PDA

View Full Version : Sick Iso Advice, Sick Boar w/ possible Stones



Jencat
10-28-14, 11:44 am
Hello,
One of my 2 boars has a possible bladder stone according to the emergency vet we saw at last night. They drew a full syringe of urine from his bladder that was sludgy, has crystals, blood and white blood cells present. She was unable to physically locate a stone by hand or with their ultrasound. I declined the xrays b/c they were an additional $250, which I honestly don't have. I walked out of there with some pain meds and antibiotics for $230 last night and the advice to go to another more experienced vet in the morning.

The backstory:
His name is Chester, he is a silky Peruvian. Normally he is a noisy, feisty little pig, which may have taken me longer to figure out he was ill. I mistook some of the noises he was making b/c he is normally so noisy I didn't think any of it, until he let me pick him up without hesitation, which was clear sign he isn't feeling well. He is still eating a small amount of fresh veggies, 1/4 cup or less of celery, cucumber & green bell pepper, but seem uninterested in pellets or his water bottle. He is still passing at least small amounts of urine this morning with no obvious blood. When I brought him home at 1am last night I quarantined him in another cage with white towel to be able to monitor him. He stool is abnormal as well, longer, thinner and lighter colored, but still passing a few. I gave him a thorough bath, oil massage and rectum clean out yesterday per some instructions on the guinea lynx site, he does not appear to have a bowel obstruction, the vet agreed. Her theory was that the bladder was pushing on the intestines causing poops to be mishaped. When he attempts to go potty he starts wheeking and then makes a sort if whelping/grunt sound and lurches. Usally if I pick him up I can see he has just passed one small poop

I guess I feel stuck now, I don't have another $250 for another vet visit today, but I don't want him to suffer. I guess what I am asking, Do you think its even remotely possible for me to attempt to nurse him back to health with hand feedings, giving lots of fluids and natural methods? I have done some reading and see there are a handful of plants called antilithic, Does anyone have experience with those? I can easily get my hands on Uva Ursi. I did try giving some 2 days ago, but he was not interested eating the not fresh growth, and there is almost non this time of year, its all woody. I do have high powered blender and could easily make up a slurry to syringe feed him. How about cranberry juice/water via syringe? I am really reaching for ideas, I feel awful, I dont want him to be in pain, but I dont have more money for surgery either.
Any positive and non-judgemental advice would be greatly appreciated from someone who has experienced a similar situation before.
Thanks in advance. Now I will try and get my 5 year old off to preschool for picture day without being stressed out. It may be a few hours before I can reply or answer questions about Chester. Please let me know if I have left out any important information.

Thanks,
Jen

bpatters
10-28-14, 12:16 pm
My responses, in no particular order...

1) It's rare for a male to pass a stone unless it's very small, simply because the urethra is so long.

2) X-ray is the definitive diagnosis for bladder stones, because almost all of them are radiopaque and will show up. Neither palpation nor ultrasound is nearly as good at finding stones.

3) Cranberry juice is useless in meat-eaters for actual stones or established infection, though it may help to prevent infection. Guinea pigs are herbivores, and their urine is basic, not acidic like meat-eating mammals, so it's totally useless for them. You'd have to give either a very concentrated amount or an awful lot of it, and even then the guinea pig's body would be working to reestablish the basic balance of the urine.

4) I'd be very wary of the antilithic herbs. One list I found of them has both dandelion and parsley on it, both no-nos for stone pigs because of the high calcium. The only carefully done research on it I can find was on calcium oxalate stones, and by far the largest majority of stones in guinea pigs are calcium carbonate. Additionally, if there truly were things out there that would dissolve existing stones, I think the GP community would have been all over it long ago, since stones are such a common problem.

5) Uva ursi (bearberry) can be toxic and can cause liver damage. Given how delicate GP digestive systems are, I wouldn't use it on my pigs.

6) What exactly do you feed him? What kind of pellets, and how many? What kind of hay, and how much? What kind of veggies, and how many of each?

