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Thread: Stones and Surgery

  1. #21
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Yes, that's correct. That's what I said earlier:

    Romaine and cilantro can cause problems in some pigs. They're no higher in calcium than other lettuces/herbs, but some pigs excrete a lot of excess urinary calcium when eating them.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    So vegetables that are lower in calcium aren't technically better for stone pigs?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Yes, stone pigs need foods that are lower in calcium. The issue with romaine is that, in spite of lower calcium, it causes some pigs to excrete a large amount of urinary calcium, which is a major factor in stone formation. We don't know why this happens, and it doesn't happen to all pigs. It's either something in, or not in, the lettuce, or in, or not in, the pig, or a combination, that causes this to happen.

    I experimented with my pigs with it. I had been feeding it when they were young, and noticed a lot of dried powdery spots in the cage. I took them off romaine, and the spots mostly went away. I put them back on it, and the spots came back. So I took them off permanently.

    The bummer of this whole issue is that diet alone can't control stone formation -- either when they first form, or prevent them from coming back. It seems to help if you put them on a low calcium diet (mine have been on .4% calcium or less ever since the first stone), but stones can still form again. My one sow was on a pelletless low-calcium diet from the time of her first stone until her second one, 2.5 years later. Her sister has had the same diet all her life with no problems at all.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    So it's all a gamble really. I figured as much. Thank you so much. I'll update this thread the moment Agent is out of surgery tomorrow and I get a call from the vet.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    It's a total gamble. Some pigs will have one stone episode and then be free the rest of their lives. Others will re-develop stones within two weeks. You just have to control what you can, and cross your fingers that it works.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    That's the unfortunate thing about stones, there isn't a sure fire way to prevent them. A change in diet seems to be the best preventative measure though. My sow has been stone free for almost 8 months since being on a fairly restricted low calcium diet. Although the diet may not work forever, it has given her many months and hopefully many more months of being stone free.

    I wish you and your little guy the best of luck tomorrow and I hope his surgery goes smoothly!

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Best of luck to you and your piggie with the surgery!!

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Small update: Agent is now at the vet awaiting surgery, I'll be called once he's finished. But I stopped by the pet store that I recently got his pellets from to pick up Vita Drops and I read the fine print on the pellets! They're alfalfa based pellets, not timothy hay! >:(

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Big update! Agent made it through surgery and all of the stones were removed. Thankfully the one that was very close to his urethra didn't make it in yet. He's still really loopy from the anesthetic and pain medications (and supposedly he looks really funny half shaved). I'll be able to pick him up on Friday or Saturday, after the vets make sure he's cleared for the 48 hours post-operation.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Check with those vets and make sure that someone will be in the clinic overnight to hand-feed him and give him medication. If they won't be, go back and demand to take him home with you with food, syringes, probiotics and pain medication so YOU can take care of him. He can't be left alone for 8-12 hours at this stage.

    But yea for making it through surgery!

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Glad he made it through surgery ok!! And definitely do what bpatters said above.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    I just called and was confirmed that there will be doctors there overnight to take care of him (it's a 24 hour vet), thank you for notifying me about that!
    Last edited by Ghazee; 06-03-15 at 02:08 pm.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Update: I went in and saw my pig, he's eating and pooping but still has a fever after the surgery.
    I also got my other pig x-rayed because of how bloated she seemed. Turns out she has gas, a bit of congestion, AND calcium sludge (my luck!!). So it looks like both of my pigs will be going on a low-calcium diet! Any advice would be wonderful, seriously. I'm freaking out about how I'm going to feed them properly with all of their picky choices for food. I'm ordering a bucket of KMS as I type this but they're being fed Mazuri until I get the order. Would Oxbow Urinary Support tablets benefit my two pigs in any way?

  14. #34
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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    I fed my two Oxbow Urinary Support after Flourish had her first stone, and she still developed another. So I don't know whether they help or not. She went 2.5 years after the first one without another. It might have been the low calcium diet, it might have been the Urinary Support tablets, it might have been just plain luck.

    KMS pellets are good, but my sow had Oxbow Performance for young cavies the first six months of her life, then KMS for 2.5 years, and got a stone. To be honest, if you've got a pig with stones at nine months of age, I'd take him off pellets completely. They're not necessary to a pig's diet, they're just a convenient way to get vitamins and minerals in them.

    I aim for a diet that is less than .4% calcium. Every day, per pig, they've gotten for breakfast: one baby carrot, red or green leaf lettuce; for lunch: a small chunk of radicchio, a small hunk of belgian endive, a couple of wheels of summer squash (zucchini or yellow), a couple of young green beans; and for supper: a chunk of tomato, and several slices of bell pepper. For supper, they've gotten more lettuce or, if I can find them, fresh corn husks and silks. They get occasional bits of fruit, usually either blueberries, a small apple slice, or watermelon rind.

    Since they've been pelletless and they'd gotten to the age where they started losing weight, I've also given Oasis Vita-Drops multi-vitamins. I don't give nearly as many as the bottle calls for -- maybe 3-4 drops on the veggies 2-3 times a week.

    To be honest, you can do everything right and still have a pig develop stones. I have been religious about the diet for my two, and still wound up losing Flourish to stone complications. You just have to do the best you can and keep your fingers crossed.

  15. "Thank you, bpatters, for this useful post," says:


  16. #35
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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Oh my fingers are quite crossed! :) I'm hoping this is a one time thing for my little guy. I can tell surgery was not fun for him.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Now a new question. Agent will most likely be coming home tomorrow. Will I have to quarantine him from his cagemate while he is still healing? If not, will I have to reintroduce them to make sure no fighting happens?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    You'll have to separate, and re-introduce.

    It will be better if you can confine him in one end of your cage, so that he's close to his buddy but can't be aggravated by him. He needs to stay separated for at least a week, maybe 10 days.

    And in spite of that, you'll need to do introductions again. When Flourish had her surgery, I assumed that because they'd always been together (they were litter mates), she'd been gone less than five hours for the surgery, and she was confined in one end of the big cage, I wouldn't need to do introductions. Nope. I should have done it, and I think it would be even more important for boars.

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    His cagemate is a female but I had a feeling I would have to do that. She is pretty bossy and dislikes it when he tries to show off in front of her :)

  20. #39
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    Is one of them neutered?

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    Re: Stones and Surgery

    She's spayed

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