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nsr61590
10-09-12, 10:05 pm
After over a decade with no major problems in pigland, some freak accident has caused a sudden stone/sludge epidemic in my 4 guinea pigs (I suspect something with the water?). They are on oxbow timothy hay & pellets (and daily veggies) but are about to switch over to KM. My 2 year old male, Bubbles, had surgery this week for a stone (he is doing well now), and I suspect my 6 year old male, Stewart, also has a stone and will need surgery as well. He is currently being treated for a urinary tract/kidney infection, but after 10 days on Baytril still seems "off" sometimes and I saw a single episode of bloody urine again yesterday.

My main question, however, relates to bladder sludge. I am quite certain one of my females, Miss Einstein, (age 3) is suffering from this problem, but I can't seem to find any information on how to actually treat it (and not just prevent it in the first place). I have been trying cranberry juice and she eats and drinks just fine, but I'm still seeing gritty white deposits and she squeeks when she pees.

Oh, and besides switching to KM pellets, I have ordered a brita filter for the tap water to prevent more stones.

Any tips for the bladder sludge girl? Or the overall strange situation?

bpatters
10-10-12, 07:59 am
You're definitely headed in the right direction. The other thing I'd do is look over their vegetable diets and make sure they're getting low calcium foods. If you're feeding romaine, take them off that and switch them to red or green leaf lettuce. Some pigs have urinary calcium problems with romaine, for reasons not yet understood. Others do fine forever on it. A good food chart is here: http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/diet-nutrition/22156-read-me-cavy-nutrition-charts-poisonous-plants-list.html

For your sludgy pig, syringe it a few CCs of water two or three times a day. The increased urination may help get rid of some of the sludge. But the squeaking when she pees is more indicative of a stone than just sludge, so I'd spring for an x-ray.

Welcome to the forum! We need to see pictures.

pinky
10-10-12, 08:15 am
Has your water source changed at all? I have a private well and had a stone pig when I gave them tap water. I now offer bottled water with no minerals added. One brand my store carries is treated by reverse osmosis so I buy that or distilled occasionally, but not exclusively. There is a genetic component to stones, too. Are any of yours related? I agree with bpatters to offer veggies low in calcium. Keep in mind that when you wash your veggies, the minerals from the tap water are deposited on them. I got a salad spinner (free on freecycle) to remove excess water from the vegetables I offer them. I have one guinea pig that's prone to sludge. I used to feed Oxbow, switched to Sweet Meadow and now have her on KM. She still has sludge, even though I never offer her any veggies with moderate to high calcium levels so I think she's one of those prone to sludge. It's smooth and not gritty so I'm hoping she won't end up with stones.

nsr61590
10-10-12, 10:09 pm
Thanks for the tips! I have been monitoring the veggies closely and gone off romaine. The brita filter also came in today and my KM pellets should be in soon. I think it is too late to reverse any issues without surgery for my old man, but I still have hope Miss Einstein's issue will resolve with these changes. My water source hasn't changed recently ( I moved to my current location about a year and a half ago) but she has had the squeeking while peeing issue on and off for quite some time now. I just noticed the white residue recently, however, and my boys' issues just came about suddenly in the last two months. SOMETHING had to have happened to cause it all at once, yet I can't pinpoint anything different. I can't even imagine all 3 needing surgery- once this month was enough! At least I still have one lady who remains symptom-free. None of them are related--expect pictures soon!

bpatters
10-11-12, 07:33 am
SOMETHING had to have happened to cause it all at once, yet I can't pinpoint anything different.

Not necessarily, or at least, not anything recent. Changes can occur over a period of weeks or months before there's anything to notice. It's possible that the change of water with your move was enough to set things going on a downhill course, but the genetics of your individual pigs may be responsible for how quickly/slowly the problems developed.

SardonicSmile
10-11-12, 08:42 am
pinky I was told that giving distilled water is probably not a good idea. That it can leach essential minerals from the body. Other people may say that it doesn't leach but helps flush away excess minerals and toxins from the body. I am not risking it with my pigs. I give them bottled, low calcium, water.

To get a pig to drink more to flush the bladder you could try Barley water. I never tried it but some pigs really like it.

madelineelaine
10-11-12, 10:46 am
Poor piglets :( You may want to consider elimintating pellets all together, if they still have problems with the new pellets.

Also, if you are feeding them certain herbs/forages that can cause a problem too. If my girl gets any clover, even a spring, she ends up with white spots in her pee. She can't tolerate romaine either, or other higher calcium veggies.

pinky
10-11-12, 02:50 pm
pinky I was told that giving distilled water is probably not a good idea. That it can leach essential minerals from the body. Other people may say that it doesn't leach but helps flush away excess minerals and toxins from the body. I am not risking it with my pigs. I give them bottled, low calcium, water.

To get a pig to drink more to flush the bladder you could try Barley water. I never tried it but some pigs really like it.