7) My best advice to you is to see if you can find the money for the x-rays (and you should be able to get them for much less than $250 -- it cost me $90 for two pigs at my vet) and determine exactly what size the stone is, if there even is one. If there is, and it's too big to expel, then I'd have it removed. If it falls into the urethra and blocks the flow of urine, you've got an expensive emergency surgery on your hands that has little chance of succeeding, and a pig in extreme pain. If it's very small (unlikely, given the pain he's having when pooping), then something that relaxes the urethra, plus some heavy duty sub-qs might flush it out, but might not.

Good luck with him, and let us know how he does.

Jencat
10-28-14, 01:03 pm
Thank you for your quick response.
I did see the definite no-nos on the antilithic list like parsely and dandelion and plan to steer clear of those. I am still reading up on the Uva ursi usage/dosage, I am trying to find more information about the hydroquinone in the leaves and how it would affect the piggie liver. I have not given given him but a few leaves at this point.
I will probably keep giving the cran/water mixture by syringe since I already have it here, but I realize it could be futile :(
He eats Oxbow pellets, the adult ones, has unlimited orchard grass at all time. Previously had timothy, but switched a few months ago when I found a new supplier.
His veggie plate varies based on season, but recently before a problem was noticed he was having a rotation of mostly red peppers, green peppers, carrots, broccoli stems & leaves, clovers, radishes, celery, cucumbers. Over the summer he definitely had more dandelions greens being out in the garden. I probably over feed veggies to be honest and the pellets are in a hopper style feeder I fill when its empty. I kinda of just let them eat how much they want since they have a huge cage to run around in. I should know better :(

I am capable of giving subq fluids if needed, my diabetic cat made me get over my fear of needles.

I will try to call around and find some other vets with more reasonable prices.

In the meantime, Any idea how much extra fluid I should be pushing orally? Should I start a pellet mash?


My responses, in no particular order...

1) It's rare for a male to pass a stone unless it's very small, simply because the urethra is so long.

2) X-ray is the definitive diagnosis for bladder stones, because almost all of them are radiopaque and will show up. Neither palpation nor ultrasound is nearly as good at finding stones.

3) Cranberry juice is useless in meat-eaters for actual stones or established infection, though it may help to prevent infection. Guinea pigs are herbivores, and their urine is basic, not acidic like meat-eating mammals, so it's totally useless for them. You'd have to give either a very concentrated amount or an awful lot of it, and even then the guinea pig's body would be working to reestablish the basic balance of the urine.

4) I'd be very wary of the antilithic herbs. One list I found of them has both dandelion and parsley on it, both no-nos for stone pigs because of the high calcium. The only carefully done research on it I can find was on calcium oxalate stones, and by far the largest majority of stones in guinea pigs are calcium carbonate. Additionally, if there truly were things out there that would dissolve existing stones, I think the GP community would have been all over it long ago, since stones are such a common problem.

5) Uva ursi (bearberry) can be toxic and can cause liver damage. Given how delicate GP digestive systems are, I wouldn't use it on my pigs.

6) What exactly do you feed him? What kind of pellets, and how many? What kind of hay, and how much? What kind of veggies, and how many of each?

7) My best advice to you is to see if you can find the money for the x-rays (and you should be able to get them for much less than $250 -- it cost me $90 for two pigs at my vet) and determine exactly what size the stone is, if there even is one. If there is, and it's too big to expel, then I'd have it removed. If it falls into the urethra and blocks the flow of urine, you've got an expensive emergency surgery on your hands that has little chance of succeeding, and a pig in extreme pain. If it's very small (unlikely, given the pain he's having when pooping), then something that relaxes the urethra, plus some heavy duty sub-qs might flush it out, but might not.

Good luck with him, and let us know how he does.

bpatters
10-28-14, 01:13 pm
Again, in no particular order...

1) Oxbow pellets have been implicated in stone formation in some pigs. The calcium source is calcium carbonate, and it's involved in stone formation. KMS is the only US brand of pellets that do not have calcium carbonate in them, and several people have had good luck with them with their stone pigs.

