Request for heart pig stories

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Post   » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:54 am

1 - Lenni, 6+ year rescue boar, neutered aby.

2 - First nothing obvious stood out of the multiple issues he had. Very skinny (could feel the spine through the thick fur), froglike breathing, exhausted & starved because of a bad ear infection, eyes, teeth & colour fine.

3 - At the vets Xray showed enlarged heart & fluid in the lungs, ECG indicated arrhythmia.

4 - No heart meds were prescribed (at the time we didn't know how), treatment continued on the secondary issues.

5 - Started Bactrim & ointment on the ears & treated other topical issues + lots of vitamin C. The pig perked up considerably & ate like a horse but still there was no weight gain. The stiff joints made him difficult to move & the fluid in the lungs didn't clear up. After a month he had a heart failure, was lethargic & laboured breathing. Brought back to the clinic to be euthanised.

6 - Fungus filled ears, tilted head, bad fur & skin condition, stiff joints, untreated toenails & paws.


Post   » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:17 pm

1. Ferdinand - 4 1/2-year-old 1 pound 15 oz. neutered strawberry roan boar
2. Pea eye in both eyes, and recently taking to sleeping very deeply and not waking up
easily. Mouth colour good.
3. He was being monitored for heart issues and the last time at the vet clinic nothing
beyond Pea Eye was detected. This time the vet detected a split heart beat(?) that
apparently can lead to arrhythmia(sp???). No other diagnostics deemed necessary.
4. 1mg Fortekor twice a day. Started Jan 3.
5. no results yet since he's just started on meds.
6. has an old spine injury that cause him pain when he pees or poops. He sees a
physiotherapist for this and gets Rimadyl daily for pain management.

Update on Ferdinand. His heart sounds great and the split beat sound is gone after 6 days on fortekor.

1. Gretchen, 2-years-old(born Dec.24,03), sow, skinny, 1 lb, 12 oz.
2. very small weight loss but not enough to really raise alarm bells, decrease of activity level that was out of chracter
3. heart rate taken by stethoscope was well over 300. Comparison skinny(Bliss, already on heart meds) and other comparison pigs had much slower heart rates
4. 1mg fortekor daily
5. no results yet - just started on the med.
6. no other health issues.

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Post   » Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:33 am

1) Butterscotch, 2, crested boar, pet shop pig

2) Constant illness ranging from:
regular episodes of malloclusion
arthritis, despite only being young
URIs often
eventually diagnosed by vet as having pneumonia
slight pea eye

3) X-rays showed significant fluid on the lungs but no sign of
an enlarged heart

4) First, Baytril, 0.4ml once a day
Baytril suspended and Flagyl introduced 0.5ml twice a day. This
seemed to temporarily alleviate the symptoms, although they
Flagyl continued and Lasix was eventually prescribed 0.15ml
once a day

5) Butterscotch's rattling and wheezing got worse and he was put
to sleep


Post   » Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:10 pm

1. Scruffty - Abyssinian, male, aproximately 2yrs

2. Not as active as the other guinea pigs he was housed with, easy to catch, hold and stayed in lap for long periods of time. He wouldn't popcorn around, and walked everywhere.

3. Vet listened to heart rate, checked mouth, feet, compared to another pig, all seemed fine. Took x-rays and still looked fine.

4. Decided to do a 2 week trial of Fortekor - 1mg/kg a day and observe difference in behavior.

5. After a week and a half, Scruffty is a new pig! He's active, runs around and popcorns with the best of them. Will continue with Fortekor daily.

6. No other health issues.

...what, what, what?

Post   » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:14 am

Just an update.

Ferdinand is a ten-month-old skinny pig, who began very slowly but steadily losing weight at about six months of age. He was up to 1.9 lbs (863 g) before he started losing weight. About this time, he got bit on the back and developed an abcess. His lowest weight was on 12/01/05, at 1.435 lbs (652 g). I was handfeeding and so on, and managed to mostly hold his weight steady for a week or two, when I finally got the vet talked into heart meds. He immediately bounced up to 1.65 lbs (750 g) and held there for a while, but has slowly been gaining since. Damn bugger is starting to look pudgy! As of yesterday, he has crossed 2.2 lbs (1000g). He was in at the vet again for a foot injury (he has managed to dislocate a toe, but no bones were broken), and we have had to adjust his heart meds due to the weight gain.

He was on 0.7 mg/day of benazepril, it has been upped to 1.0 mg/day of the benazepril.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:47 pm

Update on Spot:

Before heart meds Spot (1kg pig) had a murmer and arrhythmia. After 3 months of Lotensin (.08mg twice a day) and Lasix (0.2 twice a day) his heart sounds perfectly normal.

