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Thread: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    Ok, so today was the first time I've spot-cleaned in 5-6 days (I know, but I went to camp all day, and the piggies had time for food, veggies, some water, and a couple pets and then I had to leave again.).

    So, no camp anymore, and I spot-cleaned good today. At first I noticed 1-2 small white pee stains, I figured it was nothing to worry about, and if it got worse, I would worry. Then as I continued spot-cleaning I noticed more and more stains. About six out of all of them were a bit crusty. The rest were just little white spots. I counted, and there are 24 WHITE PEE STAINS.

    Im not exaggerating at all. I feels this is something to be very worried about. I'm afraid it's been happening and I just haven't noticed it, before I had light pink with lightly colored flowers fleece, and about 6 days ago I put in dark pink. I liked how it looked so I figured I'd put the dark pink in again when I wash the fleece tomorrow.

    No, I haven't fed them any high calcium veggies, they haven't had kale or red peppers in a while. The first time thy had red pepper in a week or two was today for breakfast.

    My mom doesn't believe in regular vet check-ups (she said we might be able to take them when we take our dog), but if I believe it's an emergency she certainly will agree. When we were in Disney World, our pet-sitter called and told us about blood in the bunny's cage. I burst into tears in the middle of Animal Kingdom, lol. When we got home I looked her all over, and could not find a sign of a cut or vaginal bleeding, but my mom said if it ever happened again we would take her.

    So, does this mean an urgent vet appointment? Could it be UTI or bladder stones? I'm very very worried, I don't know which pig has white pee, or if both of them do. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
    Last edited by CallieLovesPigs; 07-26-13 at 06:59 am. Reason: Misspelled word

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    Cavy Slave LexiandLily's Avatar
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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    I thought this was normal, I might be totally wrong but our piggies have always have white crusty patches on the bottom of the cage, I've read several times that due to calcium in their urine it can be white and cloudy, and once it dries it becomes crusty.
    This is from Guinea Lynx
    URINE
    NORMAL:
    Urine may be clear to cloudy in color. Calcium compounds in the urine cause this cloudiness. Normal urine is not gritty in texture. Dried urine may leave powdery white calcium compounds. Very young guinea pigs often have an orange or brown tint to their urine. Urine sometimes changes to an orange color on standing (this may be the oxidation of porphyrins in the urine).

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    Cavy Slave HannibalLecter's Avatar
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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    Sludge alone isn't an emergency, but certainly something you should try to correct as it does increase the risk of stones (vs. a pig without calcium sludge). What exactly are you feeding on a daily basis? Is the water in your area hard?

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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    @HannibalLecter : on a daily basis they get chopped veggies in the morning (celery, bell pepper, sometimes sugar snap peas and carrots). They get a cup for breakfast.
    They don't always get a snack, but when they do it's grass, parsley, cilantro, and once a week, fruit.
    then for supper they get a cup of leafy greens (green and red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, etc)
    it all depends on what I got when I went shopping that week.
    @LexiandLily : I'm glad to hear that. I will se if its gritty and post pictures.

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    Cavy Slave HannibalLecter's Avatar
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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    Avoid parsley as it's high in calcium, and swiss chard as it's high in OA. Romaine can cause sludge in some pigs even though it's not higher in calcium than other lettuces, it's something about their metabolism we suspect. Try to limit their daily veggies to around a cup each. What kind of hay & pellets are you feeding?

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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    These are some pee stains
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    Cavy Slave LexiandLily's Avatar
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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    Mine looks like that, so do their beds if they've had a wee in there. I'm now hoping it's nothing to worry about because I've just been washing the beds and not doing anything else.

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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    I don't feed much parsley, maybe once a week or less. They've had Swiss chard twice, I don't feed it much, my mom doesn't like to buy it, and the romaine mostly goes to the bunny, they only get it if I break a leaf in half, they get a half. They get a cup of chopped veggies and a cup of greens, and the snack is very very small, if I don't give it to them they will wheek very very very loudly. I feed Oxbow hay and pellets, and give them a daily vitamin C supplement in their food. All of their water is filtered in a Pur water pitcher. @HannibalLecter

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    Re: Worried sick!!!!