2) Adult pigs should not have unlimited pellets. They're really just a convenient way to give vitamins and minerals, and 1/8 cup per adult pig per day is plenty. They can even go pelletless if necessary. I had to take mine off pellets entirely when my stone pig couldn't tolerate even KMS pellets.

3) A pig that is eating nothing else needs at least 50-60 cc of Critical Care or a pellet slurry, divided into 5-6 feedings per day. If he's eating some, you can decrease the slurry amount accordingly.

4) The danger with overfeeding veggies is that some pigs will come to prefer them to hay, and wind up with dental problems.

5) I'd give him all the fluids he'll drink without stressing him out.

6) What city are you in or close to? Maybe someone can recommend a good exotic vet.

Jencat
10-28-14, 03:16 pm
I will stop by the feed store after I pick up my son from school, I believe they have the KMS there. Thanks for the tips, I thought Oxbow was top of the line when I researching.
I did see him go take a few nibbles from his pellet bowl and he will nibble at his cucs, celery & peppers. I would say overall appetite is about 30-40% of normal.
I can certainly change out the hopper feeder, It was just convenient since it came with them as a rescue.
Maybe I will pull the pellets from his cage completely for now, and stick to just fresh veggies and orchard grass. They said his teeth looked well last night. Both piggies are HUGE fans of when we switched to the orchard grass

What is critical care? a special diet food?
If I end up the slurry route, would there be any benefit from a cold pressed coconut oil being mixed in? My thought was it could help him calorically until his full appetite resumes, plus it has so many other beneficial properties. Is there any reason it would be contraindicated?

He seems to be taking my fluid via syringe well right now. Any guidelines of how much to actually give them per day/ at a time? Is there such a thing as too much?
I've done this with cats before, but not these guys. I am walking in blind here.

And here is my last thought, it is very hard for me to even say. Even if I found a vet who would do a reasonably priced xray, surgery is not an option for us. So is pushing for the xray really necessary if I wont commit to a surgery? Is is worth it to get a rx for whatever it is they prescribe to guinea pigs with stones? I feel like the vet we saw last night should be able to give me that based on out visit. I know they typically dont respond, but does that mean we shouldn't even try it? Is it really expensive meds? I am just trying to be honest with how much I can and cannot spend. I honestly do love the little bugger and I just rescued him less than a year ago. I hate having to put financials first here, but I have to be realistic with my family and our costs. We have 4 cats and another piggie. I already have one terminally ill cat in the house that cost a fortune :(


Again, in no particular order...

1) Oxbow pellets have been implicated in stone formation in some pigs. The calcium source is calcium carbonate, and it's involved in stone formation. KMS is the only US brand of pellets that do not have calcium carbonate in them, and several people have had good luck with them with their stone pigs.

2) Adult pigs should not have unlimited pellets. They're really just a convenient way to give vitamins and minerals, and 1/8 cup per adult pig per day is plenty. They can even go pelletless if necessary. I had to take mine off pellets entirely when my stone pig couldn't tolerate even KMS pellets.

3) A pig that is eating nothing else needs at least 50-60 cc of Critical Care or a pellet slurry, divided into 5-6 feedings per day. If he's eating some, you can decrease the slurry amount accordingly.

4) The danger with overfeeding veggies is that some pigs will come to prefer them to hay, and wind up with dental problems.

5) I'd give him all the fluids he'll drink without stressing him out.

6) What city are you in or close to? Maybe someone can recommend a good exotic vet.

bpatters
10-28-14, 03:27 pm
You can't get KMS at the store -- it's only available online from www.kmshayloft.com.

Pellets are the least important part of a pig's diet. The rule of thumb is 80-85% hay, 10-15% veggies, and no more than 5% pellets.

I would NOT mix coconut oil with his food. These guys are herbivores with no natural oils in their diets, and it may cause more problems than it might solve.

Critical Care is a food that has some additional vitamins and minerals mixed in. It's usually used for debilitated or sick pigs, but pellet slurry will work just as well.


