Satins and bone loss--Attn: Hollister families

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Post   » Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:31 pm

Oh, and as far as diet is concerned, give him a base of greens that include endive, escarole and green leaf lettuce. Then add any of these either together in small amounts or on a rotating basis: parsley, chard, dandelion greens, cilantro and dill.

At one meal a day add a small portion of vegetables. I like to rotate cherry tomato, red pepper, carrot, cucumber for veggies and kiwi, apple, pear, navel orange, blueberries, melon or whatever fruit is in season. Fruit in very small portions. Just an 1/8th of an apple, pear or orange, a small wedge of melon with most of the pulp removed, etc.

When blueberries aren't too outrageous, I'll throw a small handful in the mix since they're just all-around good.

Follow this and you really won't have to worry about Vit. C.

Also, look into getting a UV lamp. I clamp it to the grid and turn it on in the evenings while they eat.

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Post   » Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:01 pm

Took Elvis to the vets this am for his x-ray and his bones are nearly back to normal.

He now wants me to cut down on the calcium supplementing to three days a week or every other day. If we overload him with calcium it can start taxing his kidneys.

Also, there was absolutely no sign of sludge, stones or anything else in his bladder. Big *whew* on that one.

Laurie, your vet already had contacted my vet. They're going to keep in contact, from what I understand, and my vet said he was going to post on VIN. He also told me he had a pig on gluconate that didn't do well at all.

So, I'm going to reduce the calcium and keep an eye on his weight, which has continued to steadily rise. If he starts dropping again, I'll get another x-ray and see about upping the dose again.

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Post   » Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:08 pm

Thanks for the update, Becky. Great news.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:09 pm

That's great news Becky.

The more and more I look at Frizzle, I think she is a satin teddy rather than just 'teddy'. Her bladder is still sludgey with 4+ calcium carbonate. Subques have helped a lot and I hardly hear her squeal anymore but I'm still torn about supplementing with calcium. Her last xray was about 6 months ago. Her ribs look very aged. She doesn't seem to hurt when picked up and she isn't losing weight.


Post   » Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:08 pm

I'm glad things are going well for you and Elvis, Becky!

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sun Oct 02, 2005 12:18 am

I'm late to the party, of course, but the calcium lactate can be given very easily. I think I was just opening the capsules, mixing it with a bit of water, and syringing it down. I would use half a capsule at each dosage, and was giving 50 mg twice a day.
I have to admit, the stuff doesn't mix well. I stirred furiously and got it into Punkin quick.
For those interested, I can get cheap calcium lactate capsules at the health food store near me. I believe I brought them to Pinta for Shiraz.
Lynx and I both did some research into the different forms of calcium, and at the time (years ago) the studies showed that calcium lactate was more easily absorbed than other forms of calcium. I think Pinta was first using calcium citrate.
I'm thrilled to hear of Elvis' improvement! I think it is so great when finally something helps and the pigs get better. There are so many unhappy endings, I so love the happy ones!
I was also one of the people at the beginning that was worried about saying that satins have calcium issues. At the time, I think we had 2 confirmed and 1 more "maybe".
I had two satins here that had absolutely no bone loss, and yes, x-rays were done. Dani had arthritis, but no bone loss (we specifically looked because of Shiraz) and Punkin.
I absolutely agree that calcium deficiency can be a problem with satins. I don't think we have heard of any cases of it in non-satins or in satin carriers.
My concern at the time was in saying "Satins have calcium problems." I still think that is a stretch. I think SOME satins will have calcium problems. It seems that other fancy haired pigs are also having the same type of problems. I also told her if she was right, I'd give her kudos. So kudos, my friend, as usual. Smart ass.
As Pinta has pointed out, until necropsies and aggressive x-rays and baselines are done, we really won't know how widespread the problem is. We do know, however, that there is indeed a problem.
Do we have any firm diagnosis besides "bone loss"? I know Shiraz was ultimately Pagets, but does Elvis have a diagnosis? Osteoporosis, Osteopetrosis, Pagets, etc?


Post   » Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:43 am

I suspect an accurate diagnosis can't be made until death and a bone culture is done. It took 9 months for the results of Shiraz's bone culture to come back. Before she died, a top radiologist diagnosed her as having Osteopetrosis based on xray evidence. Had we not got the bone culture done we would still have belived her to have Osteopetrosis.

She was an extreme case. Symptoms showed up before she was 18 months old. Other pigs seem to go into senior years before the genetics start to take a toll. And some satins escape completely which is why I keep stressing to get an xray done before assuming calcium depletion.

