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The case of the anorexic guinea pig. . .


Although the majority of pets we see are cats and dogs, there are many other species that come through our doors in need of help. This guinea pig’s appetite had declined, so we needed to carefully examine her teeth as part of her evaluation. Dental problems are often the trigger for hunger strikes in guinea pigs, and although this girl was sweet, she wouldn’t give us a good look in her mouth. In this picture, her head is placed in an airtight cone which contains anesthetic gas. We chose this approach because we weren’t sure how sick she was, and if we gave her injectable sedatives, she might not fully wake up for hours. Using the gas is very helpful in many exotic species because the effect wears off very quickly once you stop giving it. This pig got rather dopey after a minute of breathing the gas, and that allowed us enough time to look thoroughly through her mouth. We didn’t find any glaring issues, so we focused on what she’s been eating since guinea pigs and other exotic pets can get very sick if they’re not fed an appropriate diet. For example, like people, guinea pigs can’t make vitamin C, and they need to get it from the food they eat. Peppers (like red or green) have a very high amount of bioavailable vitamin C and are a great way to meet a guinea pig’s daily requirement. For this pig we recommended feeding 1/8 of a medium sized red pepper once a day to help provide vitamin C. If all goes well, she’ll soon be back to the food dish with reckless abandon!

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Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
May 2nd, 2012

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The case of the injured tortoise


Meet Hermann! He’s a 15 year old tortoise that was rescued years ago and is currently having trouble with his back end. One of his hind legs apparently got caught in something as he was wandering around the house recently, so we were questioning if that had anything to do with his symptoms.

We took an x-ray to check for causes such as constipation, stones in his urinary system, and abnormalities in his skeleton. Lo and behold, something was afoot (literally).

Can you see what the arrow is pointing at? Compare it to the opposite leg. . .

There is a break in one of the bones of his right hind leg. The broken ends of bone are not clean and crisp, so we’re not sure if this represents a traumatic fracture that is healing/remodeling or if there is a tumor that is eating away the bone : (

Since the other bone in that part of the injured leg is intact, it’s acting like an internal splint. (This is particularly convenient since putting a splint on a tortoise is very difficult, especially considering that the bandage would need to stay dry, and tortoises soak to hydrate themselves and therefore keep fairly wet.)

We put him on medication for pain and inflammation and will recheck an x-ray in a couple of weeks. If the lesion is worse, we will assume the bone is diseased and that he has a fracture that won’t heal. However, if this was a traumatic injury, the bone should look much improved on his next set of x-rays.

Stay tuned for more on Hermann. . .

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Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
April 3rd, 2012

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A visit from “YaYa” and Jodi from Cape Ann Wild Bird Rescue.


We got to meet “YaYa” today and watch her dance and sing to New York, New York. Great fun having the private performance, and we think Ol’ Blue Eyes would be proud!

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Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
March 30th, 2012

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