Request for heart pig stories

Post Reply
I Love Lucy

Post   » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:18 pm

I picked up Peeky's remains and necropsy report today for PH as she is out of town. She OKed me to go ahead and post the findings here. It's fairly short:

Necropsy: No external lesions. Abdom. NAF, Thorax - chest cavity full of tranovdate [sp? Can't read the writing too well there, it's hand-written.]. Lungs severely consolidated, heart enlarged on examination. Probable cause of death- decompensation [illegible symbol, that I think means "due"] to heart dz [disease].


Post   » Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:45 am

1 - breed: tricolour abby, Nancy - rescued sow, age unsure probably over 4 years

2 - brief description of symptoms that made you suspect heart problems:

Stately bearing, very gradual weight loss, slight slow down in activity.

3 - diagnostics done and the results.

vet listened with stethoscope and found her heart rate to be perfect. He colour was also good.

6 - other med issues:

hard lump in throat. Had surgery to remove the lump and died on the table even with a doppler monitor in use. Tumour looked to be cancerous and vet sent it out for a histo and also did a gross necropsy.

Polycystic kidneys(PKD) amd one kidney had shut down. Belly full of bloody fluid. Heart completely shot Another tumour further down the throat

Lab results determined the tumour was a thyroid carcinoma that had metasticized to the lymph nodes which explained why she couldn't take the anaesthetic.

The most interesting thing was that I suspected heart and there was absolutely no outward evidence of heart disease. The vet felt the symptoms I observed were most likely due to the lump since she had a perfect heart rate. Yet her heart was shot.

I'm not sure what an xray would have shown but even with a cavy savvy vet familiar with heart issues in pigs, there seemed no reason to do one. Outwardly this pig was the picture of health except for the lump in her throat

User avatar

Post   » Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:32 am

1 - breed, age and sex of pig: Sunny, will be 6 approx in September, intact female

2 - brief description of symptoms that made you suspect heart problems: Recent weight loss, which we thought were related to a bout of cystitis she had a few weeks ago. She suddenly started breathing very heavily, and decided to take her to the vets.

3 - diagnostics done and the results: auscultation was normal. An X-ray was taken, and it showed a slightly enlarged heart

4 - treatment, med and dosage: Fortekor, 1.25 mg once a day. For 10 days initially

5 - results of treatment: She started breathing more normally 2-3 days into the treatment. Although she has always been very active she seems to have more energy now, getting back to her old boisterous behaviour of when she was 1-2 years old! We went back for a check up and she will continue to take Fortekor. We will go back in a month’s time for a check up.

6 - other med issues: None, apart of the cystitis a few days before her symptoms started.

1 - breed, age and sex of pig: Nina, was 5 in February, intact female (daughter of Sunny)

2 - brief description of symptoms that made you suspect heart problems: Nina has always been having lots of trouble with her health. She suffered a mild stroke a few years ago. Had surgery to remove a stone in her bladder. Has been suffering from continuous URIs, and had severe bloat a year ago (we thought she wasn’t going to make it). As we had a good experience with the vet who saw Sunny, we took Nina in for a check up.

3 - diagnostics done and the results: auscultation was normal, although he could hear some fluid in her lungs. An X-ray was taken, and her heart seemed quite normal (better than Sunny's was). There was no infection in her lungs

4 - treatment, med and dosage: Because of all the other symptoms she’s been put on Fortekor, 1.25 mg once a day. Has been on it for just 2 days (today will be her third)

5 - results of treatment: Too early to say, although last night we were a bit worried about her as she seemed too quiet and were worried the meds were doing her more harm than good. It was very hot though, and Sunny also started just lying down on the floor. They were both better this morning (it was cooler)

6 - other med issues: Suffers from gas and has to take simethicone daily. Her nose is also wet quite often due to the URIs. The vet confirmed that a cyst we discovered a couple of months ago was a mammary one. It hasn’t grown since we discovered it, and we’re not sure for how long she’s had it. The lungs were clear, so there was no metastasis. We hope it is a benign one. She is too old to go through surgery again and the vet said that he’s only removed skin cysts on piggies. We just hope this won’t cause her any pain or further health problems…

Just an addition to the girl’s family health history. Algenon, son of Sunny and twin of Nina, died of a heart attack a couple of years ago.

