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Buttercups Medical Thread


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Aug 6, 2007
Under request I have started this thread to keep you all updated on Buttercup. So that I do not have to write it all I will copy some of my posts from my thread on GL.

First off a quick history:
- Since coming to me she has had 2 URIs
- Sunday noticed her wheezing for a short period
- Monday I took her to the vet

Cross post -

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Well that was an interesting experience! [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]The vet managed to squish us in last – when she should be packing up – so that was nice of her. We actually saw a different vet this time round and she was far better. We both got along better and I didn’t get the impression that it was all about money like I did with the other vet. She also was much more thorough and didn’t hurry as through. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Now during the consultation Buttercup didn’t show any symptoms, so the vet at this point in time really did not want to do anything. We did discuss a couple of different things though. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Firstly we discussed Buttercups tiny nasal passages (far smaller than your average pig), and that possibly things could get up but not out resulting in infections. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]She went on to say that one guinea pig – much like Buttercup – had re-occuring respiratory infections and in the end they took a biopsy of the pigs lungs. They traced it back to the owners not washing the pigs veggies. The pig breathed up the small bugs/micro organisms on the unwashed veggies and this resulted in the re-occuring infections. But as I wash their veggies this was ruled out. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]As Buttercups nasal passages are so small we agreed that we needed to keep her environment as clean and dust free as possible. So swapping to towels was a great decision even though a bit of a hassle. I only use vinegar with their towels so the possibility of washing powder/detergent causing problems was ruled out. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]We also talked about how pigs have small pockets next to their nasal area and that a possibility as to why she was wheezing yesterday was that a piece of cartilage was covering half of this pocket. I didn’t think this was so as it would mean that she would be wheezing all the time and she currently isn’t.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]She also said some pigs are prone to infections and that if Buttercup was to get something wrong she may immediately get a respiratory infection. That doesn’t make sense does it? I will use me as an example. I am prone to sinusitis. So if I get a simple cold it will lead into sinusitis. Last week I had the flu, this week I have sinusitis.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I then brought up that one of my fears was heart problems, and that a possibility is that after lying down the fluid builds up in her lungs resulting in the wheezing. She said that this was a possibility but didn’t really want to put her on anything as she wasn’t presenting any classic symptoms and seemed fine in every other aspect at the moment. She said that this was something to monitor and come back to later on if anything came back. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]We then talked about what to do next if either the discharge or the wheezing came back. She said in both instances to bring her straight back. If the discharge came back they would do a swab and find out which exact antibiotic to treat it with. If the wheezing came back then we talked about a couple of different treatments. One being a Ventolin of some sort, she explained the different medicines and stuff they can mix together for each certain pig. The other was a vaporiser – again you put something in it (cant remember what she called it). If neither of these worked then she thought the next step would be to look into heart problems. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]She gave Buttercup a thorough look over, and felt everywhere, particularly her ovaries (which Buttercup hated). I chatted to her and found out that she would be working more often now and that I could come back to see her instead of the other Dr if I preferred. I said yes. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Afterwards, as I was waiting for the payment to go through Buttercup decided to show her great disgust at the whole vet appointment and being separated from her sisters (at the vets wish) by peeing on me even though she had a mountain of oxbows hay and wet cos lettuce in her carrier (which I left in the car opting to hold her instead). Yes that’s right. She peed on me and my hands still stink of pig urine even after washing them several times. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]My Mum was down, and came with me to the vet. She came down as she needed to get some shoes and this was what we had planned to do. So with pig in hand we went into the shoe shop near the vet. She caused quite a stir and everyone wanted to come up and pet her. Lapping up the attention, she ran around in circles in her cuddle cup! It was hilarious![/FONT]

On Wednesday I noticed she had a swollen toe, but it was too late to take her down to the vet and so I took her down Thursday lunch time.

Cross post:

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I called the vet (as I was given the rest of the day off after a dr appointment) and asked if they could move her appointment forward. They said I could come in straight away and so that is what we did. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]It turns out Buttercup has bumble foot. I have no idea how she got it, as she is not overweight and lives with her 3 pals in a 2.5x4.5 C&C cage on towels. The dr suggested that she jumped of one of the bricks, sort of pushing off and this resulted in a scratch and that she then went and stood in some poop. So until I am told further I have taken out the bricks. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I didnt realise how serious bumble foot was until today. She pressed on the toe hard and Buttercup pulled her foot away but didnt squeak - so this means that so far it hasnt gone to the bone.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Therefore the priority is to prevent the bumble foot to going to any other parts of her foot or worse - the bone. She gave me padding, sticky bandage and compression bandage and they go on in that order. Only her middle toe can be wrapped (as it would make her walking lame), so we have to find out a way to wrap her foot (any ideas and especially pictures are welcome). The wrapping will bring the swelling down or help it. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]She is also on 0.2 mls of metacam 3 times a day, although I am wondering if it would be ok to put her on 0.3 mls twice a day? This is to help with the pain and to bring the inflammation down. She is on 0.62 mls of bactrim twice a day - which seems like an awful lot to me. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]If by next week it is worse or the same she is going to have to have a x-ray (which costs $60 on top of the $200 I have spent since Tuesday). If it has spread to the bone her toe will need to be amputated. If it goes past her leg then is pretty much busted.[/FONT]

I have also learnt that heart pigs tend to be prone to bumble foot, this I found rather interesting. Some members on gl do not think that she does have bumble foot but an injury to the toe instead. I just posted some pictures over there, so hopefully after seeing them they will be able to give me a better answer.

Now for some photos:

Her bandaged foot -

Buttercups Medical Thread

My girl being an absolute angel as I took off the bandage -

Buttercups Medical Thread

The bandage half way off -

Buttercups Medical Thread

The front -

Buttercups Medical Thread

The back -

Buttercups Medical Thread

I have noticed that her right toe on the same foot (the left toe in the last picture) is slightly swollen, as is the top of her pad. I will keep you all updated.
Poor llittle Buttercup, she has so much to deal with (and so do you!).

