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Thread: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

  1. #21
    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    So things are not quite so clear any more. We had an echocardiogram done on her, and they said that her heart was working like a normal heart. So if it was "mild heart disease," it is gone now? They advised to continue giving the diuretic and eventually take her off of it, since it seemed to be making her feel all better. However now she is back to wheezing, even though we have stayed on the same med. that had seemed to stop the wheezing before and made her more active. Now she has been sitting in a sort of tensed position most of the time, with her fur ruffled up, wheezing.
    My other guinea pig Mimi is also exhibiting some weird symptoms(?) She has watery eyes, however this is a problem she has had on and off since she was a baby, I frequently need to keep her eyes clean from watering just because of the way her fur type is I believe. However she has started smacking her mouth/licking her tongue around and making a mouth smacking noise pretty often, which she never used to do before. She also makes a bit of a rough breathing or grunting sound when she folds in half to clean herself. I could just be being very paranoid on this stuff with Mimi, but they are a combination of odd things which are unusual for her. And since Lulu has an apparently mysterious illness, I'm just not sure what could be going on now.
    Thanks for any opinions/ideas.

  2. #22
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    I'd want a dental exam for Mimi. Odd movements and sounds with the mouth are frequently an indicator of something going wrong with the teeth.

    Is the diuretic the only heart-related medicine she's been on? Several exotic vets I know of combine the diuretic with other heart meds, and tweak them as necessary.

  3. #23
    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Thank you. Yes the diuretic is the only one, they said they thought the mild heart disease was cleared up by it which I don't fully understand. But they said to keep her on the diuretic and that we could slowly work her off of it eventually and see what happens.

  4. #24
    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    We are having trouble with the vet we have been seeing. We had a CT scan done in which they determined the trouble seems to be with an anatomical anomaly in her trachea. So there is no clear treatment that they know of. They finally recommended a nebulizer twice a day which has helped with her wheezing. However, after rigorous tests and being sedated 3 times (twice were on the same day using different drugs), Lulu is just not seeming herself anymore. She has been "out of it" and does not eat well at all. She doesn't show much interest in food, she eats a few pieces of lettuce and one tiny bit of bean or pepper and then she refuses any more. I come back several times throughout the day trying to get her eat a few small things at a time. She has however starting chewing on strange things, trying to eat everything but food basically. I caught her with an inch or two of fleece in her mouth, from the fleece forest that hangs by her bed. She wants to chew plastic bags, cardboard, the cage bars, etc. She has not been pooping well at all - small, dry and deformed poops infrequently, and then once every couple days she has diarrhea. This has been going on for 4-5 days. I have been making sure she drinks water several times throughout the day by putting the bottle in her mouth, but she does walk up and drink quite a bit on her own still. She does eat hay every now and then but not as much as she should be.
    So, I called the vet back up and they told me to come in and pick up some critical care for her. They were acting like critical care is this special stuff not widely available to the public, and charged us $42 just for the small bag. The woman who "helped" us did not know anything at all of what she was talking about, giving us unclear/incorrect instructions, telling us it tasted like licorice, couldn't even tell us clearly how much to give her in a day...We are very dissatisfied with the vet school, we will be switching back to the smaller vet who has good reputation for rabbits and does not charge nearly as much...The only reason we had to switch back to the vet school was for their CT scan and echo-cardiogram equipment, and having done all of that we will not be going back...
    Anyway, this is just a bit of venting frustration/confusion and an update on Lulu...In summary, her wheezing is getting better since using the nebulizer however now she generally is not eating and not pooping well, and is still "out of it" and generally not herself.

  5. #25
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Thank you for updating us on Lulu's condition. I wish you had better news.

    Our thoughts are with you, hoping for a good recovery for Lulu.

  6. "Thank you, Guinea Pig Papa, for this useful post," says:


  7. #26
    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    I've just caught her eating the fleece again. Does anyone have any ideas as to why she's suddenly started trying to eat all of these strange things? She has never showed interest in doing that or chewing on anything strange before this week.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Chewing things is often a sign of pain.

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    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    Chewing things is often a sign of pain.
    Ah :( Is there anything you'd suggest doing immediately to help her, other than the critical care and trying to feed her as much as possible? She had diarrhea again twice today.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    No ideas on the pain, but diarrhea is a really dangerous thing for a guinea pig. I'd try to get her to a good vet that you trust, ASAP/

  11. #30
    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Just a comment on the desire to eat non-edible items. My boys absolutely love non-edible things like cardboard, puppy pads, and now their new wooden house. They sometimes even nibble on the coroplast.

    I try to remember that cavies don't have much dexterity with their front paws and everything is explored with the mouth. Mine are obsessed with cardboard and will immediately run to any cardboard item that I put in the cage. They are also obsessed with chewing on puppy pads, especially the blue plastic edges. They will dig down under the fleece if I line any part of the cage with puppy pads. Many of these pads are marketed as having an odor attractant for dogs. I suspect that it also attracts cavies!