He continues to do well.

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Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:16 am

1 - Teddi, Abyssinian sow, 4 years old.
2 - She was the runt of the litter; the didn't expect her to live. She was a huge pig until about 2.5 years old. Then she started to lose weight (I'm not sure how much - this was before I started weighing them). Didn't run laps around the room during floor time like she used to. I attributed it to getting older, although the change happened very rapidly. The summer she turned 4, she started losing weight again (this time, I was weighing her), and reacted badly to warm days. She started drooling, and sounded congested.
3 - Brought Teddi into an emergency vet, and they thought it was a URI, but it didn't clear up with ABs. So took her to my normal vet. Xrays showed an enlarged heart and fluid on the lungs. The vet diagnosed heart disease.
4-The vet put her on lasix only. I don't remember the concentration. I know I started her on .4ml twice a day, and eventually weaned her down to .1ml twice a day. She still reacted to warm weather badly, and anything over 74F would make her start to pant.
5 - She was more energetic, and stopped losing weight. She wheeked more often. I dosed her depending on the weather and her symptoms. She remained on lasix from July until December, when she passed away.

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Post   » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:21 pm

1- Gizmo, a red/white american boar of 1 year.
2-He was getting URI very often and after he started on AB, would be weeks before he would get back on is feet and start eating.
3- Brought Gizmo to the vet for x-rays, which he found normal, only thing was too much gas in his stomach.
4- Doctor didn't want to treat him with heart meds, so I got an order for Lotensin, 5mg, which I mix with 5 cc's of Ora - Sweet, and I give .50 cc's 2 times a day.
5- After starting on Lotensin, Gizmo's weight is back up, and no more URI. He is a LOT more active and his appetite is back to normal.


Post   » Wed Apr 12, 2006 3:58 pm

I wanted to make everyone with heart pigs aware of an article which my vet showed me the last time I was in with Chasca, my own heart problem pig (I'll post her details when I get everything organized at home).

Franklin, Jennifer Mosier and Guzman, David Sanchez-Migallon: Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Congestive Heart Failure in a Guinea Pig. Exotic DVM 7(6):9-12, 2006.

I was able to get a copy of the article through my local library's interlibrary loan department at no charge.

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Post   » Wed Apr 12, 2006 4:07 pm

How's your guineapig doing right now? Thanks for letting us know. Looking forward to the details!


Post   » Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:26 pm

1. Chasca - Female, Abyssinian mix (with something long-haired), now approx. 2.5 years, diagnosed at approx. 1.5 years.

2. Weight loss despite good appetite and activity level

3. Physical exam, full body and head x-rays, blood test (at which time teeth were thoroughly examined). X-rays showed a slightly enlarged heart. All other tests were within normal range.

4. Separated Chasca from her cagemate so that there would be no food competition (turns out she really likes being alone). Began lasix at .25cc twice per day and enalapril at .1cc twice per day. Also, handfeeding 30 cc critical care per day.

5. Weight stabilized for a few months then began dropping, along with her appetite. She was also urinating excessively. Additional x-rays and bloodwork was done along with a thorough teeth exam. The blood test came back normal, but x-rays showed that her heart was getting worse, though her lungs were clear. My vet speculated that the lasix was causing the excessive urination which could also, through loss of potassium, be a cause of inappetence. He also mentioned, as he had when first diagnosing Chasca, that treating heart problems at high altitude (I live in the Denver metro-area) is difficult.

He suggested cutting the lasix back to once per day at the same dosage, adding a potassium supplement, and increasing her daily intake of critical care. Neither of us was very hopeful at this point but Chasca has defied us doubters!

Her weight has steadily improved on this regime from a low of 808 grams to a high (today) of 880 grams. Breathing is slightly labored compared to my other pigs, but since her appetite and energy levels are good, I’m leaving the lasix dose at once per day. I picked up an inexpensive stethoscope at a pharmacy and listen to her lungs frequently – no wheezing or crackling. She’s not fond of banana or kiwi, so I sprinkle a little Morton Salt Substitute on a piece of celery or cucumber for her and feed her 45-60ccs of critical every day (whatever my work schedule allows).

6. Occasional blocked tear duct in her right eye. Recurring trichofolliculoma in right hip area (I’ve chosen not to have this removed due to the risks involved with anesthetics and her heart – it doesn’t seem to bother her except when I express it). A benign lump under her chin. I honestly don’t know exactly what the vet said this was. I was so relieved that it was nothing to worry about after just losing one pig, and having surgery on a third that all that registered was that she was okay. Again, I will not have this removed as it doesn’t seem to bother her at all.