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:57 am

Update on Elsie, my 7yr 4mth old:

I received a copy of her ultrasound report today and the diagnosis is as follows:

Mitral Valve Endocardiosis/Left Atrial Enlargement/Mitral Insufficiency

Interesting note about Pimobedan - "has sometimes been used when traditional CHF treatments (diuretics, enacard, digoxin) begin to fail. It primary function is as vasodilation with some positive inotropic activity. Profound improvements have been noted in nearly every case with respect to attitude and activity levels within 24hrs. It is not licensed for use in the USA and as such FDA release needs to be granted prior to use. There is a samle FDA letter on VIN and information regarding supplies and use of Non-FDA approved drugs."

User avatar

Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:36 pm

So it is currently not available to you? Your note makes it sound like it would surely be worth trying.

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:48 am

It is not available to me and the report says it is an alternative if the meds being used to treat congestive heart failure do not work. So far the meds she is on are doing their job.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:43 am

Sunny died on Saturday night. She had been a more or less okay since the last check up at the vets, but on Saturday morning she refused her food and her breathing was more laboured. We took her straight to the vet. Her lungs had filled up with fluid and the weather had been very changing and demanding on her little heart. We tried everything we could, but she finally died in our arms. We let Nina cuddle up with her to say her goodbyes. We miss you our little sun..

User avatar

Post   » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:33 pm

I am so terribly sorry, macepeki.

User avatar
"Live Long and Prosper"

Post   » Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:28 pm


1. Breed - Peruvian - tricolor rescued intact male age unknown

2. Rattling in chest, hooting, difficulty breathing, weight loss

3. On Lotensin and Lasix

4. X-ray showed enlarged heart

5. Severe scurvy with related teeth and heart issues. Humanely euthanized due to congestive heart failure.


Post   » Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:43 pm

Baby Joey has been stable on 1.25 mg of Enalapril twice a day. So he gets a total of 2.5 mg of enalapril a day. I wanted to update as he has maintained at this dose for quite a few months.
His breathing is labored on ocassion and he has his incisors filed every 3 weeks. He also is receiving metacam every morning for arthritis and the metacam does lower the effectiveness of the enalapril. Baby Joey is now 5 years and 7 mos. old. I still take every day he is here with me as a gift. He is minimally gassy and enjoys a good quality of life.
below were his previous stats I had posted.

1 - Abyssnian/5 year old/male
2 - chronic gas/hooting/pea eye/deep sleeper-sleeps with eyes closed/lap pig/lost his wheek/trouble waking up last time under anesthetic
3 - xray showed enlarged hard reaching almost past 4th rib
4 - enalapril 0.5 mg once a day
5 - by 2nd night gas reducing/more energy-running around play area with more zest/3rd night didn't want to cuddle on chest - too energetic to cuddle :O)
6 - has been on reglan to help with the chronic gas/hoping to reduce the reglan and eliminate it/meloxicam for arthiritis on his knee which showed on xray/every since a tooth break in december his incisors need to be trimmed every few weeks because his bite is now off

User avatar
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:41 am

1- Ling Ling, Texel, age unknown suspected to be 2-4 years old, female

2- Her energy level was very up and down, somedays she would be exhausted, others she would be extremely active. She's a very small pig then had gradual weight loss. She had also been coughing regularly.

3- Multiple X-rays (multiple vets found her heart to be enlarged)

4- Lotensin at 1mg twice a day

5- Energy level is more even, much more perky, starting wheeking and zooming, weight seems more stabilized, begs for food now and she also sleeps much better

6- Cataracts, chronic dry eye, dry skin, possible asthma (unsure about that now that we know about her heart)

User avatar
Contributor in 2020

Post   » Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:34 am

1. American, boar, unknown age was geriatric when I got him and had him for two more years. Friend said he looked older than her 8 year old American boar.
2. Tired after floor time, later had trouble breathing.
3. X-ray showed very enlarged heart and a mass in or on bottom half of right lung and fluid in lungs.
4. Vet said not much could be done for him. I wanted to make him as comfortable as possible until his time came. He was put on Furosemide 0.6 CC three times a day (Sylvester was big, about three pounds).
5. He perked up after about three days of treatment and lived for three more months. I had him euthanized when he could no longer swallow his Critical Care.
6. Had lice, impacted bum and was suffering from neglect when I got him. Before that, I don't know.

