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Thread: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    It's totally normal, and you'll never be able to stop it. Pigs excrete excess calcium in their urine, and you can't, and shouldn't, lower the calcium in the diet until the spots go away. You'll wind up with a pig with broken teeth and bones if you do that.

    Large and/or gritty spots are a sign that you need to address calcium in the diet. But some pigs will have excess urinary calcium no matter what you feed them. Others will never have it. I once pig-sat for a pig for six months that ate all sorts of high calcium foods all the time, and never had an issue. He lived to be eight years old with never a urinary problem. I also had two litter mates, one of which had repeated bladder stones and eventually died of complications of them, and her sister never had any difficulty.

    So all you can do is keep calcium low, but not zero, in the diet, and cross your fingers that you don't have a stone-forming pig.

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


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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Thanks for the quick reply bpatters :) One thing I noticed is that I can hold Hippo for a super long time without him urinating. Once he was on my shoulder for 30 minutes and no pee. A few days ago he urinated on me and it was just a few drops... While his cagemate, Michael, leaves giant puddles on me after a few minutes. Should I be concerned?

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    No, not at all. Some pigs will pee on you, some won't.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    I had Hippo out for lap time this morning and I noticed that one of his fingers has a bald spot and it looks fleshy. It was impossible to get a good picture, but you can see the general shape/colour of the wound. Any idea what this is?
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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Maybe he's licking it? Which could be a sign of pain or itching.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    When he scratches himself he does lick his fingers after, but I don't know if that's normal or not. I have a nail trim for him and Michael next Friday at their vet, I'll give them a call and ask if a consultation can be squeezed in as well. Hippo has been coughing a lot the past few days, which is something he hasn't done in a few weeks. Might need a change in medicine. He is gaining weight and seems healthy other than that.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Hello once again guinea people. My partner was looking at the piggies a few moments ago and he noticed that Hippo is avoiding to use one of his hind legs. I wanted to see the limp for myself so I poked Hippo on his butt so he would run to the other side of the cage. I noticed that he is in fact putting less pressure on one of his back legs and has a little bit of a limp to it.

    His nails are a little long, but my partner is very sick and his medication prevents him from driving the pigs to the vet for a trim, which is over 30 minutes away. The nails aren't curling, but they are long. I'm very scared of nail trimming so I've been clipping 2 or 3 nails each night (this takes me over 30 minutes a pig, believe it or not!). I'm saying this because I don't think his nails are causing this, but I'm really not sure. Even when he's sitting down I can noticeably see that his body is positioned in a way to alleviate weight from his left side.

    His weight or appetite have not gone down, but I am super concerned! I don't have images, but I took Hippo out and examined his feet. He doesn't show any pain when I touch the foot, but the bottom of his left foot is really rough and dry compared to the bottom of his right foot, which is smooth and has no cracks. I want to take him out and try clipping the nails on that foot, but I'm scared there's something broken and I don't want to make anything worse! Do you guys think it's his nails or something else??

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    I wouldn't touch the nails. Long nails wouldn't cause a limp. I'd get him to an exotic vet to make sure it's not a fracture. Good sign is no pain. See in the am how it looks.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    He also could have arthritis in his knees or hips. I agree that he needs to see an exotic vet, and I'd want an x-ray to see if there's any arthritis in those joints.

    But you also need to learn to trim his nails. It doesn't help him or you for a partial nail trim to take half an hour, when a full nail trim should take less than three minutes.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Oh I know! I feel so terrible that I still haven't mastered nail clippings after 5 months of owning them. The first time I trimmed Michael's nails I cut WAY too short by accident (he moved just as I pressed down on the clippers) and he let out the most heartbreaking scream! I have been horrified ever since and bring them to the vet for trims. I'm slowly trying to regain my confidence with trimmings.

    I'll have to have a talk with my partner tomorrow and see if he is willing to drive Hippo to the exotics vet. He was planning on leaving with our only vehicle to live with his mom, two hours away, for two weeks while he regained his health to start attending school again. He absolutely loves Hippo so I'm hoping he decides to leave after Hippo gets to see a vet. He was so upset watching Hippo limp around the cage.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    I can't do nails either. If you can't, take him to the exotic vet once every 2 or 3 mo and they'll do it. I'm lucky I have a nice friend who does it for me. I posted here if anyone is near me who could help me.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Update: Just came back from the vet for a nail trim and an examination of Hippo's leg. I made the appointment yesterday morning, but by yesterday evening Hippo's limp seemed to disappear. The vet didn't notice anything wrong with his hind leg, there was no swelling and Hippo was walking fine. She said he might have hit it against something and was sore for a few hours.

