Request for ARTHRITIS treatment protocols

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Post   » Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:16 pm

If any of you have experience diagnosing or treating arthritis in guinea pigs, you are encouraged to share the info here. Include a link to a thread you have started on a pig who has arthritis if you feel it would be helpful. Not sure if all the following info would be helpful but if you wish to include it, please do:

1 - breed, age and sex of pig
2 - brief description of signs leading you to suspect arthritis
3 - diagnostics done and the results
4 - treatment, med and dosage
5 - results of treatment
6 - other med issues

I think there are a few xrays showing arthritis as calcification near the joints. If you have links to the pics (or sent me pics and I haven't yet posted them), include them if you wish.
Last edited by Lynx on Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

You can quote me

Post   » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:09 pm

1. Intact male golden agouti, about 4 1/2 years old (best guess) at time of diagnosis

2. Indio was experiencing unexplained weight loss -- not massive, but enough to be of concern. While not stiff or apparently painful, he didn't move around a whole lot. He was never one of our most active pigs.

3. Degenerative joint disease showed up on radiograph, very clearly, as deposits or spur-like formations, especially on his rear knees.

4. We started on Metacam. He did fine on that for about a month, then one evening, simply crashed. Very inactive, didn't eat, didn't drink. We switched to Rimadyl, compounded at 10 mg/mL, dosed at a range of 0.1 to 0.2 mL every 12-24 hours, depending upon need. The dose that seemed to work best for him was about 0.07 or 0.08 mL dosed twice a day, compounded with a flavor he liked. Bloodwork was done approximately every six months to monitor for any liver damage.

5. He moved more freely, seemed more comfortable, more flexible, more alert, active and engaged with the treatment.

6. Indio also had a malignant mass removed at age 5 (approximately) and a benign interdermal (? in-between layers of skin, superficial) mass removed at about age 5 1/2.

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Post   » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:37 pm

1. Intact male black and white abbyssinian, about 2 1/2 years old.

2. Noticed he was holding up one of his legs not putting weight on it. When I checked the leg, his ankle, hip and knee were swollen and he squealed in pain when I moved the joints.

3. X-rays showed clouds on his hip, ankle and knee. Only on his right leg.

4. Meloxicam and Bactrim (don't have the original doses on hand). Meloxicam for the first 5 days, Bactrim (to clear the possibility of any infection) for 1 week. Upped his Vitamin C daily.

5. He slowly started putting more weight on that leg until it was back to normal. The swelling went down and he no longer squeals in pain when I move the joint.

6. Tarzan had part of his toe torn off when it got stuck in something in his cage at about age 1 1/2. It was on the same leg as the arthritis.


Post   » Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:11 am

1. Intact female American of unknown age -- the vet guessed around 5.

2. When she chews, she resets or pops her jaw every five seconds or so.

3. We did skull and full body rads. She has a calcification on one side of her jaw near the hinge, which the vet called an osteolith/osteoarthritis. He thought it might be due to TMJ. She also has arthritis in her back and hips.

4. She takes Meloxicam .15 mg BID.

5. No change in the jaw resetting. She does maintain a hefty 1200 grams. She absolutely will not be handled without biting and squealing.

6. This pig has many health problems -- chronic gas, left-ventricle CHF, and is very hormonal and aggressive although U/S for reproductive problems was negative. Because she is impossible to restrain, exams and therapies are limited. I do think that the jaw problem and heart problem causes the intake of air when eating, hence the gas. She also takes anti-gas medicine and Lotensin, Lasix occasionally, and nebulizes with Albuterol about once a week. She has chronic bronchitis and gets a course of ABs about every 3 months ( I have had her for 2 years).

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Post   » Sat Nov 25, 2006 9:04 am

Charybdis, sounds like she is a challenge. I wonder if laser treatment of her jaw (the side that pops) would help. Too bad she is not more cooperative.


Post   » Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:41 pm

I will check into that, thanks. She would have to be sedated.

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:48 am

1 - breed, age and sex of pig

Julius - 6+ yr American crested (adult when adopted 2001).

2 - brief description of signs leading you to suspect arthritis

Chewing hair off legs, slight stiffness walking, weight loss

3 - diagnostics done and the results

To date, x-rays and exam by vet. Exam lead vet to believe there was something going on with his knees. X-ray showed mild arthritis in his back and knees.

4 - treatment, med and dosage

Meloxicam, 0.04 ml (I think). Temporary until after bloodwork.

5 - results of treatment

Seems to be less stiff, early so hard to tell

6 - other med issues


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Post   » Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:00 pm

George, male, short hair, age approximately 4.25 years.