There's nothing they prescribe for guinea pigs with stones with the possible exception of antibiotics in case there's an infection, and pain medication for relief when pooping. There is nothing that will dissolve an existing stone. There's some anecdotal evidence of it by owners, but nothing that has been documented or verified.

If you can't afford treatment for him, there are two options -- see if you can find a rescue that will take him and have the surgery done, or have him euthanized. One third possibility is Care Credit, which is designed for paying medical bills and can be used for pets as well. You can google up some information on it and see if it would fit your situation.

sallyvh
10-28-14, 03:40 pm
I just want to say I am so sorry you are in this situation. I personally just went through bladder stone issues with my one sow last week, so I know how you feel.

If surgery isn't an option for you then I don't think the X-ray has much of a value, it would only be able to confirm that there is a stone that is present. Since you are unable to do the surgery the best you can do is manage his pain and infection with medication and antibiotics. The truth is though that chances are he will not pass the stone, it will either stay inside his bladder causing pain and irritation or it will start to pass and become stuck which is deadly and extremely painful.

In my case, my pig was asymptomatic for stones, I was suspecting ovarian cysts but upon an X-ray a stone was revealed. She was placed on Metacam and Sulfatrim and given fluids. Finances for the surgery were very tight with me too, I am a University student and I don't have tons of extra spending money. She on the other hand was very comfortable so my vet said we could try and manage her with medication. On her second vet visit she was given more fluids which started the passing of her stone. She was in a lot of pain so I scraped together money and made an emergency appointment for the surgery. By the next morning for her surgery she seemed to be doing a lot better and her pre-operation X-ray revealed she passed her stone. Unfortunately though males cannot pass stones the same females can as the Urethra is much longer and thinner.

My only advice would be to make sure he is comfortable and if he is in so much pain the most humane option would be to euthanize him or to see if you can surrender him to a rescue that can get him the surgery he needs. Again I apologize that he is in this situation and that you are faced with the decisions you are.

If you are interested in reading about my girls Bladder stone journey here is a link to the thread: http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/103193-Margaret-s-Medical-Thread-Possible-Ovarian-Cysts

Jencat
10-28-14, 06:33 pm
Darn, I was under the impression there was a medicine they could try that wasn't super effective but might help, I thought it could be worth a try.
I don't know if its the medication, but he isn't complaining quite as much today. Not to say he isnt still fussing though. I am giving him and extra 1-2 cc of water an hour in addition to whatever he is taking via veggie. Doesn't seem to be super interested in his water bottle, could be placement, so I will mess with that.
I gave him some green leaf lettuce and he gobbled that right up. He is definitely still passing both urine and poop right now. I cant say how much, but I do keep moving his little pigloo around every hour or 2 to put it on a dry spot and watch for new wet spots.
Since I really have nothing else going for him right now for the possible stone, I went and picked 30g (1/4 de-stemmed leaves) of the uva ursi, washed it real good, added 1 rib of celery, 5 slices cucumber, a small vit c tab, vit d drop, and 1 cup of water into the blender and made a slurry. It made about 1.5 of very liquid slurry. I am giving him 3 ml of that an hour. I skipped the coconut oil. I am just hanging out in the same room with him right now trying to keep an eye on his vocal noises and he seems more alert today and less pain. Fingers crossed. I am going to try my darnedest to nurse him back with what nature gave me, but I am fully aware of the mortality rate I am looking at here. I will continue to give him warm baths and gentle little oil massages "down there". If he worsens at any point we will take to a clinic to be humanly euthanized :'( My heart is breaking and I wish I had a pile on money to spend on everything :( I really want to hope the Chester is going to be the one in million that can pass it, thinking happy thoughts.

At what point would you consider pushing subq fluids? I have a call into the vet who saw me last night, but she doesn't start her rotation until 3rd shift and no one else on staff knows much about piggies.

sallyvh
10-28-14, 06:49 pm
My vet recommended subQ fluids both times I brought her in for a checkup as they can help flush the bladder. I don't know if subQ fluids would be ideal for him though, if he starts passing the stone most likely it would just get stuck and cause an extreme amount of pain ultimately resulting in his death from a blockage.

