saying that your piggies are the same as my Martha, they may be able to have some treatment that will help, steroid injections can reduce brain swelling if there is damage but it is not a permanent solution. How long have they been like this and how old are they? If they are still growing please carefully consider some of the things I have mentioned above about growth and future care. I very much hoped that I could keep Martha as I had bonded with her and she was still feeding and responding to me although she was (as far as I can tell) in a worse state than these two.

    When you take them to a check up make sure you get someone who is familiar with Guinea Pigs as this can be a very specific thing. I know people on here hate pet shops but I use a vet which is inside a UK pet store which keep Guinea Pigs so they are more familiar than some general vets.

    I wish you all the best with this and if you are able to answer any of the questions I'd very much like to know the answers to them, I hope the outcome is a good one :).

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I am going to call the local vet to see if they are experienced with piggies. There's a vet literally down the street but they only take cats and dogs, but their main branch about 20 minutes away supposedly takes exotic animals according to their not-so-good website.

    They seem content in the little cage. When I picked them up they were kept in what looked like a small-to-medium size rubbermaid box so this is an improvement :). But still I'd like to get them in the bigger cage as soon as it's safe. They don't fight at all. They just occasionally bump into each other when eating, which may be because the black one seems to be blind in one eye.

    They don't seem incredibly lost. They know where they are when I hold them in my lap and when I put them in the box with a towel while I clean the cage (they smell a LOT worse than my other one haha). I've changed the fleece once already and they almost need it again.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: I have adopted two piggies with head tilt - one more severe than the other. Care?

    Oh.. a quick add on to my last comment.. you mentioned that you thought one of them might be deaf because of lack of reaction, this was also the same with Martha, we thought she might be blind because she just didn't react to anything and I could put my finger right up to her eye and she wouldn't react.. we did a few other tests with the same result but found she wasn't blind or deaf just brain damaged :(. In a funny sort of way they are super cute because they are afraid of much!

    Oh and if they smell a lot, check they aren't sitting in their urine, Martha stank because she would just pee in her bed and sit in it. If they smell and are sitting in their own pee the might get sore and you'll need to clean them.

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