He has one severly enlarged toe on his left front foot, which we initially thought might be scurvy, but then he began to sit and walk on his heels and wrists, obviously not wanting to put any weight on his toes. He is now getting bumblefoot because of this. He will also occasionally sit in the corner looking fluffy. This past week he had hair loss on the outside right foreleg. He has had no weight loss yet. Tonight he was sitting with his rear legs very oddly splayed while eating his hay.

Vet visit this past Thursday. Based on symptoms she agreed that arthritis seemed likely and took an X-ray. There is some degeneration in virtually all of his joints, and in the enlarged toe the distal toe bone is has been completely destroyed.

We're starting him on Metacam, .45 ml daily, and Doxycycline as she's concerned that it might be septic, (and I assume to help treat the incipient sore on the bottom of one of his rear feet).

I look forward to hearing what others are doing for their older pigs.


Post   » Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:07 am

I can only be general since I've had so many arthitic pigs.

Usually seniors, all breeds, arthritis usually in hocks but was in the shoulder of one pig, Soot(may be a thread somewhere) and it's in the spines of two skinnies.

Symptoms were difficulty in moving, often timed to bad weather. The skinnies had roached backs making it clear something was up. Soot was flopping like fish out of water.

All suspected pigs get xrayed and are put on Rimadyl(2mgs/ml) immediately. Standard dose is 0.5ccs per pig daily.

Arthritic pigs see an animal physiotherapist every 3 or 4 weeks if possible. She looks at their xrays and lasers them. I will get instructions on how to continue lasering at home with a laser pen. A few may get massage treatments from an electric body massager, a few may get simple stretching exercise done on theri limbs. A couple of seniors with bad spurs in their "knees" got pulsating laser treatments which broke down the calcium(shown in xrays) and allowed them free movement again.

The skinnies saw an acupuncturist/vet for their backs. We marked the acupuncture points with a felt pen and photographed them so the animal physiotherapist could continue laser work on the same points. Acupuncture and laser apparently have a similar effect.

We tried "needling" from another physiotherapist when our regular physiotherapist was unavailable but I am not sure how effective it was. Nor fair to judge since we didn't continue, preferring to stick with the tried and true. It involved punching tiny needles into the muscle. I'm not sure what the needles did. Pigs didn't seem too bothered by the treatment.


Lasering can help for jaw issues. One of our senior sows jaw was alsways popping out. The physio would mainpulate her jaw into position and laser it. The problem was also much alleviated with the wearing of a Chin-Sling to keep her jaw in position and force the muscles to rebuild.

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Post   » Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:35 am

1 - Male Abyssinian, age three (approximately. We adopted him from a shelter 2 1/2 years ago).

2 - Louie, although getting around just fine, began to look unhappy and his breathing was more noticeable. He wasn't panting, wheezing or coughing; it was just slightly more pronounced.

3 - The vet (she is excellent and owns pigs) said guinea pigs sometimes will puff more when they breathe if they are in pain. She gave him an exam including x-rays, listened to his heart, etc. That's when she saw that Louie has arthritis in a few places, evidenced by the calcifications.

4 - Treatment plan was Cosequin (which also contains vitamin C), with the dosage of 1/4 caplet sprinkled onto his food twice daily, and daily Metacam for the first couple of weeks. Glucosamine has a cumulative effect and can take 2-3 weeks to work, if it will work.

5- Right away after the Metacam, Louie's breathing became more normal and he looked happy again, so it seemed that his issue was indeed one of undiagnosed pain. I stopped the Metacam finally but continued the Cosequin. His stomach was now getting upset so I changed it to 1/4 caplet once a day. A few days later he is doing great! I will continue to give him the Cosequin once a day.

6 - Louie had surgery for a bladder stone last year and recovered fully. No other known issues.


Post   » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:04 am

1- TSW, Male, about 3yrs old.
2 - Patch has been bad tempered, breathing was a bit fast and generally wasn't wanting to move or to be touched, no heat coming from ears - indication of being ill. Bit my nose several times. Behaviour erratic for the last 2 weeks.
3 - Took him to My Vet, She is a small mammal expert, very cavy savvy, breif exam showed swelling of lymphatic glands of the left side, swelling around stump joint. We go back for tests in one week's time.
4 - Treatment was to give Patch 4 drops of Metacam last night, and 2 drops for the next 6 evenings, with food.
5 - Today, Patch looks a lot better and more mobile, however bought a puppy sized heat pad for him to cuddle up to, I suffer from Arthritus, I do know a lot about it.
6- Patch had an Amputation to his left rear leg at 5 - 6 mths old, due to a freak accident, Had a UTI last year, other than that perfectly heathly, happy guinea pig.

I may update you after next Thurs, re Patch's progress.

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Post   » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:15 pm

patch'smummy, did you get an xray?

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