The good news is there does appear to be a treatment and Shiraz's bones filling in was not an anomaly. Her Paget's Disease turned out to be insurmountable but had she just suffered calcium depletion, with supplements she may well have lived a long life.

I do think the trick to successfully treating calcium depletion is to catch it in time. If too much calcium is lost before it can be replaced further health problems could result.

And Kleenmama - HAH - Told you so! Nyah,nyah nyah,nyah,nyah.

...what, what, what?

Post   » Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:13 am

Oh, calcium lactate!

Very insoluble at low temperatures.

Warm the shit up and it dissolves much better. I work with this stuff; you can get quite a bit of it dissolved if it is warm enough! And it isn't going to make it go bad or anything.

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Post   » Sun Oct 02, 2005 11:40 am

I don't think we have heard of any cases of it in non-satins or in satin carriers.

I think there's been at least one guinea pig with bone loss that was not a satin. I imagine there may be other causes for bone loss besides genetics.

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Post   » Sun Oct 02, 2005 12:16 pm

Yes, there have been many cases of non-satins with bone loss, but in each of those cases, it was due to poor diet/malnutrition or a diet with way too much phosphorus.

KM has a point. It's not necessary to mix the calcium lactate with Odwalla Superfood. That's my choice. I personally like the stuff and if I buy it for Elvis' concoction, I'll drink it. Also, it has such great stuff in it, I figure if I'm syringing, why not make the most of it.

As far as calcium lactate as opposed to other forms of calcium, lactate and gluconate are the only ones that are absorped throughout the GI tract, as I understand it. They also are the only ones that will go into solution as opposed to suspension. Again, my vet said he didn't like to use gluconate. I order my calcium lactate capsules from the local health store. The brand is Twinlabs, and I believe they're the only ones that make capsules.

I'll have to try warming it up next time--see if I can get it into solution. I'll let you know how it goes.

As far as the questioning of each other is concerned, I think it's one of the healthiest thing that happens here on GL. After all, that's what real scientists do. They muck around, then get together and share what they've discovered, then argue endlessly until someone either disproves or concurs with their findings.

And finally, yes, I'm really happy to bring some good news to what has been some very sad weeks around here. It's particularly significant to me because Elvis was the unofficial symbol of Hollister. Hollister was all about what's wrong with breeding, so if Elvis can do a little to advance everyone's knowledge and perhaps give people reasons not to breed, that's very heartening to me.


edited to add this site about calcium absorption.


Post   » Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:32 pm

I don't think we have heard of any cases of it in non-satins or in satin carriers.

There's been a couple of cases(if not more) of teddies and at least one texel. It seems whatever is causing the calcium depletion may also be responsible for mutating the hair shaft. It would seem the hair isn't supposed to be frizzy, kinked, hollow etc. and to get it to be so requires majoring tampering that ends up affecting much more than the hair.

I still believe we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. I think the vast majority of pigs live out their lives in small cages without floortime and without weekly weighing. The owners would have no clue there was a problem if the didn't see the weight loss or the hopping motion. Most vets have no idea what to look for and need to be told to focus on the bones in the xray and use a magnifying glass or they will miss the depletion at the initial stages. Pigs that end up dying from this are probably just written off as dying of old age at 3 years. A calcium depleted pig looks old before its time and we know many people believe 3 years is old for a pig. Or they're written off as dying from vitamin C deficiency. We know post mortems are rare with pigs. Even if a necropsy is done, the vet would have to know to look for a bone issue.

Education is paramount here. Vets need to know that the breed of pig is major component of diagnostics and not fall back on the old scurvy diagnosis when they see a younger limping satin/teddy/texel pig. Owners need to know that certain breeds of pigs can be prone to problems other pigs don't get. If an owner of a satin(or other at risk pig)is educated about the potential health issues of their pig, the owner will know to ask for xrays if they see a steady weight loss or limping/hopping and they will be able to tell the vet what to look for in the xray and how to treat it if calcium deficiency is the culprit.

Jeez, Nurgle, where the eff were you when I was mixing up calcium lactate cement for Shiraz?

...what, what, what?

Post   » Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:52 pm

Um, under a rock?

You have to keep it warm, though. How warm depends on the concentration. To keep 200 g/L dissolved, it has to be nearly 70° C. It drops of as you want to keep less dissolved, and 45° C wouldn't harm anything as far as burning goes. 70° is pretty damn toasty, and I wouldn't dose at that temp.

I'd have to experiment and find out how much you could dissolve at 45° to 50° C.

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Laurie Graham

Post   » Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:44 pm

Hi, everybody!

