Sunday, October 4, 2009

On the Road to Recovery

Well, despite improvement in her demeanor and increased appetite, Pocky still wasn't eating any hay or pellets. I didn't want to wait til we finished the antibiotics so I called the vet. It was a really busy day, so they said they'd call me back to discuss our options. Hours went by without hearing from them, so I called back. The doctor still wasn't available so all I could do was reserve the last available appointment for the next day. They must have been really busy, because I never got to talk to the vet. As soon as I woke up the next morning I called again. The person I spoke to said that if I wanted to bring Pocky in for a dental exam, I'd have to bring her in the next day in the morning since it's a procedure that couldn't be handled in a regular appointment slot. I agreed, made arrangements, and cancelled the appointment for that afternoon. Since we spent so much time on Pocky recently, we decided to give all the piggies a weighing that morning before feeding them. Everyone's weight was fine, but when I picked up Miso, Pocky's brother, I found a lump under his chin. Crap. I called the vet back no more than five minutes after hanging up and asked if they still had that afternoon appointment available. I brought Miso in, and the doctor says it was most likely an abscess, and we scheduled an appointment for surgery to have it removed.

Pocky's dental exam showed that her teeth were in good condition, they were filed down a bit but there was nothing that would cause her to stop eating. She seemed bothered after her procedure and showed no interest in even nibbling anything. I had stopped giving her antibiotics thinking that the exam would bring to light a dental issue. After another visit to the vet we switched her to Baytril, a different type of antibiotic in the hopes that it would target different bacteria, but again, Pocky still didn't eat on her own.

Miso went through his surgery just fine. The abscess wasn't related to a tooth, which is a good thing, and was most likely due to an external puncture wound like a bite (I'm looking at you, Archie!) The doctor wasn't able to take out the abscess cleanly, however, it burst during the procedure. They had to suture the incision open as they couldn't close it up as a sterile wound, and I was given the responsibilty of flushing it out with an antiseptic and packing it with Neosporin twice a day. When I first saw him, I cried. It looked horrible! It's really not as bad as it looks, the vet told me it's mostly scar tissue with no nerve endings so it doesn't hurt. Miso acts like it's not even there, he eats and drinks and goes about his daily life as if nothing were different. When I brought him back for a follow up exam his wound was doing fine with no signs of infection, and on the next visit his sutures were removed. Now I only need to cover the incision area with Neosporin twice a day, and I'll continue to give him acidophilus and antibiotics until he's fully healed.

I've had Pocky on baytril for almost 2 weeks. She's been very affectionate and vocal, and gets excited when it's feeding time but still didn't eat more than a nibble or so. I could see that whatever was affecting her still wasn't being treated, so I brought her in again to the vet when Miso had his stitches taken out. Her front teeth were getting misaligned, the lower tooth was very skinny and long, and the top was very thick. She squealed like I never heard her squeal before when they trimmed her teeth. The doctor felt her facial muscles, especially around her jaw, and could see that they'd become rather emaciated in comparison to the rest of her body. I also didn't realize that Pocky wasn't opening her mouth very wide until I had to give Miso meds and saw how enunciated his chewing motions were in comparison to his sister's. Taking all this into consideration, and seeing how she didn't have any bad teeth and probably not an infection, the vet said that she probably has some pain in the main muscles of her jaws, and that would be the cause of her lack of desire/inability to eat. He prescribed her a form of cortizone for the pain, so now I'm giving her that and acidophilus til her poops regain their normal consistency, but no more reglan or antibiotics.

This photo was taken just this morning, as Pocky eats her first piece of hay in over a month.

When I syringe feed Pocky now, it seems like her chewing is a bit more animated. She'e really been trying to get at her hay, pulling at it but not eating it. This morning she ate a whole meal's worth of parsley and lettuce, and even ate a long piece of hay and a couple of pellets. I'm so relieved and happy! Seems like we finally found out what the issue is. As tiring as it is to force feed her and give her meds several times a day, it's not nearly as frustrating as knowing that your pet is suffering and you can't figure out what to do to help her.