Jencat
10-28-14, 10:31 pm
I touched base with the vet we saw last night. She was glad to hear he had peed multiple times today, but it unfortunately it had blood in it a few times. She suggested I keep giving fluids orally as long as he will accept, 65-70 ml per day and keep a close eye on him. Basically watch if he stops peeing. Lots of hay and water, and continue antibiotics and pain meds.

Sally, how much fluid did you give per day? I did mention it to the vet, she said as long as he is not resisting orally I don't need to pursue it subq.

I also spoke to my SIL who went to school for Chinese medicine, specializing in herbs and acupuncture. She suggested a tincture called Stone breaker from herb pharm, luckily my local vitamin store has it and I picked up a bottle after dinner. She recommended 2 drops per dose for his body weight, we'll give that a try and see how it goes. Hoping for a miracle here.

Chester is not making as much painful noises anymore and I want to take this as a sign off improvement.

Thank you so much for all your input and support for Chester :)

Jencat
10-30-14, 10:59 pm
Update: Chester is still with us! I just finished giving him his extra fluids for the evening and noticed something strange when I flipped him over, there was this small white object poking out of his genitals. At first I though it was a piece of hair,but I decided to grab a pair of blunt nose tweezers to grab it. The first 1\8th inch broke, then I realized it definitely wasn't hair. I was able to get a hold of it again and gently remove it. I was kinda shocked\horrified at whatever the heck it is! Chester didn't fuss about it. The texture is soft and pliable, absolutely not hair. It's about 3\4 long. Not sure what else I can say about it.

What the H E Double hockey sticks is it? Please please please don't tell me I just discovered "glue" !

Soecara
10-30-14, 11:32 pm
Sounds like a sperm rod to me.

It is possible that this was the cause of his discomfort from the beginning. Personally I would go and get him x-rayed to 100% rule out a stone, just for peace of mind as he may have never had a stone to begin with. If the sperm rods turn into an ongoing issue then you will need to look into getting him neutered.

http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=212
http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=213

Jencat
10-30-14, 11:51 pm
Here's the photo I snapped. My phone was not cooperating.

Jencat
10-31-14, 12:19 am
Whoa! That is totally what it is. Little creeped out now, gonna wash my hands about 10 more times.
I will keep treating with the stone breaker for now since the folks on those threads you linked mentioned gritty/sandy urine as well. Maybe I should check him each time he starts fussing to see if this is happening? I gave him a little wash & rinse afterwards, he needed it anyway from being on white towels today, I dont have any white fleece on hand and the towels get funky pretty fast. After his rinse I gave him a little rub with some oil and he does seem to have a spot on the right side that he doesnt like when I put pressure on. At least I know he is peeing a fair amount still. His towel today was pretty wet. He has fresh white sheets/towels for the night, we'll see if anything changes. There wasnt nealy any blood notible today like it had been the day before. I am curious if that will change again tomorrow. I think I am going to ask then
Wondering if these typically happen spontaneously or is it likely he still has something else in addition to this.


Sounds like a sperm rod to me.

It is possible that this was the cause of his discomfort from the beginning. Personally I would go and get him x-rayed to 100% rule out a stone, just for peace of mind as he may have never had a stone to begin with. If the sperm rods turn into an ongoing issue then you will need to look into getting him neutered.

http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=212
http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=213

Jencat
10-31-14, 12:37 pm
Ok, more vague-ish questions :) I was talking to a friend of mine b/c I found out she used to have piggies before I met her. We were discussing the sperm rod I "discovered" last night, which led to a conversation about sexing them, and that I knew Chester is definitely a boy. As she was explaining it I had a rather odd question, I asked "cant you feel the penis through the skin if you apply a little pressure" . She said I shouldnt be able to feel anything palpable down there. AHHHCCKKK What? Really? Is this accurate? Should I not be able to feel what simply I assumed was his penis through his skin!?!?!? Am I likely feeling an actual the blockage in reality? This thing I can feel has been there since before I took him to a vet, so I assumed it was normal, otherwise they would have said something. Did I just get hosed a vets office? is Chester doomed?

