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Guinea Pigs/Fall: hind legs not moving


Hi,  Our sweet guinea pig fell over the stair railing and fell.
She is not moving her hind legs, but does not appear to be in pain or distress.  She is maybe just a year old. She is eating and resting, and has gone potty normally.  I am staying by her side and loving her in a calm environment.  What else can I do?  I have been reading a lot online, and on this sight, and looks like time may heal, otherwise if not, I will keep her clean and dry.  Her cage mate is a larger female.  Is it safe to keep her together with the other female if she can not move, or do I have to separate them?  I don't want either to be lonely.
Thank you.  I was hoping for suggestions rather than an expensive Vet visit.

I'm so very sorry to hear about this. The fact that she's eating and drinking is a good sign. Hopefully this is just a soft tissue injury, but there's no way to really tell without xrays. It's possible she could have caused a spinal injury. If that's the case she may never recover the use of her hind legs.

I would not separate her from her cage mate. She needs to be in her own familiar environment where she will be more comfortable and less stressed. At this point there isn't anything you can do but just what you're doing. She may recover the use of her legs. If she does not that doesn't mean the end of her life.

Animals lack the capacity to feel sorry for themselves. They take whatever life has tossed them and they learn to adjust. We humans could take a great lesson from that.

Taking her to a vet isn't going to change much other than the balance in your bank account. So don't feel guilty if you can't or don't wish to do that. Small exotic animals aren't a specialty for most vets, and even if your vet told you there was a spinal cord injury it isn't going to change anything.

Let's hope she will recover on her own. In the meantime keep life as familiar to her as you can. Let her stay with her mate. The other pig will not hurt her. I wish you all the best. Please keep me posted on how she does.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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