About Club Foot
Club Foot, this seems to be a topic that needs to be covered more these days. Since having Raccoon come into our care. He is our gorgeous boy who has Club Foot on his front paw. We have now had a few come into the sanctuary. I feel like this is the right time to make a start on this topic. I have also noticed, there have been more Club Foot guinea pig's born or have come into the care of others lately. Let me start off with saying Club Foot does not make your guinea pig RETARDED and DOES NOT NEED TO BE PUT TO SLEEP! Yes Club Foot can effect a guinea pig, it does depend of the severity of it. But with a little bit of time and care, they can still live a great life. Health wise a Club Foot guinea pig is usually completely normal.
What Cause's Club Foot?
Club Foot is a very hard thing to be sure how it truly happens and sadly there is not much information out there on this topic. Club Foot can be in one or two feet, sometimes more. More then two is very uncommon. Some evidence says its caused due to pregnancy in extreme heat or some say its just a genetic deformation they are born with. Deformation usually comes from a female being over bred/ back to back breeding. Some show that it is due to the way the guinea pig sits in the womb and how the guinea pig grows and forms while in the womb.
Closer Look At Club Foot
Blackberry was surrendered to us nearly dead. We brought him back to good health and taught him how to drink and eat properly. Along with physiotherapy to teach him how to move better. As he could barely move on arrival. We managed to get him to able to do a fast hop. Kinda like a rabbit, this way he as able to get around and move. Blackberry had the most severe case of clubfoot that has been at Mintie N Friends Guinea Pig Sanctuary. All four of his legs were effected by clubfoot. Blackberry lived a loved and spoilt life and gave the most unforgettable nibs/nibbles. It was a gentle way of him showing his love. Despite doing everything Blackberry when downhill and never came back up. He will never be forgotten and his story will go on.
Blackberry - Front
As you can see Blackberry's front feet sit differently to a normal guinea pig. His bones bend outwards more straight. His feet bend inwards towards his head. Making the flexibility in his front feet very minimal.
Blackberry - Back
As you can see Blackberry's back feet and hips sit different to a normal guinea pig. His left leg sits straight without a bend where his foot starts. Making there no flexibility in the left leg or foot. Right side has a shorter leg bone and with some bend but not as much flexibility.
His hips are shorter and closer together, making the flexibility and ability to move or walk normally. Making him have to 'hop' more like a rabbit when he moves.
Blackberry - Side
As you can see the posture and way Blackberry's posture/ standing position is compared to how a normal guinea pig would be.
Blackberry - X-ray Side
The side x-ray shows how Blackberry's how his bones and front sit.
Blackberry - X-ray Front
This front x-ray shows how Blackberry's front feet bone sits and bends inwards towards his ribs/ chest instead of sitting how a normal guinea pig's feet would sit.
Blackberry - X-ray Back
This back x-ray shows how Blackberry's back leg and hip bones sit and bend. You can see how are closer inwards and sit different to a normal guinea pig. His back leg's and joints are different and show where the the bends or flexibility is limited.
How Do You Manage The Correct Care For Club Foot?
Club Foot can be treated at the early stages of life. There have even been some success to treatment of guinea pig's almost fully having normal feet. This doesn't always mean there is going to be a huge success in treatment. But here are some of the best way's to help treat it: > Regularly massage and stimulate the foot. - This helps keep the muscles, tissue etc in the foot moving and helps create muscle memory. The more you move the foot straight and guide it. The more likely its going to want to go into the position. > Bandage the foot straight. - By bandaging the foot straight this helps gives the foot an indication on the correct direction it should be sitting. (I know, it is hard to get a guinea pig to keep a bandage on. I find vet wrap to be the best. Even if its on for a short time after massaging, this should still help.) > Regular movement/ exercise. - Keeping the foot or feet moving is important as this keep the motion and movement to the foot. As much as all doing all these thing's does help, it does not guarantee to fix Club Foot completely. This does still guarantee a better chance of normality. If you do end up with a guinea pig with Club Foot in your care and are not sure what to do. Please take it to a rescue, where it can get the care it will require and a chance at life.
Current Club Foot Guinea Pigs
These are the current guinea pig's with Club Foot here at Mintie N Friends.
Raccoon has Club Foot on his front foot, where it bends inwards. Besides this, he lives a perfectly happy and normal life. He gets around great.
Butterscotch has Club Foot on both front feet where they both bend inwards. Besides this, he still gets around really well. He lives a perfectly happy and normal life.
Butterscotch is Nutmeg's brother (Living separately of course) This shows that Club Foot can occur in more guinea pig pup in a litter. Butterscotch and Nutmeg were born from a female who was rescued from over breeding already pregnant. They were from a litter of 3, there other sibling was completely normal and not born with Club Foot.
Nutmeg has Club Foot on her front foot, whee it bends outwards. Besides this, Nutmeg lives a perfectly happy and normal life.
Nutmeg is Butterscotch's brother, as stated above.
Cotton has mild Club Foot, but still Club Foot none the less. Both of Cotton's front feet slightly bend outwards. They were a lot worse when first arriving with her sister Candy, as they were young and got massaged daily. It managed to help long term effects. Sadly this isn't always a sure solution for Club Foot. Besides this Cotton lives a perfectly happy and normal life.
Candy is very similar with Club Foot like her sister Cotton. She also has mild Club Foot on both front feet. Although one does bend outwards slightly a little more than the other. Besides this Candy lives a perfectly happy and normal life.
Cookie - Front
Cookie has Club Foot on her back legs. Cookie requires daily massages to keep her muscles and blood flow in her back legs stimulated.
Cookie - Back
Cookie's back leg's are permanently in this outward position. Making her look like she is always laying down. Her bones and legs do not have the flexibility to move like a normal guinea pig's back legs. Because on this she drags her back legs around. She gets around really well considering. She will have weekly physiotherapy to try and strengthen her back leg muscles and stimulate any possible movement. She is a very happy and spoiled guinea pig, she is healthy besides her Club Foot.
Research/ Information Gained
Have discovered that clubfoot guinea pig's do better on on toggle mats, fleece or vet bed. This helps walking around much easier. It also helps prevent risk on bumblefoot. Which I have also discovered they are more prone to getting bumblefoot then normal guinea pig's. Keeping the cage the as the same layout and making it easier to move around. Regular stimulation to the foot or feet with clubfoot. I do this weekly for the clubfoot guinea pig's here.