Request for heart pig stories


Post   » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:54 am

To be clear, Tesla doesnt have any fluid in the lungs, his heart is normal size and his pulse is normal too. For this reason both of the vets deduced that his heart wasnt under any abnormal pressure, and he also has no murmur.


Post   » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:06 pm

yup. I know. If it was that easy to diagnose heart issues in pigs it wouldn't be such a fight to get them on heart meds. Lucky are the owners who are blessed with clinical signs. By the way - pigs can fake a good pulse at the vets. Prey animals have that skill. But they can't keep it up forever. My vet has often discovered a racing heart rate at the end of the appointment when at the beginning it was a prfect heart rate.

The fact is your pig is still hooting and wheezing. If he has a bacterial infection and the baytril isn't the appropriate AB, then after 3 weeks he should be very very ill. Pigs die from untreated URIs. If the AB isn't working essentially the "URI is untreated". But he isn't any sicker......At this point vets will go for the allergy diagnosis or asthma. Yet no matter what they do the hooting and wheezing don't go away.

Yes, it might not be heart issues but a simple course of heart meds will rule heart issues out or confirm them at very little risk to the pig. The other option is keep trying AB after AB (probably the same degree of risk to the pig as heart meds) until the vet decides it must be asthma or allergies.


Post   » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:08 pm

Tesla doesnt have a URI, the infection is in his heart only.

I didnt know that about heart rates - I cant work out the need for it in the wild, being as no-one in the wild would be listening to their pulse?

Today we had one very minor episode, only about ten mintues long of hooting and no wheezing, and after he did twenty minutes of zoomies! I'm on the lookout for the next episode though.


Post   » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:32 am

I'm gonna guess that and untreated infection in the heart would severely compromise the pig.....

It's nothing to do with listening to pulses in the wild. A sick animal in a herd gets picked off by predators therefore it is in the best interest of a herd (prey)animal to appear as healthy as possible. They have the ability to "fake health" in times of stress - for awhile. But they can't do it forever.


Post   » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:47 am

I should add that Gwenivere (notes on previous page) was suspected as an allergy pig for a long time, around a year, before the clinical symptoms appeared to suggested heart problem. It was not until February this year, her heart sounds were "muffled" on stethoscope; a trial of Lasix began, she responded a little but the fluid kept building up, so she moved onto the Lotensin in addition to the Lasix.

I know from previous experience as well, that we were actually very lucky that there were clinical signs with Gwenny and we have been able to get her on treatment without too much hassle - it took a long time for it to be recognised but at least we got there with her. My past sow Tuppy, I am absolutely positive she was a heart pig, but because her heart sounded fine on stethoscope, the vets and CCT were not willing to investigate further or run a trial of heart meds.

I very much regret not being able to give Tuppence that chance, so if you can find a vet willing to have Tesla on a trial of heart meds, liland, then please do.

pinta, thank you again for your advice with regards to my Gwenny pig, I shall update this thread soon with her response to the Vetmedin.

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Post   » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:31 am

Heading to the vet in a few minutes with Olga. After reading this thread and looking at a few of the "hooting" videos, I'm worried that I might have a heart pig. I'm sure I'll have a ton of questions for you later today. A brief overview: Olga, 1 1/2 year old female TSW coronet, weight is stable with no recent illnesses. For the past few months she has had some heavy breathing that is very infrequent (on and off with no pattern) and lasts for a few hours up to most of a day. Yesterday was one of those days. No crusty eyes or nose and is eating and running around as normal. Wish us luck!

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Post   » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:37 am

You might want to reread the heart page, print it off and bring it along.

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Post   » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:53 pm

Thanks Lynx that was a good idea. My local vet did a very thorough check of Olga and took an x-ray. No sounds in the lungs, no lumps or bumps and she check her feet, teeth and ears. The only thing she found was some pain in her jaw, so we are off to see the exotic vet next week for another x-ray of her teeth. We don't have the results of the x-ray from today yet, so she is going to call me later with that. Our exotic vet is wonderful (Dr. Brown in Warwick, RI) and also a good friend of our local vet, so I have faith that if there is something wrong they will find it.

Local vet asked me to weigh her every other day, keep notes on food intact and activity, and to try to video the next time she makes the hooting noises. I will also reread all the info here so I can be aware and informed.


Post   » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:00 pm

We ent to the vets earlier, and have been given fortekor (0.5ml twice daily) and Flagyl (0.4ml twice daily) to start along with the Metacam (0.3ml once daily). Tesla does not care for his new meds, and misses the yummy banana taste.
It's a shame the septrin didnt work, but I'm glad my badgering finally got me some fortekor, which everyone with heart guineas seems to have. Here's hoping for some improvement!

I realise the flagyl is supposed to be antiparasitic, I think my vet is getting a bit worried that the baytril and septrin didnt work, so is just trying anything she has. I checked it wasnt on the dangerous meds list, but am not expecting much from it.

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Post   » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:28 pm

Flagyl might work. It has been used safely on guinea pigs.


Post   » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:35 pm

Flagyl is also an AB that works very well on infections in the head area. It targets a type of bacteria (anerobic? - guessing can't remember) that are missed by the broad spectrum ABs.

Why the Metacam? Does he have a pain issue?

I would be concerned at throwing 3 new meds at him at once. If he has a poor reaction - you won't know which med is the culprit. If he has a remakable improvement - same thing. If he is maintaining well and not going downhill, I would do one med at a time staring with the fortekor. But I am not a vet and this advice is based only on prior personal experiences.


Post   » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:18 am

He's been taking the metacam for months, I just included it so we could keep up to date on what he's actually taking.


