Tiny pet with huge impact

July 29, 2011

Pocket Pets

A lady called the vet practice a few days ago because her son was very distressed about their pet guinea pig. He had just discovered the guinea pig was paralysed in its back legs. She could not bring in the pet until the next morning and had serious financial constraints. When you continuously hear this scenario, you start to think this is already looking like a grim one.

However, you must never assume the outcome of the situation as the information communicated over the phone may be very different to the one in the consultation room.

We scheduled the earliest appointment available to check this poor little guinea pig named ‘Brownie’. The owner walked in with a newborn in her arms and a toddler on her side and I immediately held my breath. In my head I was thinking this meant heaps of opportunity for the guinea pig to have been dropped causing traumatic injury to the back or pelvis. I then  proceeded to lift this tiny brown hairy guinea pig out of its cage. As soon as I held it in my hands, I felt its back feet loosely flop down underneath it.  Suddenly the gravity of the situation really hit me and my worst fears were coming to life.

I immediately started pinching this guinea’s tiny feet to check if it has any deep pain in its back legs. Fortunately it did and it was so full of spark.  I discussed workup costs with the owner and had to give a very guarded prognosis. The owner blatantly said she had a few young children and could not afford the costs of workup. I met her half way and said I would x-ray the little one free of charge to see if we must immediately do the kinder thing and put it down.

If no major lesions were detected on x-rays then we should trial it on anti-inflammatories and stick it in a hopsital cage to see if it responds.

Thankfully, the owner gave me the green light.

I proceeded with x-rays and we could see that it had a narrowed space between its thoracolumbar junction. We suspected a traumatic disc prolapse. We gave it anti-inflammatories and put it in a cage and put in lots of fresh greens and water. ‘Brownie’ got into the food like there was no tomorrow. Check out how cute and bright he was in his hospital cage.

Brownie  the cutest guinae pig

Unfortunately with spinal cases, you require patience and lots of perseverance and dedication. The owner surrendered the guinea pig to us today because she can not afford the workup or even provide it with the after care required.

My vet team has fallen in love with ‘Brownie’.

Alana and I had stacked up heaps of fresh greens for him from home this morning and were competing with feeding him breakfast. Chris gave him a lovely bath and prepared a very comfy bed for him. Erin took him home as she is equipped with two spare hutches and is a major guinea pig enthusiast and owns  two of her very own. Amy dressed him up and even made him a lovely cape with the letter ‘P’ engraved on it because she has renamed him para-pig.

Check out the footage of him taking a bath and then a glimpse of his hind leg issues.

In this video, I am giving him a physiotherapy session and he was not very comfortable at first. We gave him treats and that worked a treat.

It was so hilarious watching him swallow this leaf of spinach.

The plan is lots of physiotherapy and anti-inflammatories to help him gain function in his back legs. We must regularly bathe him to prevent urine/fecal scalding. We must also closely monitor his progress and see if he is displaying any improvement. If at any stage he loses deep pain, that is the end of the road for him. 😦 😦

We are all already very attached to this little brown creature that has so much personality. He head butts you, enjoys being cuddled, eats out of your hand and is just a joy to have around.

We are all trying to be very realistic but it is easier said then done.

Let us hope all our efforts and his willingness to keep going will pay off in the end. I will keep you posted on how he goes.

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Hi I am Dr. Rayya. I created this site to take you on a journey of my life as a vet! I hope to inspire you, teach you, learn from you. Most importantly help pet owners and animals around the world by sharing pictures, videos and posts from my everyday experiences.

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29 Comments on “Tiny pet with huge impact”

  1. becomingcliche Says:

    I’m so glad that she was willing to bring Brownie in! where I live, the likelihood of someone bringing their pet in is directly proportional to the purchase price of the animal. The pocket pets are so often considered “disposable.”

    Keep us posted on Brownie’s progress!


    • Rayya The Vet Says:

      I totally connect with what you are saying about pocket pets. Many owners would rather just got a new one then fix the old one. We, vets, always try to waver fees and discount heaps to encourage owners to do the right thing by their pocket pets. Fortunately, we have also had such amazing dedicated clients that have paid tons of money to get their pets right. Only last week, my colleague repaired a fracture in a pet bunny.
      Brownie actually put some weight on his backlegs today. That’s a very promising start. Will definitely keep you posted 🙂


      • becomingcliche Says:

        We have had a number of rats over the years. They are the most amazing little animals. I work part-time as an educator in a zoo, and I spend a great deal of my time explaining to folks that when they get an animal as a pet, it’s forever. And quality vet care is part of the package.

        I am so glad that Christopher “Brownie” Reeves is doing so well! We’re pulling for him over here in the USA!

  2. 2browndawgs Says:

    Awe poor Brownie. We hope he gets better.

    the 2 brown dawgs


  3. Gretchen Del Rio Says:

    What a nice story. A good outcome. He is so cute.


  4. Rosie Scribblah Says:

    Poor little guy, he looks so alert


  5. barb19 Says:

    Brownie is so cute, no wonder you fell in love with him. I think he liked the bath – it must have been nice and soothing for him!
    I hope he continues to improve, but please keep us posted.


  6. Slowvelder Says:

    He is gorgeous! Please keep us updated on his progress. Today I played with two pet rats for the first time – they also seem to be lovely pets (who would have thought I would ever say that 🙂 )


    • Rayya The Vet Says:

      Hello 🙂
      I totally agree if you give a rat, chicken, pig, or any creature half a chance, you would be surprised how much they can touch you with their sincere beautiful nature. :-). Brownie’s going really well so far, eating heaps, getting his physio and he may have even managed to attempt to put weight on his backlegs for the first time today! I hope in a few weeks, I will be able to upload pics of him running around.


