Guinea has a badly swollen front paw

(17 Posts)
dietcokeandwine Mon 15-Apr-13 21:36:11

Has anyone's pig ever had similar and what was the treatment/outcome? Very worried about our tri coloured pig - I discovered late this afternoon that he has an injured paw - well the whole leg looks swollen actually. The paw itself looks more like a rabbit paw than a guinea one and each 'toe' around the claw is swollen. Unsurprisingly, he is unable to weight bear on it, though he is limping gamely around the hutch on his remaining three paws, bless him. And he seems otherwise well. Our guineas live in an outbuilding where we also keep a fridge and a tumble drier, I noticed the wound when I went to get something out of the drier - tri coloured pig was up at the hutch bars as usual to see if treats might be in the offing (as they often are blush), and it's then that I noticed he only had one paw against the bars rather than two...

I suspect a bite wound might be to blame - have discovered a small area of matted blood just at the top of the leg, it's hard to examine it properly but I guess it would make sense? Might it have become inflamed and/or infected? Or could it be something else entirely? He also has a swollen cheek on the same side as the injured paw. But there is no sign of any pus, or nasty smell that might indicate infection, he is eating and pooing normally (he hoovered up the parsley we offered when we got him out to look at him properly) and seems bright enough.

I have a vet's appointment for him for Wednesday morning (couldn't get one for tomorrow) but any advice for what best to do in the meantime? I have cleaned what I think is the wound with salt water, but other than that have kept things as normal - given them dinner veg, dry mix and fresh bedding for the night. I haven't separated him from his brother as yet but do you think I should? We have separated them once before when they had some argy-bargy after a trip away, but had successfully reintroduced them (tri coloured pig was very distressed at being apart from his brother) and this was some eight months ago now. They had both seemed to calm down so much over the last few months and I had (mistakenly, it seems) assumed they were over the stroppy teenage phase...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Google bumblefoot to see how it compares. (Though IIRC bumblefoot has a slower onset)

Could be a foreign body (I picked two sharp thorns out of my hand when I did the boars haybed). Have a good look for something like that - more difficult with dark pawed pigs though)

Bite as you suspect

Fracture

Bite? we've had a couple of flying stingey things round (must've hibernated and the nice weather brought them out)

Take a photo as clear as possible. You want to show your vet what it's like- hopefully it will improve before you see them.
Saltwater is good. If they lick it , salt won't harm them.

Good thing that he's eating- I get worried when they don't.

FernieB Tue 16-Apr-13 08:03:02

Hope he's fine this morning. If he's eating/pooping as normal then that's a good sign especially if he seems his normal happy self.

Old Boy had a bad cut that needed stitching under GA on one of his back paws. We never knew the cause but suspect it was a bite from his brother.

While his wound was healing he had to sleep on towels and had anti-biotics and probiotics to keep gut flora well balanced.

While you are waiting for vet apt. alter bedding if you need to. No wood shavings and put hay in a hayrack so no bits can get in the wound to aggrievate it.

dietcokeandwine Tue 16-Apr-13 21:35:41

Thank you so much ladies. I've cleaned out the cage and have them on soft bedding, the paw doesn't look much better but is certainly no worse, and he's eating with the usual gusto - 'tis amazing how fast a guinea pig can move to a pile of dandelion leaves using only three legs grin - and he looks generally pretty healthy - clear eyed, glossy coat etc...

70 - I googled bumblefoot, thanks for the suggestion - don't think it's that, though, as his foot looks quite different to the pics. The pawpad itself looks completely clean and healthy as far as I can tell (typically, tricolour pig has two pale brown paws, one white paw and one black paw...guess which paw's the swollen one...yup, the black one!). It's just very swollen still and he still can't weight bear, but doesn't seem in too much discomfort when handled.

Will wait and see what the vet says tomorrow but I am feeling a bit more hopeful that whatever it is should be treatable - fingers crossed anyway.

FernieB Wed 17-Apr-13 09:03:28

Good luck with the vet today - hope it goes well.

