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Vet Obi’s Medical Issues - Head/Neck tilt (UK)

dulcie

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I noticed on Saturday evening that one of my boars, Obi, had developed a head/neck tilt that happens irregularly.

I picked him up out of his cage and he tilted his neck and curled in on himself. His head and body twitch sometimes, and it only lasts a couple of seconds - then he’s back to his usual self. He only does this on one side.

IMG_8165.jpeg

He’s eating and drinking like normal, is maintaining his weight, and when he’s moving there’s no visible tilt to his head.

He also has a hay poke to his right eye, which I think happened during one of his fits.

IMG_8150.jpeg

I took him to a vet on Monday, and they gave him eye drops for his hay poke and antibiotics under the suspicion that it could be caused by an ear infection. However, after speaking to a family friend, she suspected it could be neurological so I took Obi to a different vet for a second opinion. I was also worried that he was in pain as the previous vet didn’t prescribe.

They checked him over and couldn’t give me a conclusive answer as they hadn’t seen anything like it in a Guinea Pig in their experience - but they OK’d the eye drops and the antibiotics, upping the dosage from 0.2ml twice daily to 0.4ml, and prescribed him with painkillers. I’m going back to them on Tuesday to see how he’s getting on with the meds and hopefully have an X-Ray done, and they said they could potentially try steroids.

I’m just wondering if anyone else has experienced something like this in their Piggies, as I’ve read up on a fair few forums and haven’t found anything like this. Or if anyone has any insight to this?

Thanks!
 

4boipigs

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I haven’t dealt with anything quite like that but I have had vets recommend CT scans for possible neuro issues. It won’t be cheap and he will need to be sedated but it may clue you into what’s happening. A CT scan will be more revealing than an xray of the head.

I did have a boar with a mild head tilt but it was likely due to blindness and partial eye/facial paralysis on the side of the head tilt.

Is it possible it may have been seizure-like behavior based on the twitching of his body. Does it happen randomly or does he lose awareness during the events?
 

4boipigs

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I also recommend checking out the UK gpig forum if you haven’t

 

bpatters

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I had a similar experience with one of my pigs. But it only lasted a few hours, and completely resolved by the next day.

Neurological issues are hard to diagnose and sometimes hard to treat. Cross your fingers and hope that steroids take care of it.
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Currently going through a head tilt with Simon. Your pig definitely looks neurological to me, as that seems to be a very severe head tilt.

Simon's issue was an inner ear infection and after a single day of ear drops he seemed to be better. He did, however decline again after a few days and I realized it had migrated into ANOTHER sinus infection. He's currently on azithromycin and doing well.
 

ItsaZoo

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Is this an exotic vet recommending steroids? Because oral steroids can be deadly in Guinea pigs. There are some topical creams and eye drops that can be used safely, but internally steroids suppress the immune system and are not metabolized well in guinea pigs. It sounds like the vet is just trying different things because they don’t know what the problem is.

A good look into the ear canals would be the place to start. Then sedation and imaging of the head, ear canals, and sinuses would show any abnormalities.

I recently lost my little Gidget, who had head tilt as well as ear and upper respiratory infections. Her ear canals were not intact and she was getting recurring ear infections.
 

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