Dexter is a male, 4 month old smooth-haired guinea pig who came to us because of an injury he sustained to his right hind leg. He got his leg stuck between the bars of his cage which caused bruising and limping. On physical exam his right hind foot was swollen, bruised and painful and he was having difficulty walking. The swelling and bruising extended up just beyond the tarsal (hock) joint. There was also grinding palpable in the hock joint.
Our next step was to take xrays of his hind feet and hocks. Both hind legs were xrayed in order to provide a comparison of normal and abnormal structures. The images taken revealed moderate soft tissue swelling of the right hind leg extending from the digits to the tarsal (hock) joint. There was also a dislocation at the tarsal-metatarsal joint. Treatment options discussed with the owner included surgery (pin or wire placement to maintain the joint in proper alignment) or splint placement. A splint was decided on.
Dexter’s leg was held in alignment while the splint was placed. This included a layer of soft cast padding followed by the custom-molded splint. The toes were left visible but protected so that Dexter’s owner could check to make sure there was no abnormal swelling or discolouration. Dexter was also sent home with a pain and anti-inflammatory medication that he loves to eat with his lettuce. The splint needs to stay in place for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks.
So far Dexter has adjusted very well to having a splint on his hind leg. He is full of energy, eats very well and is not letting his injury get in the way of making the most of life! Dexter’s family has been diligent about giving his medication and checking his toes to make sure that he is not developing any complications. We expect Dexter to make an excellent recovery.