Osteoarthritis in a young pig. Physiotherapy and possible treatment regimes?

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Post   » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:06 am

Hi there!

My 2.5-year-old neutered boar was recently diagnozed with osteoarthritis. Both his hind-leg joints are affected, and there are osteophytes present in other joints, though they aren't that problematic at the moment.

I really had no idea osteoarthritis can affect them at this young stage, but apparently, while uncommon, it's not unheard of.

I'd like to slow the progress of the condition as much as possible. What I'm doing this far is:
- give 150 mg of vegan glucosamine daily
- 1 Oxbow Joint support tab daily (which has 90 mg of glucosamine, so in total, he receives 240 mg of glucosamine)
- a pinch of dried nettles (strongly recommended by vet for their anti-inflammatory properties)

Can you think of any other supplement/herb that I could use in this case?

We're trying to see if he will cope without metacam for the time being. He's very young and otherwise fine in himself, he's still mobile and attempts to popcorn, but is a bit clumsy and his gait is changed. There's no change in his weight, and he eats fine. I know that pain relief will be necessary in the future, but NSAIDs do cause liver damage, and, if possible, I'd like to delay the moment when he needs metacam to be comfortable. I'm monitoring him closely and the moment I see that the arthritis is affecting his quality of life and is in pain, I will ask my vet for metacam.

With this in mind, I'd like to know whether anyone has experience with animal physiotherapy. I've read a few articles in PubMed on rabbits with arthritis, and from what I see, LIPUS (low intensity pulsed ultrasound) and laser treatments have been used successfully. With LIPUS, I'd need to shave his fur and apply a contact gel, while the laser can be administered in top of his fur. I understand they help with both the symptoms and the actual condition, promoting cartridge regrowth and slowing the growth of the osteophytes. I have human LIPUS and laser devices at home, so I can do that (it's very easy - you select the appropriate setting and just apply the handle to the affected area).

In 2 weeks, I will be consulting with an exotics specialist, as well as a vet specializing in rehabilitation medicine, but I'm afraid neither of them is likely to have practical experience with piggy physiotherapy, so I was hoping one of you would.

Thanks in advance for your input, and ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm really desperate to help him, he's still so very young.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:42 am

I don't have any suggestions to offer. It sounds like you're thoroughly on top of things, and I'd just like to extend my best wishes for him and for you. Do please keep us informed on how he's doing, as arthritis in a pig that young is very rare in our experience.

Does he happen to be a satin, by chance?


Post   » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:53 am

Thanks for your input! He was diagnosed 2 weeks ago, and since then, I've been doing a lot of research. I really want to provide him with the best care possible, he has such an amazing personality and is a very loving, mellow little boy.

He's an aby, by the way.

In either case, I will keep you updated and share with you how he responds to the treatment.

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Post   » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:51 am

Ditto bpatters.

At this point, you likely know more than we do. Keeping us apprised of the treatment and results may help future readers.

I did not know what an osteophyte was and googling identified it as a bone spur. I found some information on ostephytes in humans:
As the cartilage in our joints deteriorates, the damaged joint can react by creating bumpy or scalloped growths, called osteophytes or bone spurs. ... Read on to learn about the development of bone spurs in the lumbar, or lower, region of the spine. ... In this image, we can see bone spurs ...
If you have any xrays you want to share, I can add them to your thread:

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:13 pm

The following are things that would need to be discussed with an experienced exotics vet before even considering. Especially since there is very minimal literature, if any, on treatments including over-the-counter supplements in guinea pigs. Things like the safety of and dosing of these drugs would potentially be experimental and a vet who is up to date on the current research would be the best resource.

I work for a practice that is 90% equine and about 50% or more of our caseload is lameness- including juvenile onset arthritis. Horses are poorly made, what can I say.

I was wondering if maybe a loading dose of adequan every 6 months may help him.

We also have non- guinea pig patients that are on resveratrol (grape seed extract) to reduce inflammation. There is actual data showing that resveratrol reduces inflammation in certain animals where as some of the other over-the-counter supplements don’t. People take it for the same reason.

I have seen a new trend where people will use turmeric for the same reason which I would avoid. Depending on where the turmeric is sourced, arsenic content has been a problem. However, I am in unchartered territory with that.

As for the laser, you mentioned that you have a laser. Do you know what class of cold laser it is? We have a class 4 cold laser which is considered veterinary grade and has significant penetration that other lasers do not have. The laser is a nice adjunct therapy, but the problem is that its effects are temporary. Since you are dealing with a chronic issue, you would need to continue that treatment on a regular basis to continue the benefits.

Cold lasers are great for expediting the healing of an acute injury. It may just be labor intensive for you. And depending on what type of laser you will be using, it may not help.

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