    @LexiandLily : yeah, one of those pictures is of a pee stain on a bed. I was just scared because this had never been a problem for me, and I want to have a vet trip just in case, my mom will hopefully agree if I say it might be fatal, which it's probably not, but she usually trusts me when it comes to pets.

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    If that's a week's worth of stains, I wouldn't worry too much about it, as it's not excessive.

    How old are your pigs?

    However, I would suggest cutting out the parsley, cilantro and romaine. And you might want to switch off Oxbow pellets. Their calcium comes from calcium carbonate, and that's implicated in stones more often than other kinds of pellets. KMS pellets (www.kmshayloft.com) has pellets with a different calcium source. Sweet Meadow Farms uses the same thing Oxbow does.

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    @CallieLovesPigs, I have a "sludge pig" as well, it is quite frustrating because it's made me very concerned about stones (she's had an xray recently, so far so good!). One thing we've done to reduce the calcium deposits is switching to KMS pellets, as they are lower in calcium than Oxbow. This helped a little bit, but not completely, so we've started giving them spring water only -- we had a pur filter on our tap, but I read that apparently these don't filter out calcium like I thought they did (may be something for you to look into as well)! Besides cutting down on high calcium veggies, I'm not sure what else we can do, we may need to syringe her extra water to help flush the sludge out. Just thought I'd share our experience, in the hopes that it might help you.

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    Ok, I'll cut them off of the veggies. I will try to switch pellets but I don't know if my parents will let me. My pigs are turning 2 in October. And what do you mean by spring water?? I will hopefully take them to the vet for an appointment just in case. @bpatters @scichai

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    Since you're on the East Coast, KMS pellets will be a little more expensive than Oxbow, but not inordinately so. I live 2,000 miles from KMS, and their pellets and Oxbow at the local pet store (or shipped from online) are just about the same for me. I'd expect you to have to pay a little more for shipping, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker considering the different calcium source in the pellets.

    By all means take them to the vet if you want to, but I wouldn't waste the money on a vet visit for those spots. I'd rather save it for sometime when they're really ill. Plenty of pigs produce spots just like that. Some go on to develop stones, others don't. The main reason to be concerned is that pigs that develop stones almost always secrete calcium in their urine, so it seems to be better to try to reduce urinary calcium if possible. However, the whole stone formation mechanism in pigs is poorly understood, so we're not even positive that it helps. I tend to think it does, but there's no proof.

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    @bpatters which pellets from kms do you use? the timothy ones??

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    Mine are pelletless at the moment, because I'm trying to resolve a stone problem.

    But pigs under six months get alfalfa pellets, those older get timothy.

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    That's what I figured, just wanted to make sure- I'm thinking of switching to KMS after reading everything about Oxbow... my vet said to use Oxbow but I'm just trying to do what is best for my girls!

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    Thank you!! They are due for an appointment anyway. :) @bpatters

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    Quote Originally Posted by CallieLovesPigs View Post
    And what do you mean by spring water??
    Like Poland Springs water. We get a big thing of it at the supermarket. Just make sure it says "spring water," not "distilled." I forget why, but guinea pigs aren't supposed to drink distilled water.

    And I definitely second @bpatters suggestion to look into KMS pellets. With shipping, it will be a bit more expensive than just getting Oxbow from the store (I'm on the east coast as well), but not by much. You don't have to pay for a whole cannister, you can just get a big "refill bag," and store it in a big container you can find around your house, or can get one for cheap.

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    Ok...thanks. I heard somewhere that Poland springs had extra minerals so it is not good for the pigs? @scichai

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    Re: Worried sick!!!! Calcium spots in cage

    @scichai, what makes you think Poland Spring is any better than the water you get out of your faucet? You don't know what those extra minerals are, and for all you know, it could be very high in calcium. It comes from Maine, and there's lots of limestone there, which is a major source of calciuim.

    There have been several exposes of bottled water. Many of them are just city water from the faucet, and there's nothing special about them at all. When I lived in Pennsylvania, one big bottler in our area was found to be filling them from a hose by the barn. On top of that, it takes a LOT of energy to transport it, not to mention the waste it causes with all those plastic bottles. A good filter is usually all you need, even if you're in an area with a lot of minerals in the water.

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