Unfortunately I can't give you any medical advice, but I'm glad you found a new vet who seems more competent and who you feel comfortable with. Just remember that doctors and vets don't know everything, go to 10 different ones and you get 10 different opinions. So if your gut tells you it is a heart problem and she says no, you may very well still be right even though she has the degree.

I'm hoping for the best for your little Buttercup.
I have another update. Buttercup is still recieving metacam three times a day, and bactrim twice a day. I think that when I took her to the vet the first time she had the beginnings of an URI, as the day after I noticed she had a mild clear discharge. However the antibiotics have since helped that.

As for her foot, it remains swollen particularly in her toe and the area just below her nail. Overall the swelling has come down, as you can see in this collage - the left picture being the picture I took yesterday

Buttercups Medical Thread

I have an appointment for this Thursday which I think I will keep, even though the swelling has come down somewhat. I think it is not bumble foot, but a broken toe, although her toe is crusty which is a symptom of bumble foot.
Cross post from guinealynx

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]It is bumble foot. It has gone to the bone.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]The vet decided to take a x-ray. It showed that the top 2 digits of her middle toe are swollen and infected (dont quote me on this, this is the way I understand it). Even my untrained eye could tell that it wasnt right. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]So we have 2 options: [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]1. Amputate [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]2. Leave it and manage with metacam and bactrim [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I decided to amputate. In the end the bumble foot would only spread, she would end up loosing more of her foot and it would cost more. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]She quoted me about $200 - going on a previous patients bill. That combined with $200 from last weeks appointment, $100 from this weeks, and then next weeks. Needless to say it is getting pricey. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I will drop her off Tuesday morning. She will have breakfast with the girls first. I will make little baggies of pellets and some vegetables for afterwards, and will take some hay along. I figure if she is kept on the diet she is currently on it will help prevent an upset tummy. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I am very worried about how she will recover from the anesthetic, especially if she is a heart pig.[/FONT]
Oh, dang it! That's not the news I was hoping for. Poor Buttercup and poor you!

I just hope everything goes well! Give her a big cuddle from me.
Thankyou so much.

I am such a wreck. I am so worried. What if she doesnt come through? What if she reacts badly to the anesthetic?

Argh. I need a break.
That is so sad!

That is so sad!

I hope everything goes well for Buttercup!
Aw! Im so sorry you both had to put up with all this. I will keep her in my thoguhts. Please keep us updated!
I am so sorry to have to hear this bad news, I have been checking the posts for updates on Buttercup ever since you told me about her problem in the chat room. I hope all goes well with her surgery and I will definitly be thinking of her on Tuesday. I can only imagine how stressed out and worried you must be but hang in there, hopefully everything will go well and shell have a speedy recovery.
Wait, will she be able to walk once its amputated? You are such a great owner to pay all those bills for a little pig, if only everyone was as responsible as you....
Yes I think so. I have to confirm it with the vet but I think they are only taking that toe off.
Yes I think so. I have to confirm it with the vet but I think they are only taking that toe off.

Oh, I thought you meant the whole foot! But If they only take the toe off she will probaly be fine! I had a master with like, almost no toes, who was fine.
Buttercups operation is tomorrow.

Her carrier is all set up and last Friday I wrote a list of questions I need to ask the vet when I take her in. I have butterflies in my stomach, I can only imagine how awful they are going to be tomorrow.

I am praying for buttercups fast recovery, I know she will do just fine. You will be in my thoughts, and I hope everything goes really well....
Thanks Turtle.

It really is such a small operation (unless they decide to cut off more her foot), so I feel foolish to being worrying so.
Don't feel foolish - any operation is a concern. You are a great piggie parent for taking such great care of Buttercup. I am sure she will come through with flying colours and I know you will give her the very best of aftercare to nurse her back to health.

All the best to Buttercup today - I'll be thinking of you!! Please let us know how it goes. I know how nerve wracking it is waiting and wondering. Come vent on us here anytime you need to!!!
Thanks Clotho. Her operation is in 4 hours time. We will be there in 3 and a half. I am so darn nervous.
Sending lots of hugs and good wishes your way!!! The waiting is the worst part!!! Will you be able to bring her home tonight?
Quote from GL:
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Buttercup is home but not too good. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I watched her as she went to sleep. It was awful. They put her in a plastic container, and started running the gas. It made her eyes weep, her urinate, she coughed etc. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Anyway. They took another x-ray when she was nearly asleep (so they she wasnt asleep enough to operate, but enough to take a x-ray). The x-ray showed that the infection remained in those top 2 joints, with the rest of her foot and toe clear. So they amputated from the knuckle down basically. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]I picked up a hour later. She was all puffed up and in obvious pain. She was given stuff at the vets, and I have given her a further 2mls of Metacam when we got home. I am to give her Rimadyl at 6pm tonight (now 1:35pm) and again at 8am in the morning, in conjunction with 2mls of Metacam. After 8am we will just continue on with the metacam. She is also still on 6mls of bactrim. On Sunday we go back for a check up. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Her foot is bandaged up, and they used 1 dissolvable stitch. So far I have only been able to get 10mls of CC down her. I am going to leave her until tonight, and then try and get more down. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]She will remain in the carrier for at least 24 hours. After that I will make a decision on whether she should go back with the girls or not. After the 24 hour period I think I will divide the C&C cage, so she has a 1x2.5 but is back in with the girls. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Is there anything else I can do for her pain? The carrier is lined with towels, 6 towels thick. She has food and a water bottle, and her cuddle cup.[/FONT]
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