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Post   » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:06 pm

bookiepig, no Enalapril (Enacard), Fortekor, and Lotensin?

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:17 pm

Began lasix at .25cc twice per day and enalapril at .1cc twice per day.
I see enalapril, although the doses don't actually tell us how much in mg the pig was actually getting.

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Post   » Thu Apr 13, 2006 4:49 pm

Thanks for catching that. I didn't see it.


Post   » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:49 pm

Here's what the bottles say:

Lasix 12.5mg #4/20ml syrup (she currently takes .25cc daily)

Enalapril 20mg/8cc orange syrup (she currently takes .1cc twice daily)

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Post   » Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:20 pm

If your pig is 880 gm it is getting:

3.55mg/kg lasix
0.28mg/kg enalapril

This is, assuming for the lasix you have a 12.5mg/ml concentration and you're just saying you have a 20ml bottle of it.

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Post   » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:19 pm

1 - Silky, approx 5-6years old (unknown age, just approximated by rescue where she was adopted), female

2 - She started rattling when breathing in September '04. The sounds were audible without a stethoscope. No hooting, just a congested ssskkk ssskkk sound when inhaling and exhaling She also had a very slow decline in weight over the course of several months approx 80-100g with no symptoms such as decreased appetite, fatigue. She had been spayed in July '04 and I think this led to her presenting her symptoms quicker due to fluid boluses (for no real reason) and just plain stress.

3 - I took her to an emergency vet since this was of course, a sunday. Chest x-ray showed fluid in lungs, heart and liver appeared normal size but the heart was obscured by all the fluid. I demanded lasix and enalapril, and the doc would ONLY give me Baytril and lasix to use via subq injection if I had an emergency.

4 - We treated with Baytril, and a few days later I had her to the exotics vet while still on Baytril and talked to him about her heart. He was not very willing at first to talk about lasix and enalapril.

5 - On the course of Baytril she was still rattling 4 days into it so started using the Lasix, giving 5mg PO BID. She started to clear up. Symptoms stopped so I stopped the Lasix when the Baytril course was over. A few days later, same thing, just rattling, no other symptoms.

We went back to the exotics vet and I demanded Lasix and Enalapril. I tried to direct him to resources here, and explain to him that I was an RN and I knew what heart failure was. He finally settled on a low dose of enalapril and some lasix which I slowly tapered upward until she was clear.

Suddenly the vet decided he wanted some chest xrays but would have to anesthetize her and take some films. I explained to him the films could just mean nothing if we were talking about heart failure-- all the classic signs may not show up, but it doesnt mean it isn't there. I declined. He then refused to write any more scripts for her, just when she was starting to get better.

I took Moppy then to Dr. Stahl in Vienna who did an ultrasound, proving her valvular dysfunction. He said one of her valves was so flappy that it was almost useless. He told me if my other vet gave me any more crap he'd write me scripts and trust me to titrate the dose.

6 - Sludge is her other problem which is possibly from all the Lasix. She has had one sludge stone removed that was sliding up and down her urethra, and has showed no signs of having one since.

So Moppy's medications have started out very low dose, were tapered up, and she finally cleared for good after about 1 month. Occasionally over the next several months she had a few exacerbations were I would have to increase the lasix but could taper back down. This all stopped around December '04, and her lungs have been clear since.

Right now she is on 1/8mg enalapril, BID and 8mg Lasix BID.
She has been on as high as 10mg Lasix BID.

So she has been on the meds since Sept. 2004 and has had clear lungs since mid November '04.

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Post   » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:31 pm

I meant to take out the last line,

So she has been on the meds since Sept. 2004 and has had clear lungs since mid November '04.

She was clear since December. Sorry! It wouldn't let me edit it.

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Post   » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:02 pm

Great summary! I take it Moppy is still going strong? She's such a soft girl (hey, I've met her!).


Post   » Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:21 pm

Just diagnosed today, so not much info here....

Satchel, at least 4 years old (rescued 3 1/2 years ago as an adult), female

Had a URI, treated with Bactrim, got worse, switched to a vet who knew more about guinea pigs. Treated with Baytril, cleared up but still wheezing. Treated with another antibiotic. Still wheezing, though active and happy. (this whole ordeal took about 2 months)

Did xrays today - heart is enlarged on the right side

Prescribed lasix: .05 mls 2x a day for 10 days to see how she does

I would welcome any advice/input since she's my first pig...

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