Monday, June 13, 2011

A Lame Pig!

~ 2 weeks ago our rescued potbellied pig, Morgan came up acutely lame.  Acute in that the day before she was fine and very mobile.  I knew something was wrong when Morgan barely wanted to get up and didn't want to come out of her stall.  I spoke with her veterinarian, Dr. Jean Feldma; an excellent large animal vet that I really like, and she had me start her on an NSAID similar to aspirin called Rimadyl.  We commonly use this at work as well for small animals so I amvery familiar with it.  While I truly believe this med helped with her pain it in no way made her problem go away.  I knew it was time to have Dr. Feldman come out to sedate her and take some x-rays.
Last friday Dr. Feldman stopped out and unlike the last time she came to trim her feet, Morgan did not bolt out of the barn and run like a fat little bullet across the yard.  Rather she laid there and allowed us to easily inject her in the butt with the anesthetic drug.  Within minutes of receiving the injection she was snoring and ready to be radiographed.  We ended up taking some very high quality diagnostic films using Dr. Feldman's mobile digital x-ray unit.  This is a JPEG of the actual x-ray...some image quality is lost in the conversion down to a web ready JPEG, but you get the idea.
It turns out that Morgan has severe arthritis in her left elbow.  It is so bad that it is to the point where we hope that it fuses so that while she may have a limp in her gait it will no longer cause her pain.  We took a shot of the right as well to compare and while that elbow also has arthritis it is no where near the severity of the left. 
We then injected the joint with a steroid and hopes of reducing the inflammation even more.  Lastly we trimmed her feet (the nails) which is next to impossible to do when she is awake.
The injection definitely helped because a few days later Morgan was more willing to come out of the barn to lay in the sun, which is her favorite activity aside from eating.  Yep she takes after her dad.  She even cooled off by venturing into the horse arena and lying in the mud from some rain the day before.  Something she rarely doe despite being a pig! 

So far she still has a limp and doesn't get up as easily but her pain seems less.  We are going to start her on the supplement OsteoBioFlex which Dr. Feldman has said can help with pig joints.  Most likely will re-start the Rimadyl which I stopped while she received the steroid injection.
While her life might be slightly different and she may have a limp forever we hope to keep her pain free for the rest of her life.  We adopted an old pig that needed a home and we knew that stuff like this was a possibility.  But she has a good life here and as long as she has a good quality of life we are happy.  She has been eating all along and that is always a good sign.

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