Sorry I haven't been able to post lately. Thank you all for so much info and help. Fluffy is a happy piggy. It turns out he LOVES banana! So I give him his .75 ml of gluconate mushed into a banana slice, on a piece of romaine lettuce. That way, the gluconate that leaks out of the mush is not lost.

During the day he is in a cage within his big pen, so that his buddy Tricky can't eat Fluff's pellets. The pellets are Cavy Cuisine, run quickly under hot water to soften them. He's actually eating dust. When I get home from work, I take away the small enclosure so he and Trick can be together. I have given Tricky his own bowl of pellets.

Poor guy can't grip anything with his teeth. He used to whip his carrots, now I have to set them down for him. He loves cilantro, parsley, kale, and dandelion, and is eating red pepper. None of the pigs liked the kiwi. They do like melon. Tomatoes seem odd, but I will try them. He has a good appetite.

I just weighed him, and he is up to 767! Yay!!!!

Now, here are two observations (any correlation to OD?):

1) Fluffy has what I call a porcupine profile. In profile, his head is shaped like a porcupine, and always has been. I remember pictures of two piggies on the Hollister site who also had Porcy profiles. I will look up their numbers and see if Teresa can remember if they are satins. Can we get some feedback from Porcy owners?

2) He has always been a complainer. He has always complained when being picked up or groomed, or having haircuts (he is a Peruvian). I thought it was because his hair is a nuisance, it grows in 6 directions, and gets kinked under the top layer. But now I think he is in discomfort or pain all the time. So maybe people who have whiny pigs might want to watch them.

Cavy Slavy Laurie

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Post   » Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:27 pm

Poor guy can't grip anything with his teeth.

Laurie, have you had his teeth checked? He should be able to eat just fine.

As far as the porcupine profile, Elvis is an abbyruvian--Peruvian and abby mix. It's a common profile for that mixture. As far as the kinking (matting like nobody's business), I think that's a feature of satins. Elvis matts if you look at him crooked. That, plus the abby genes, accounts for various sticking-up hair.

Did you see my comment about the gluconate? Dr. N. said he was going to mention to your vet that he didn't like to use it with pigs.

Finally, lots of pigs don't like to be handled, but I do think pigs with bone loss are particularly sensitive. It's a very painful disease. Did they give you any pain meds? Elvis had them for the first two weeks.

And great news about the weight gain. Elvis is up almost 3 oz. from his low a few months ago.

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Laurie Graham

Post   » Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:25 pm

Yes, we had his teeth checked at the time of the xray. They are not overgrown. I don't know if he has trouble actually opening his "Rottweiler jaws", or what, but he can't grab a carrot like he used to.

What I meant by the Porcupine priofile is the actual silhouette of the head, it's more rounded than that of any of my other pigs. Just an observation, could mean nothing. After all, I've only known 12 pigs.

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Post   » Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:15 pm

Laurie, Pinta's Shiraz had both bone density loss and Pagets. It's starting to sound like Fluffy might have the same.

Bone is constantly turning over, ususally in a predictable, ordered fashion. With Pagets, it gets distributed in an unorderly way. (Probably the worse "medical" definition out there, but people can google if they want more specific info.) This would account for the Rottweiler jaws you're noticing. Did they show up on the x-ray? It might be worth taking a head x-ray to check it out.

Also, check out Pinta's thread in the Reference forum. Lots of excellent info and x-rays. I took pictures of Elvis' x-rays, but I'm a lousy photographer and I'm not sure they'd be helpful.


Post   » Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:47 pm

The calcium supplements did stop the bone redistribution but didn't improve the immune system.

Paget's Disease really screws up the immune system. Shiraz died from a URI that should have been easily treated that was caught immediately. It went to pneumonia very quickly despite aggressive nursing and vet care.

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Laurie Graham

Post   » Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:00 pm

Fluffy has hardly eaten anything the past two days except his banana (with med) and some softened pellets. He didn't touch his pepper, carrot, cucumber, dandelion, lettuce, pasley, cilantro, etc. He stays in his hut. His weight is down to 671.

Yet when I take the inner cage away (to keep Tricky away from his food), he bounces around.

Becky, what is the sun lamp that you use?

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Post   » Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:57 pm

Laurie, talk to your vet about switching to calcium lactate. My vet said he had a pig that didn't do well on gluconate. That might be the problem. I seriously doubt it's connected to the sun lamp.

I can't he getting pain meds? It sounds to me like he's in pain and needs them.

In the meantime, he really needs to be forcefed.

I bought a full spectrum bulb for lizards and just put it in a regular clamp-on lamp. I'll look up the details on the lamp and post later.

You need to find out why he's not eating. I'm guessing pain, but also look for signs of a breakage.

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Post   » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:19 pm

I agree about the pain meds.

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