    The other topic of discussion was Hippo's heart murmur. The vet said that there was really nothing that could be done to help Hippo's heart, as there's no animal cardiologists in the province. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the closest one is in Montreal, and the travel, hotel(s), and appointment would be well over $1500. She said that it's pretty bad that his medication (Lasix) does not seem to be working anymore. She kept him on the Lasix and added pimobendan (vetmedin) at 0.3ml twice a day as well. She said that it's best to assume that he will not live much longer, especially if the new medication doesn't stop his coughing and wheezing. Poor little guy, I hope he isn't in much pain. He has been extremely lethargic lately and I haven't seen him popcorn in over 2 weeks. He is constantly sneezing and coughs around 10 times a day, and the coughs sound so dry and painful. Hopefully the new medicine makes him feel a little better. Also thought I might add, the pimodendan came in a pill form so I had to go to the pharmacy to get it liquefied and flavored.... the pharmacist asked if I would like beef, liver or strawberry extract in it... I said strawberry :P
    Last edited by Snugglybutt; 10-16-18 at 03:52 pm.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Quote Originally Posted by Snugglybutt View Post
    Update: Just came back from the vet for a nail trim and an examination of Hippo's leg. I made the appointment yesterday morning, but by yesterday evening Hippo's limp seemed to disappear. The vet didn't notice anything wrong with his hind leg, there was no swelling and Hippo was walking fine. She said he might have hit it against something and was sore for a few hours.

    The other topic of discussion was Hippo's heart murmur. The vet said that there was really nothing that could be done to help Hippo's heart, as there's no animal cardiologists in the province. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the closest one is in Montreal, and the travel, hotel(s), and appointment would be well over $1500. She said that it's pretty bad that his medication (Lasix) does not seem to be working anymore. She kept him on the Lasix and added pimobendan (vetmedin) at 0.3ml twice a day as well. She said that it's best to assume that he will not live much longer, especially if the new medication doesn't stop his coughing and wheezing. Poor little guy, I hope he isn't in much pain. He has been extremely lethargic lately and I haven't seen him popcorn in over 2 weeks. He is constantly sneezing and coughs around 10 times a day, and the coughs sound so dry and painful. Hopefully the new medicine makes him feel a little better. Also thought I might add, the pimodendan came in a pill form so I had to go to the pharmacy to get it liquefied and flavored.... the pharmacist asked if I would like beef, liver or strawberry extract in it... I said strawberry :P
    I'm so sorry you and Hippo are going through this, @Snugglybutt. He's far too young a pig to have to deal with issues like this.

    I know what it's like to watch your little man slowly slip away from you. I truly hope the new medication helps turn him around. My fingers are crossed, and our positive thoughts and energy are being sent Hippos way.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    I am so sorry to hear about the current situation of Hippo, I hope that you'll remain strong and positive, who knows maybe just maybe he will be able to live longer.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Thank you @GuineaPigpapa and @joyknights. I'm staying positive and hoping that the new medication helps him, even just a little bit! Other than the coughing and general laziness, you'd never know that he was sick! He's gaining weight each week and seems to be a happy piggy :)

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Ok so I finally got Hippo's pimobendan today. I had to wait a week because the pharmacy took a couple days to crush and liquefy it (which they charged $70 to do....) then I had to make the 30 minute drive back to pick it up.

    Anyways, I have a question about dosing. After being liquefied, the pharmacist said that Hippo should be getting 1ml of the medicine twice a day. I feel like this is a super high dose, especially since he only receives 0.1ml of Furosemide (lasix) twice a day. The bottle says 0.3mg/ml on it, not really sure what that means though (i'm bad at anything with numbers or science haha). Is 2mls of medicine too much?

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    The amount of medicine they're getting means nothing without knowing what the strength is.

    With the lasix, there are three tenths of a milligrams of furosemide in every milliliter of the solution. He gets one tenth of a milliliter at a time, which means he gets .03 milligrams of lasix in each dose.

    But if he were on doxycycline, for instance, you might give 5 mg. of doxy for every kilogram the pig weighs. So if you had a 2 kilogram pig, he'd need 10 mg. of doxy for every dose. If you get the Orbax brand, it usually has 30 milligrams per milliliter. So you'd need to give .67 milliliters to give the full dose.

    Another brand of doxy has 25 mg. of doxy in 5 ml. of solution, which is the same as 5 mg. in one milliliter. To give 10 mg. of doxy, you'd have to give two full milliliters.

    So the amount you give isn't nearly enough information to know how much of the medicine they're actually getting. You also must know the strength of the medicine. And in a lot of cases, how much you give is based on the weight of the pig.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Ok thanks, I'm not good with anything related to science so I saw the difference from 0.1ml to 1ml and felt a little nervous! Hippo seems to enjoy the new medicine.

    Also, while looking up the pimobendan I stumbled upon a bunch of threads about it on guinealynx. It seems that people give their guinea pigs like 1/4 of a tablet, which they crush themselves and add a flavour, then feed it to them. This seems a lot cheaper (the medicine cost 20 and the pharmacy charged 70 to make it a liquid) and doesn't seem much harder. But when I went to the vet last week she said that feeding pills to guinea pigs "doesn't work". I'm not sure if I should try crushing the pills myself or keep getting it liquefied :s !

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    I'm not a fan of giving pills to guinea pigs. You can't force pills down their throats like you do dogs and cats -- the throat opening is too small, and you'd wind up with your finger bitten off. But you could crush the pills, mix them into a slurry of something the pigs like, and syringe it to them. The main difference is that you'd have to do one pill at a time because you don't have any stabilizer to add, but at that cost, I'd certainly think about trying it.

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    Re: Piggy diagnosed with a heart murmur today - still worried

    Thank you! Next month when I pick up the pills from the vet's office I'll ask if I would be able to do that and see what she thinks about it. $20 instead of $100 a month will be a huge relief.

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