    As an FYI, I normally rarely buy cage items, but have been looking for a new hidey. I was at PetSmart the other day and bought this wooden (balsa) hidey that is easily put together. We cut a second opening in the back to match the front, put the hut together with wood glue, and they just love it. And, oh yes, they immediately set about customizing it (chewing) to suit themselves.

    Since you describe this as a new behavior, I agree that scheduling a dental exam for teeth issues is warranted.

  12. #31
    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Thanks so much bpatters and spy9doc for the useful information, much appreciated! Lulu's poop is still very irregular, lots of small misshapen dry poops, and then once a day or so a big pile of mushy poops stuck together come out at once. We just got another several inches of snow where I live so the roads are quite bad/slippery today, hopefully tomorrow they will be cleared well enough to drive her to the other vet that's farther away. I am keeping up with feeding her critical care, and she is voluntarily eating hay still but not too much. She eats a few veggies at meal times but only a few pieces.

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    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    We're having a terrible a terrible decision to make right now...We just woke up to find Lulu with a lot of diarrhea, she is barely alive, I feel her heartbeat but she is completely limp, twitching every several seconds...I've called the emergency vet and they said the special species vets are not there on the weekend but we could bring her in to see the general cat/dog ER staff. Is it possible they can do anything to help her at this stage or should we just try to keep her comfortable at home..? Thanks

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    That is a terrible place to be in. I'm so sorry.

    Would the vet staff be willing to call one of the special species vets and ask for advice on what to do?

    It's your decision, of course, but at this point, if you can't get in touch with one of the special species vets, I'd just try to keep her warm and comfortable. A trip to the vet would just add a lot of stress. It sounds like some GI problem has just overwhelmed her.

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    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Lulu passed away a few minutes after I wrote the previous post.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    I'm so sorry you're in this position.

    I agree with bpatters, a trip to the vet at this point is just added stress, and a vet that isn't an exotic specialist would likely have nothing productive to add. I would keep her as comfortable as I could, and just stay with her. I'm so sorry.

    edit: I just saw your last post while I was writing my reply. I'm so very, very sorry you lost her. She put up a hell of a fight.

    Rest in peace, little Lulu.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    I'm so very sorry, @minipig.

  18. #37
    Cavy Slave mimipig's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Thanks both for your kind words and help along the way...Lulu was genuinely the sweetest and most gentle pig...I've never lost one before, these two are my first pigs and this hurts so, so much...Here is one of the last photos I got of her and Mimi. Lulu is on the left. Rest in peace sweet baby we will miss you so incredibly much :(
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  19. #38
    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Fly free over the Rainbow Bridge, sweet Lulu! I know that my beloved Chester, Maya & Bubba were there to greet her and are showing her where to find the most delicious dandelion greens.

  20. #39
    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner ThePigAlchemist's Avatar
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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    I'm so sorry. She was a beautiful pig. It hurts so much to lose them.

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    Re: Wheezing while breathing, meds not helping so far?

    Today I am feeling very angry, guilty and full of regret over losing our Lulu. Hindsight is 20/20 and now I am feeling quite clear that all of her issues must have been gut/poop related. I was so preoccupied with the apparent wheezing that it never occurred to me, even when she had diarrhea near the end of her life, when I called the vet about it all they suggested was coming in to pick up ($42) bag of critical care, and vet suggested that it must be caused by stress from the long day she had being sedated twice and getting two CT scans. I am so upset with the way the vets handled Lulu's entire situation. I repeatedly told them all of the things I had observed in her, and they did not seem to listen, instead asking me the same questions over and over every time I went there, over 7 vet visits, what are you feeding her? What kind of cage does she have?...I had told the vets I heard Lulu's stomach make a loud noise, they did not take that into account apparently. On the very first xray we had done where the vet said she thought it was heart disease, one of the assistants also remarked that there was a little bit of gas in her stomach. At a later vet visit about 3 weeks ago, the vet school doctor was palpitating her and noticed she seemed uncomfortable/pained by it. I also showed him pictures and he saw in person her poops, which were small and dry and misshapen. We assumed it was from the diuretic which she had been given for the "heart disease" fluid around her heart. She then began to lose her appetite and I figured the small poops were a result of that. I feel so terrible and full of regret that I could have realized this and informed the misguided doctors about treatments for stomach issues...I just can't believe that in all the symptoms I told them of and that they observed, all the tests and expensive things that they did to her, they didn't try ruling out any stomach issues.
    Her initial symptom, the wheezing, I am still slightly confused by, but perhaps it could have been her whimpering with pain from her stomach? It definitely sounded like it was coming from an issue in her throat, and after the thorough tests done examining her breathing system the only thing noted was a tiny abnormality in her trachea, which was not perfectly "round."

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