Post   » Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:17 pm

As an update to Tesla's condition. Upon starting the fortekor and flagyl, he got much better, and only had very occasional and very mild episodes. A couple of weeks ago, we ran out of the flagyl, and continued with just the fortekor, where-upon he immediately went down-hill again. So we've come to the conclusion that the flagyl was helping him, and have gotten a bigger bottle to start him on, continuing just with the metacam alongside it.
I am hopeful he can finally start to heal.

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Post   » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:04 pm

My Goofball made these hooting noises occasionally. I never thought it could be heart problems. My vet never said anything about it. Now I'm wondering if her early departure at 3 years old is due to heart problems.

I did not have a necropsy done.


Post   » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:33 pm

Duckie -- Pink eyed white Satin American female. Was born 4-16-09 in rescue. She was one of a litter of five. She weighed .3 and 1/4th ounce at birth. She was the smallest of the litter. Her weight dropped to .2 7/8 ounce and stayed there for 4 days. I started to take the other 4 pups out a couple of hours a day to allow her to have mom to herself. She slowly started to gain after that but never caught up to the other pups. On 4-29-09 the mother developed a torn teat and mastitis and the pups had to be removed before 21 days. I left Duckie in because she was so tiny and had such a rough start. Removed her a few days later on advice of the vet to allow the mother to heal.

At that time, I lost my pig Skipper who was housed with Izabo and Izabo began losing weight. So I put Duckie in with Izabo since she was such a tiny thing and I knew Izabo would accept a baby. She did and the two lived quite happily together. Duckie always remained tiny at 1 lb, 8 oz.

On 2-14-11 (1 year and 10 months old), Duckie began sitting fluffed up in the cage. I wasn't too concerned as she often had bouts of what I though were gassiness and she would be fine the next day if I withheld veggies for a day. When she was still fluffed up the next day, I took her out to weigh her and was shocked when she did not run from my hands. She also did not struggle or try and bite me (her usual behavior). Her weight was down 3 ounces so I immediately started syringe feeding her Critical Care and water. The only two cavy knowledgable vets were unavailable so I made an appointment for the following morning.

By 10 in the evening, dispite syringe feeding, her condition deteriorated. She appeared to be activily dying and I decided to take her in to be pts so she wouldn't suffer. The vet listened to her heart when we arrived and said she had a severe heart murmur and other unnatural heart sounds indicative of severe congestive heart failure. I was shocked as she has NEVER shown any symptoms of being a heart pig. Other than being tiny, she has always been super active, happy and loving to eat. Had I known, we could have put her on heart meds. Unfortunately, the vet informed me that it would take a few days to get in some heart meds. Neither of us felt she would live out the night without them, so we went ahead and had her pts. RIP little Duckie.


Post   » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:18 am

Small size can be related to heart issues. We adopted 2 rescue pigs: Conway, a big fat white pig reeking with attitude and his "brother" Buddy: a small black and orange pig reeking with spunk.

As Conway got bigger and Buddy seemed to get smaller I began to suspect heart issues. I put Buddy on a trial of Fortekor and he immediately began to put on weight. I added vetmedin and the weight gain increased. He got big enough to beat the crap out of his oversized "brother"Conway. Typical of bullies put in their place,Conway is now well behaved and not bothering anyone. This is a pig who spent hours in solitary in a cat carrying case for harassing whoever crossed his path.

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Post   » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:49 pm

I thought I had filled this in before, but I can't find my post. Sorry if I am double posting.

So what I want is:
1 - breed, age and sex of pig
2 - brief description of symptoms that made you suspect heart problems
3 - diagnostics done and the results
4 - treatment, med and dosage
5 - results of treatment
6 - other med issues

1. Coronet, 4 this month, Female
2. A hooting sound, a swollen hind foot, a pea eye and laying around like a flat pancake. The hooting really summed everything up though.
3. It took me ages to find a vet who took me seriously, and even then I had to go twice. He done two x-rays and an ultrasound. The results showed an enlarged heart with fluid.
4. Frusemide (fruscol) for the fluid, Fortekor to help the heart not work so hard.
5. It has it's up and downs, some days she in on minimum dose, sometimes (like now) she is having to have a very high dose to reduce fluid.
6. She had severe cysts (now spayed) and is blinde, most likely due to cysts. She has had a urine infection before.


Post   » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:02 am

Coupaging a heart pig works wonders for clearing the lungs of fluid. To do this is a case of tapping rather than pounding (as you would with a human) the upper SIDE of the pig halfway between the shoulder and rib cage.

Feel for the shoulder blade and the top rib. In-between those sites (you'll feel a dip), with the fingers held together, gently but firmly, tap with the force you would use when typing, for example. Hold your other hand cupped along the opposite side of the pig to steady the body.
Frequency should be about 2 taps per second. Do this for about two minutes, longer if the pig will allow, on BOTH sides. Wait five minutes or so, then repeat the whole procedure again.

Carry out this procedure three or four times a day. The pig may cough afterwards, no fear, it's coughing up fluid and will feel better for it. The more you can do this, the quicker the fluid will leave the lungs and your pig will be grateful for the disturbance.

This is done in conjunction with the use of Diuretics.

Keep doing the coupaging therapy until your piggie is clear and Diuretic therapy will be less too.

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Post   » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:17 pm

So I have a question -- our pig has been on 2mg lasix for about 2 weeks, he seems to be rocking again when he breathes, how do I know how much to increase his lasix?

C Cole-Chakotay

Post   » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:24 pm

I would advise consulting your vet about the lasix dosage for your pig.

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