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Guinea Pigs/Dislocation Of Front Leg (?)

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Question
Hey there! Recently something terrible has happened to my piggy of about 4 years, Scurry. A possum attacked him and roughed him up before I heard him squealing and managed to save him. Some chunks of his fur were ripped out, but there was absolutely no bleeding. My poor piggy was quite terrified, but when I held him close he started purring. (I guess he was expressing his gratitude or maybe he was glad?) I thought he was maybe unharmed but now I realize that he cannot walk. Something appeared to be wrong with his front legs. Upon further examination, I found that his front left leg was either broken or dislocated. When I folded his leg back, he was unable to fix it back to its position, something that a paralyzed piggy would be unable to do with its back legs. But he did notice it was out of place. He attempted to move it back, and I could see his shoulder blade moving but it did seem awfully out of place. The leg did not move. My piggy doesn't seem to be dragging the leg, he's attempting to use it but failing to. When I do touch around he does at times give a loud squeak of pain, so I know he still has feeling in his leg. Hopefully I can take him to a vet tomorrow but I want to know if he's going to be alright or if his injuries are far worse than I think.

With much thanks,

Catty.

Answer
The leg may or may not be broken, but you are correct it could be dislocated.  The best thing you can do at this point is to make a splint to immobilize the leg.  Using gauze stripping you can wrap the leg. You need to put it in the normal position, but do not try to force it.

What you want is to put the leg in the position it would be in when he leans down on it. The toes facing the front and the bend of the leg at the elbow in a normal position. Then using some gauze or strips of cloth, wrap it from underneath, going over his back. Wrap it a couple of times, then either tie it or tape it on his back so he can't wiggle out of it.

Since he's not using the leg he shouldn't try to remove the wrapping. The goal is to keep the leg immobile until you can get to a vet to have it looked at. If it's is a simple dislocation the vet can manipulate the joint and put it back where it belongs.

If there is internal injury and a nerve has been involved it may not be repairable. But that's a judgment the vet will make.

Please let me know how this works out.  Best of luck to you and Scurry.

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
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.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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