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Thread: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

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    Cavy Slave Tschannen14's Avatar
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    Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    I wanted to make this post for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to share my experience with my recently deceased piggy, Jules, and his bout with a bladder stone. Secondly, I wanted to ask for advice as far as his cage mate, Vincent, is concerned.

    I got Jules and Vincent about 9 months ago, each one was about a couple weeks old. These two guys were my first piggies. Aside from a lice infestation right out of the gate, they were relatively healthy piggies. They seemed to get along perfectly fine. They weren't cuddle buddies or anything, but they played and there was never fighting. About a month ago I started noticing cuts on Jules' face when I would come home. Very soon after, I witnessed a full on battle between my two pigs, and they were immediately separated. I divided their cage in half so they could still see each other, but not interact. About a week later I noticed that Jules' food intake was much less than Vincent's. He didn't eat much of his hay or pellets, but he still went after his vegetables (primarily green pepper). I decided that I was going to take him to the vet the Monday after I got back from being out of town. Upon returning home Sunday night, I noticed that Jules was making crying noises every time he urinated. We went to the vet on Monday and an x-ray revealed a bladder stone that required surgery.

    On Tuesday we went to an animal care center that specializes in exotic animals. There he was admitted for surgery to remove the stone. I was contacted by the vet on Wednesday and he informed me that the surgery was successful. There were complications though. The stone moved into his urethra and they had to insert a catheter to flush it back into this bladder so they could remove it. He also had some white discharge that came out of his bladder during surgery (bladder sludge or from infection, vet didn't say). He was kept overnight to recover, but the vet called on Thursday morning and said that Jules wasn't eating on his own. They started to force feed him, but he refused to swallow anything. He continued to decline and the vet called Friday morning and suggested a feeding tube would be one of the only options left. Even with the tube inserted, Jules' body continued to shut down, and the vet was out of options. On Saturday, I decided to put him to sleep, and I'm very glad I did because when I went to say goodbye he was in terrible shape. His breathing was very labored and he couldn't even lift his head. I buried him in some of his fleece, and tucked one last pepper under his arm for the road. I think we would have liked that.

    I want anyone who reads this that is going through something similar with your piggy to know that you are not alone. We are all here because we love our little buddies very much, and we want them to live long, fulfilled, and happy lives. If I can offer any advice it would be to pay very close attention to your piggy and changes in his personality, weight, and habits. The sudden onset of fighting with his cage mate could have been the first sign of a problem that I passed off as the pigs just growing up. They both had the same diet, and Vincent seems very healthy, so I think Jules may have just been genetically predisposed to stones. If I had weighed him on a regular basis, maybe I could have gotten him treatment long before his body decided to start shutting down.

    My next concern regards Vincent. I am in the process of changing his diet so that he doesn't have as high of a chance to follow in Jules' footsteps. I am feeding him Oxbow Timothy Hay (unlimited), Oxbow Timothy Pellets (1/8 cup per day), switching to reverse osmosis water (instead of tap water), and trying to give him more of a variety in his veggies (previously was about 90% green pepper and 10% romaine lettuce). I am replacing his romaine with green leaf and probably red leaf lettuce. Any additional advice on how to combat stones would greatly be appreciated. I have started monitoring his weight and am keeping an extra close eye on his urine for grittiness.

    I also would like some advice on whether or not I should seek out a new cage mate for Vincent. After Jules went to the vet, I allowed Vincent to roam the entire cage. Every time I went to check on him I found him laying in front of the hay bin on Jules' side of the cage. I have since changed the fleece and he seems to be better. He is still quite active and eats plenty, but I'm monitoring his weight to be safe. I don't want to pursue getting another piggy until I am finished mourning the loss of Jules, but once I'm ready, I would very much like to try to get Vincent paired at a rescue or a shelter. If anyone has advice or recommendations, please let me know.

    Jules' passing was very hard on me as he was my first piggy and was around just long enough for me to get attached. I wanted to thank everyone who posts on this site, as many of your posts helped me through his passing and gave me hope.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    I would suggest looking into KMS pellets. Oxbow uses Limestone as their calcium source, which some pigs have issues with. Romaine lettuce has also been shown to contribute to bladder stones for whatever reason. You may also want to look into feeding a larger variety of veggies. A pig can go pelletless as well, to control calcium issues. However, I wouldn't go that far unless you notice calcium buildup in his urine. I'd wait on getting him a friend until YOU'RE personally ready. Then find a rescue that can match him up with a friend. Good luck and I'm sorry for your loss

  3. "Thank you, aspecht, for this useful post," says:


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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    So sorry for your loss. I agree with aspecht. KMS pellets are better than Oxbow because of potential calcium issues it may cause.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    Switching pellets is no cure all for the formation of stones. Stone formation can be genetic so I'd concentrate on offering a low Ca:P ratio in addition to limiting the amount of pellets they eat. I have one guinea pig that has powdery sludge even after having been switched to KM pellets a couple of years ago. If you offer bottled water that's been purified through reverse osmosis, make sure there are no added minerals. You might want to filter the bottled water to be on the safe side.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    No need to cut down on the pellets unless you see white granular deposits on the bedding. White deposit is ok as long as it's powdery to the touch. Switching to KMS won't guarantee nothing won't happen but if you are going to cut down on high calcium items then might as well switch to pellets that have a type of calcium that is a better type than limestone that is in Oxbow.

    Reverse Osmosis water is the only thing I give my girl. Been giving it to her for months. Never heard of this until my vet said it's as pure of water as it gets.

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    Cavy Slave Tschannen14's Avatar
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    Re: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    Thank you. I will look into KMS pellets. Is Oxbow hay a good brand or should I consider switching to KMS hay as well?

    I saw that my local Kroger has refillable water that is pre-filtered by two different filters, then undergoes reverse osmosis, then is filtered again. Does this sound like what I'm looking for?

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    Re: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Artista View Post
    No need to cut down on the pellets unless you see white granular deposits on the bedding. White deposit is ok as long as it's powdery to the touch. Switching to KMS won't guarantee nothing won't happen but if you are going to cut down on high calcium items then might as well switch to pellets that have a type of calcium that is a better type than limestone that is in Oxbow.

    Reverse Osmosis water is the only thing I give my girl. Been giving it to her for months. Never heard of this until my vet said it's as pure of water as it gets.
    I agree that water that's been purified through reverse osmosis is best but some bottled water that's been purified through reverse osmosis has added minerals back in for taste. That's the point I was trying to make if I wasn't clear. The following is from Guinea Lynx:

    According to Dawn Hromanik, the nutritionist at Oxbow: "The rule of thumb that I use is that all vegetative parts of plants have a higher Ca:P ratio. This is ideal, you do *not* want the inverse where the phosphorus is higher than calcium. (this can [con]tribute to phosphate stones and bone demineralization) Phosphate crystals embed themselves in the bladder wall and are very irritating. Reproductive parts of plants (seeds and roots) have a higher Ph content. This includes all fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, raisins), seeds (treat mixes, sunflowers, oatmeal etc), and carrots. Just another reason not to feed the above food."

    http://207.58.139.33/~guinea2/forums...6449d45b655070

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Passing Away from Bladder Stone Surgery Complications and Cage mate Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Tschannen14 View Post
    Thank you. I will look into KMS pellets. Is Oxbow hay a good brand or should I consider switching to KMS hay as well?

    I saw that my local Kroger has refillable water that is pre-filtered by two different filters, then undergoes reverse osmosis, then is filtered again. Does this sound like what I'm looking for?
    If you're going to try KMS pellets then might as well get the hay from there too in the form of a combo which saves some money.

    http://www.kmshayloft.com/hay/

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