He is still taking antibiotics, but we are out of pain meds. I called the vets office request a refill on pain meds b/c I am pretty sure he still needs them.
Sorry for so many questions, I am learning all kinds of new things this past week,

bpatters
10-31-14, 12:43 pm
No, it's not accurate. She doesn't know what she's talking about.

If you rub your finger crosswise across the abdomen of a male pig, you'll be able to feel a ridge just under the surface. If you press down and towards the rear end at that point, you can extrude the penis.

You were most likely not feeling the blockage, but that's easy enough to test. Try to feel it again. You know it's not there, so if you feel something in the area I described, it will be the penis.

Sperm rods are very common with male pigs, much more so with some than with others. I've read of a couple of pigs who've had so many so often that they've had to be neutered, which took care of the problems.

Is he acting like he's in pain? Sitting with his hair puffed up? Lethargic and not eating? If not, he probably doesn't need any more pain medication. If he is, then he does. If the rod was blocking the flow of urine, that was likely the cause of the pain. Now that it's gone, he may feel better.

Jencat
10-31-14, 01:31 pm
Whew! I picked up his brother Spaghetti and he feels the same. I feel more assured it is in fact his penis. He definitely still has some discomfort if I put more pressure on a certain spot and also when he is going to the bathroom. He started doing the wheeking/grunting this more so again last night and this morning. The blood seems to have cleared up, or its at least not visable anymore b/c his urine is getting diluted from extra water I am syringe feeding him. I wouldn't classify him as lethargic, but he is in no way his normal feisty self. Still alert and will mosey a little in his small cage or when I put him on the floor. He is still interested in food, but again with a very small appetite. I have taken the pellets away completely right now as well, only hay, green leaf lettuce, cucs, celery & peppers. I have been changing the top layer is his cage 2x a day to monitor wetness, still lots of wets spots. Poops are still long and thin though, not much mass to them. A few have looked like a bunch of small pieces of feces lightly compressed together, not totally solid, if that makes sense. Chester is normally really chattery and has always been big pain to wrangle him when I need to get him out of the cage, he specifically hates being touched anywhere but his head. I have always attributed that to being poorly raised and not socialized properly, but am now considering if he has always been in pain, or just cant stand being around Spaghetti?

I also attribute some of his behavior changes to being separated from his brother. I put Chester back in the main portion of the cage for a few minutes while I cleaned his smaller quarantine cage above and they were so NOT happy to see each other. This is nothing new, they fought horribly when I first got them and they lived in a small pet store cage. I dont think they are BFF's by any means now, they simply tolerate each other more with more space. They were both acting like total punks when I put them back together last night. Chattering, chasing and pestering one another, neither was please with the other. I am considering keeping them apart permanently now, they seem so much happier individually then with each other.

bpatters
10-31-14, 01:50 pm
Don't worry about the wet spots in the cage. They're not an indicator of anything except for the fact that he's peeing.

If his poops are not normal, then take away the cucumbers and see if they firm up. You may have to cut back on some of the other veggies as well.

Not liking to be touched can be a sign of mites. Has Chester been treated?

If he's still squeaking when he poops, it's probably from a stone. Have you investigated Care Credit as a possibility for affording the treatment he needs?

Jencat
11-03-14, 01:57 pm
RIP my sweet little Chester. Sadly over the weekend his condition worsened and I choose to have him put him to sleep :'( We brought him home, buried him in a nice spot in the garden and sprinkled marigolds all around. Its been a tough few days around our house, he was such a handsome little dude and his hair looked absolutely amazing that day.70161 Good night little buddy.

Rywen
11-03-14, 10:22 pm
Oh no, such sad news. I'm very sorry for your loss, RIP little Chester.