Weegiemum Wed 17-Apr-13 09:09:09

Hope vet goes well. Our bunny was at the vet last week for similar (he's dark grey) and it was a thorn he'd picked up running madly round the garden on the first sunny day for ages! Vet pulled the thorn, squeezed out the pus (much to -he's a rescue rabbit, he came with the name- Mr Speedy Macreadie's disgust) and now he's fine! Actually, he's currently licking my ankle!

dietcokeandwine Wed 17-Apr-13 21:17:17

Thank you for the messages smile

Well, vet visit went well in that tri colour should be fine after a course of treatment. The not so good news is that having examined him the vet's conclusion was that the injuries must have definitely been caused by his brother sad. There are three big bite marks (on his upper leg, the front of his sore paw and his cheek) and by the time he was examined one of these was oozing pus so definitely infected and of course this is why the leg/paw are so swollen. The vet was actually amazed by how bright and lively he seemed given the severity of his injuries. My poor little pig shock but at least the prognosis appears to be pretty good.

Anyway we've been sent away with various meds for him to take over the next 10 days - antibiotics and probiotics, anti inflammatories, painkillers - and I need to keep flushing out the wounds with sterile water. Vet is confident we should see a distinct improvement within 3/4 days.

But the general upshot of all of this of course is that he and ginger pig are going to have to be separated permanently - minor spats we can deal with but this one really does seem to have been pretty major and we just can't risk this kind of thing happening again.

For the moment I have moved tricolour into our small spare cage whilst he recuperates, leaving ginger on his own in the original cage. Just hate the thought of them living separately for good though so I think I'm going to talk to DH about the possibility of getting another larger cage for tricoloured pig (wouldn't be happy with him living in the smaller cage long term, it's just too small) and then getting them neutered and a girlie pig friend each...I can just about rejig the space in the outbuilding they live in to accommodate the extra cage and stand. Mind you I need to break the news of the £65 vet bill to him first!

Thank you everyone for your help it's been much appreciated.

mercibucket Wed 17-Apr-13 21:22:44

one of mine had similar and made a full recovery. i would buy a bigger cage with a long run, rather than separate, personally, as boars need to be able to get some time alone, but i guess itbdepends if they fight all the time or not
hope his foot is ok soon. i did lots of soaking i n warm water n lots of gunk came out. bleurgh. good though for cleaning it out

Poor piggie sad

Your vet seems on the ball which is good and hopefully your boy will feel better after his medications and you know what's wrong with him.

Trouble is, when your boy starts to recuperate enough, your two pigs might never be trusted together. You can keep an eye on them when they are playing but you don't know exactly what they are up to 24/7
As you say, one option is to neuter and pair up your boars with two sows.
But:

You'll need to radically increase the accomodation for 4 pigs.
You'll need to pay ££ to have your boys neutered (and ensure they are healthy enough to go through the surgey). I've seen people quoted £40 -£80 for GP neutering. (That's on top of the £65 you've paid for his leg).

You might be able to re-introduce them if you make changes to their accomodation and make it 'neutral' (scrubbing out all their pig smells) then making sure they have enough room and safe houses to get away from each other.
Or could you try a C&C type grid so that they can still see each other, chat and smell each other if they are determined not to get on together.
My boars will quite happily share their space (they have the odd spat) and though GP1 gets very animated (frantic) if his little brother is taken away from him - though he doesn't mind if he is taken away from his brother- they don't cosy up. In the haybed they will sit in opposite corners unless it's really cold.
Today they were in seperate houses but being in the same living space seems enough.

The 2 boars/2 sows sounds lovely though. But expensive.

How old are your pigs ?

dietcokeandwine Wed 17-Apr-13 22:28:53

70 they are 18 months old, and healthy - as I mentioned, vet was surprised at how lively little tricolour seemed given his injuries, so I guess that speaks volumes for general health being pretty good.

I think, to be honest, that I'd be too nervous now to reintroduce them. We've managed it once before (bathed them together, scrubbed and rejigged cage and it seemed to go well) but that was after a very minor spat. Everything I've read about boar battles indicates that once serious blood has been drawn (and this was serious blood - the vet shaved piggy's cheek to check the extent of the wound and it was big sad) it's very unlikely that they'll ever live together happily again...

Cage wise they have been living together in a Savic Nero 4

and we have the smaller Nero 3 as a spare, which is where tricolour now is. I need to measure up the space, but I think I could sell the nero 3 to then be able to fit another nero 4 cage/stand in at right angles to the current one, which would mean the pigs were in cages at the same height and could see/hear/smell each other for companionship. So that could work as an interim solution without neutering and getting sows (our vet charges about £58 per guinea for neutering so yes, not a cheap option!).