Which is precisely why I said I don't give them distilled water exclusively. But even then, I'm not convinced it is a health hazard. My vet had told me to offer distilled water but I read that it can cause osmotic shock in fish. I'm not so sure what the effects would be on guinea pigs. ( I could not find anything concrete stating there was a true risk) I did have one that lived to be 9.5 years old and mine have lived long lives so I don't think I've put them at any risk by rotating distilled water. Were you able to find concrete data that says it's dangerous?

nsr61590
10-11-12, 08:37 pm
I hadn't thought of barley water....where would I find (/make?) this? If this is an ongoing problem in the water, do you think the brita filter I bought for the faucet should do the job?
Update: Stewart has been losing weight again over the past few days and doesn't seem to be feeling very well. I am taking him to the vet in the morning for the xray, although I know I will have to make the inevitable decision of whether to put him through surgery as well. Knowing me, I will most likely give it a shot, but I worry about the recovery at his age and poor health.

bpatters
10-11-12, 09:30 pm
The problem with distilled water is that because it has no mineral ions in it, the ions in the body tend to move from the body into the water, e.g., the digestive tract, where it's excreted. The scientific rationale for this is the principle of diffusion through a semi-permeable membrane, but I'm not going into detail on that -- you can google it for a definition and examples.


Boil a small handful of the the barley in two cups of water and bring to boil ,

Simmer for 1/2 hour , then sieve and leave the liquid to cool , then add water "if needed" to make it fluid , then use a 1ml syringe and feed it , as much as she will take comfortably

That's a quote from a GL member on how to make barley water. As I understand it, barley water is most useful for calming the bladder in pigs with bladder infections and/or interstitial cystitis. I have no idea whether it will do anything for sludge other than getting the pig to drink more if it likes the taste. You could also try pedialyte in that case, some pigs really like it as well.

SardonicSmile
10-11-12, 11:50 pm
Which is precisely why I said I don't give them distilled water exclusively. But even then, I'm not convinced it is a health hazard. My vet had told me to offer distilled water but I read that it can cause osmotic shock in fish. I'm not so sure what the effects would be on guinea pigs. ( I could not find anything concrete stating there was a true risk) I did have one that lived to be 9.5 years old and mine have lived long lives so I don't think I've put them at any risk by rotating distilled water. Were you able to find concrete data that says it's dangerous?

I haven't done any research, just followed the logic about it leaching minerals. There are so many other options for water that I am simply not willing to risk it.
I am not saying that it is bad, but the potential is there and that is enough for me not to want to offer it to my pigs.

Kim37040
10-18-12, 07:25 pm
The problem with distilled water is that because it has no mineral ions in it, the ions in the body tend to move from the body into the water, e.g., the digestive tract, where it's excreted. The scientific rationale for this is the principle of diffusion through a semi-permeable membrane, but I'm not going into detail on that -- you can google it for a definition and examples.



That's a quote from a GL member on how to make barley water. As I understand it, barley water is most useful for calming the bladder in pigs with bladder infections and/or interstitial cystitis. I have no idea whether it will do anything for sludge other than getting the pig to drink more if it likes the taste. You could also try pedialyte in that case, some pigs really like it as well.


With the pedialyte, should I mix it with the water or give it straight?

cavy_jdas
10-18-12, 08:48 pm
Mix it with water. The pedialyte has some form of sugar in it, and too much can upset the gut. It's also very strong when straight, and you're really just trying to give the water a bit of flavor so that you get more water in.

pinky
10-18-12, 09:02 pm
The problem with distilled water is that because it has no mineral ions in it, the ions in the body tend to move from the body into the water, e.g., the digestive tract, where it's excreted. The scientific rationale for this is the principle of diffusion through a semi-permeable membrane, but I'm not going into detail on that -- you can google it for a definition and examples.


That's a quote from a GL member on how to make barley water. As I understand it, barley water is most useful for calming the bladder in pigs with bladder infections and/or interstitial cystitis. I have no idea whether it will do anything for sludge other than getting the pig to drink more if it likes the taste. You could also try pedialyte in that case, some pigs really like it as well.
I wonder if a guinea pig that has sludge or a lot of minerals in their digestive tract would benefit from distilled water since it would remove some of the excess minerals.

cavy_jdas
10-18-12, 09:31 pm
That's assuming that any it removes are "excess", but in reality, it's going to pull all until each are "even" on either side of the membrane. My understanding of the sludge (as well as stones and other similar issues) are that it's not just the amount of calcium present, but is also impacted by other mineral ratios as well as urine ph which make the calcium more or less likely to be deposited or form together.

nsr61590
10-19-12, 07:31 pm
Update:
Well, my bladder sludge girl hasn't gotten worse and while I still notice squeeking while urinating from time to time, it seems to be less often and I haven't noticed the white grittyness since using the brita filter for her water. About to start her on KM pellets and hoping for the best.
My vet has decided to put Bubbles, the stone boy, on a low-dose diuretic of sorts indefinitely (with regular check ups for crystals in the urine) to prevent more stones from forming. I can't think of the name of it right now, and don't know much about it. I think potassium was brought up? Anyone have any experience with this?
And finally, the sad news. Stewart, my six year old was found to have a TON of stones in his left ureter. I opted to do the surgery, and while he came out of anesthesia just fine, his breathing/heart became irregular and he passed away in my arms a few hours after surgery. We suspect he had some heart issues to begin with due to old age, or kidney problems from the stones. Here is a photo of him when he--and I--were young. I was very lucky to have such a WONDERFUL little man as my best friend for so many years. He will be greatly missed.
35787

SardonicSmile
10-20-12, 01:16 am
Sorry you lost Stewart.

hopefully your other furries will continue to thrive now you changed their diet.

Nix16
10-20-12, 02:00 am
Oh poor Stewart, he looks like a real sweetie too. Sounds like you've had a rough time.
Hope all your other piggies are on the mend