  7. Rainbow of Crazy Says:

    This completely melts my heart. I hope little Brownie only improves from here on out. He looks SO happy wolfing down that spinach 🙂


  8. Erin Blackmore Says:

    Hello everyone!
    Brownie (or “Christopher Reeves” as I am now affectionately calling him!) is in my care at home at present. He is doing great! His progress is going to be slow, as is expected, but I have faith in him to pull through… God, at least I am hoping like hell he’ll be able to regain his quality of life.
    Today myself and my partner (who has fallen head over heels in love with him) gave him another bath (because he is soiling himself at the moment as a result of the paralysis) and a physio session. Immediately after, I put him on the floor on a towel and he was able to stand, albeit unsteadily, on his back legs. I can see that he WANTS to use them, but it’s a bit beyond him right now.
    We have also come to realise that he had worn his top incisors down to the gum, which is making it difficult for him to eat – That would explain his poor body condition, paired with his vitamin C deficiency as he wasn’t receiving enough of the right foods at his previous home. Needless to say, he is making up for the lack of fruit and veg with us – he is an EATING MACHINE!!! But we have to cut most things (like apple, broccoli, carrots and oranges) into strips for him because his lack of top teeth mean that he can’t chew these things properly.
    As far as his legs are concerned though, he is managing to sit in a more “normal” fashion now, rather than slumped over and twisted up, which was so hard to have to witness. I definitely think he is feeling more comfortable. I’m glad we can also give him drugs to help with that.
    Lets hope that with dedication, time and patience, we can restore this little trooper’s quality of life. Pocket pets are NOT disposable and they deserve exactly the same amount of love and care and dedication as any dog, cat or pony. I also personally believe that people underestimate how fantastic guinea pigs are as pets and how much personality they have. They’ve got A LOT to offer!
    Along with the amazing Dr Rayya, I hope to be able to rehabilitate Brownie/Christopher… and it’s looking like he may very well have a new home here with this guinea pig loving family 😉


    • Rayya The Vet Says:

      Thanks heaps for all the indepth update…so exciting to hear he is positioning himself better. I am glad I was able to hand him over to a very dedicated pet owner/vet nurse that I am confident will give him the best fighting chance to get back on his tiny brown feet. I was very happy that you took on the challenge of looking after him and getting hyperattached well knowing the gaurded prognosis. Thumbs up to that! I also secretly knew that I have automatically placed him in his new home if he makes an excellent recovery ;-)…I can’t wait to recheck him on Tuesday!


  9. Erin Blackmore Says:

    Haha, well I don’t think Dave will part with him now unless it is absolutely necessary! He is rather besotted! 😉 I am about to email you some videos that you might want to see. XXX


  10. Erin Blackmore Says:

    Tomorrow, unfortunately, they didn’t turn out like I would have liked…. although I posted one on your Facebook just so you could see he’s being completely loved (not that you would have doubted it, I’m sure!!)
    I really want you to see how he is on those back legs though. But yeh, the vid I thought we took turned out crappy as, so I will get another tomorrow. I don’t want to exhaust the little guy by making him stand too much… he was pooped after his session today. It clearly takes a lot of energy out of him to stand on them at the moment.


  11. Ms Jeannie Says:

    ok, so sorry just spotted what happed…tragic……we are giving Billie Osteocare and physio, she had a steroid shot as well…..its day 4 now and my heart is aching not sure how this is going to pan out….


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Ms Jeannie. How is your little one going? Well done on giving Billie a good go. I hope he pulls through. 🙂


      • Ms Jeannie Says:

        Hi there thanks for the reply, cannot believe it but Billie has actually started to use her legs again, we have now dropped the Osteocare down to 1 ml a day and it is totally amazing the strength she has back in her body when we go to pick her up for physio, – She now actually lifts her bum up to poo and is cleaning herself, BUT she does not appear to be so interested in food as she was so we are giving her “rescue” to make sure she is taking something..i have about 30 other females in “The Manor” with her who appear to be looking out for her…i originally took her and another female out an put them by themselves so she could cope better but have just put them both back….i know she is not out of the woods yet but just to see her being able to pull her legs up and bum up brings a smile rather than how she was in just dragging both legs behind is a real miracle….i will post again to keep you upto date….Ms Jeannie

      • Rayya Says:

        Hey Ms Jeannie
        I hope Billie is still powering on. Thanks for the last update. Please do tell me how she is getting on now.

      • Jeannie Says:

        Hi there, thanks for your reply…Well, Billie is totally cured!….Actually, a miracle, everything i read about how to use the Osteocare happened, down to exact day when she should start to improve!…you would never ever guess that she could not walk….we did the physio several times a day but as soon as she started to pull her back legs up she got real strong and struggled when mike was giving her legs excercise and she bit him lol….we knew then enough was enough and that was it away she went…..Thanks for caring….and i most sincerely hope if anyone reads this and has a guinea pig which has to literally drag themselves along tries the Oesteocare….1ml morning and evening for 3 days then drop down to 1ml every day for 3 days if i recall correctly by day 3 you should start to see movement as long as there is feeling in the feet still…..I got it from Peter Gurney site, all instructions are on there…..Take care…….Ms Jeannie


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