Longer term, though, I'd planned on getting more pigs (we'd talked about another pair at some point) so we would have been getting another cage anyway...and as DH has pointed out, with the two pigs in separate cages that will be two lots of bedding, cleanings out, food bowls etc and won't make masses of difference if one pig in each cage or two....And it would be nice to have some female company grin (baby DS3 arrived 3 months ago, so with the guineas in the equation I am the lone female in the house!). But then again there are the general risks of neutering to consider confused and I wouldn't take those risks lightly. Grrr. Why is nothing in life ever simple?!

I will let you know what we decide!

Was it your GPs that got huffy when they came back from holiday (I know there was a pair of boars , I didn't dream it wink )

Your boys are still young so neutering them should be as safe as it's going to be (and you are less likely to have the dreaded impaction dreads to deal with).

Two cages of boar/sow sounds lovely and yes it won't be much more food or cleaning than two seperate boar cages.

And as you say, you can even up the male:female imbalance in your house

Or I could send you my daughter. She's 11 ,great with the guineas, loves babies and Primark. Now what bus does she get to your house.....grin

FernieB Thu 18-Apr-13 18:32:32

Glad to know he's going to be fine - poor piggie!

If your DH is amenable to the extra pigs, I would go down that route and bring some more females into the household. Currently trying to persuade my DH that we need another female as even though we have 2 DD's, our 2 pigs and Current Bun are boys so the males still outnumber us.

Our house is DH, DS, DD ,myself and 2 boars.

Good job DD is so bolshy spirited and forthright to stand up to them all grin

dietcokeandwine Thu 18-Apr-13 21:27:16

Fernie oh yes sounds like another female is definitely required!

70 yes, 'twas my boys who had the post holiday spat and were subsequently successfully reintroduced...this was some 8 months ago now and they'd lived happily ever since. I guess this just goes to show you never know what can happen. Thank you for the offer of your DD grin She sounds very similar to my lovely 11 year old goddaughter who is also fab with babies and guineas but has developed a slightly alarming fascination with Hollister branded gear confused Luckily I rule with a rod of iron am also pretty spirited so manage to keep my various menfolk in check!

Well tricoloured piggy continues to do well...soooo sweet the way he slurps up his medication, bless him - am quite impressed that I'm syringing it successfully into his mouth, actually, given that I've never managed the baby nurofen syringe for my children blush. Wounds are drying out and starting to heal, no more nasty pus, paw still swollen but vet said it should be significantly better in 3/4 days. And he's still eating with guinea-like gusto.

Have measured up and we definitely can fit in another bigger cage, so that's been ordered (DH happy, as they fit onto metal stands which means he has additional wine storage room underneath!) and should be here by next week. So that will be tricoloured's new home and he'll be right next to his brother so they will be able to interact but not bite each other to bits! Haven't taken a final decision re neutering/getting females but I think we will end up going down this route once tricolour is completely healed. The only slight frustration is I suspect we may struggle to get rescue pigs (which I'd really like to do, as to my shame we acquired the boars from our local garden centre pet shop)...have had a look at a couple of websites of rescues near us and they won't rehome to any families with children under 9. Which would obviously rule us out. Need to do some more research on rescues I think...

If you decide to have your boys neutered, let your vet know that you are looking for a couple of females.
They can keep a ear out for any (I'm sure people put notices in vets surgeries) and the vet can vouch for your animal husbandary creditials.

Some of the piggies that need a home with older children are sadly too traumatised to be re-homed with small DC.
The ones who are abandoned, left in boxes, abused, neglected, bought for kids and treated like last Christmas's Hot Toy- shoved in it's box by New Year sad angry

dietcokeandwine Fri 19-Apr-13 21:43:05

70 - doesn't bear thinking about, does it. Those poor pigs sad I can absolutely understand their ruling, of course, just makes it a shame that we won't be able to adopt a rescue piggy.

Have to say, our vet has been absolutely fantastic during this whole saga. Had a call from him today to check on tricolour's progress and we have a plan in place now for further action if the paw isn't looking significantly better by Monday. Plus he had lots of sensible advice on how we manage / house the two of them going forwards (knew it was sensible cos it's exactly what people on here say grin). I've taken previous guineas to vets who were quite dismissive and really didn't seem that interested in anything unless it was a dog or a cat...it is so nice to have a guinea treated by one who seems genuinely interested, and cared enough to put in a follow up call.

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