1. Skinny, boar age 4 1/2
2. Very labored breathing.
3. X-ray showed fluid around heart, completely obscured heart.
4. Enicard 1/2 mg. once daily and Furosemide 0.4 CC three times a day.
5. Gordy was himself after two days of treatment. He lived three more weeks and died suddenly with only a few minutes warning.
6. None, he was robust and healthy until this.


Post   » Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:47 pm

1. Silkie - 18 months - intact male

2. Slow, laboured breathing, came on overnight- no other symptons - vet said URI and prescribed baytril. But after 4 days with no change I looked on guinealynx and saw his heart could be the cause/problem. His weight and appetite remained normal throughout.
Vet accepted this possibility - though in UK heart problems not considered, or treated, in guineapigs! and agreed to follow guinealynx doseages.

3. Only diagnostics done was stethoscope for lungs on first and only vet appointment - said lungs sounded congested, hence URI diagnosed.

4. Fortekor (1.25mg) and frusomide (10mg) twice daily.

5. Nose pinked up after one dose. His breathing became faster and less effort as the days went by, and his activity rate went up a little on what it'd been.
Now it's been 18 days since first vet visit. His breathing is still 'visible' compared to his very healthy partner's.

6. He was licking his mineral/salt lick a lot more than usual prior to this happening. He would eat a couple of pumpkin or sunflower seeds, then have a lick, then have a couple more seeds. On guinealynx advice I've removed it, and am giving him fewer seeds.


Post   » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:45 pm

4. Fortekor (1.25mg) and frusomide (10mg) twice daily.

The Furosemide dose is way too high.

Dosage should be 2-5mg/kg every 12 hours.For our pigs, the maintenance dose is 5mg/kg once a day.

You run the risk of dehydrating your pig and stressing the kidneys on too high a dose.

User avatar
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:51 pm

Ditto - that dose is way over the top. The max I *ever* give is 5mg/kg, and even then only if a pig is rattling badly.

If you give a dose as high as that I believe it's immediately to be followed with a subcue.


Post   » Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:56 pm

Thanks very much. I now give him the much lower 2.5mg of furosemide, compounded with the fortekor, twice a day with a few drops of soya milk and syringe orally.
His weight has not changed throughout these three weeks - he weighs 3 lbs (1.4kg).

His body still shows the effort, but not quite as hardgoing, 120 times a minute now, as against 60 when he was first poorly.

User avatar
Supporter in '08

Post   » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:09 am

1 - American male about 1 year 3 months currently.

2 - At 8 months started breathing deeply, body had rocking movement, no longer active and stopped eating.

3 - Chest sounded bad, x-rays showed something in or around the lungs, but hard to read. First sonogram was inconclusive possible enlarged heart? Blood tests checked out okay, and a fine needle aspiration didn't draw out any fluid. Didn't respond to antibiotics. Finally a second sonogram with a new machine gave us results; Mitral Valve Regurgitation was the diagnosis.

4 - A combination of Enacard (Enalapril) and Lasix regulated his heart. Lasix is .40 cc's twice a day. Enacard is half a pill twice a day.

5 - He is now happy and active and doing well on treatment.

6 - Only other medical issues, was treated with Advantage and revolution for lice and mites. When I first got him he had bumblefoot in front paw. While I apply creams it remains slightly scabbed still. It was worse when he was really sick and better when the medicine started working.

User avatar
"Live Long and Prosper"

Post   » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:44 pm

Flower - Aby sow - 4 1/2 years old

When I got Flower she was underweight and thin, plus she was a "nice quiet, lap pig". There were no other symptoms, but I suspected heart issues.

An x-ray was taken and she does have an enlarged heart. I started her on .5cc Lotensin twice a day. She has been on it about five weeks. She has gained weight and her activity level has dramatically increased. She also gets 1cc of children's vitamin C daily.


Post   » Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:31 pm

1 - Gizmo - sheltie mix? - 3 yr old unaltered boar

2- First noticed a lack of appetite followed by weight loss and lack of energy. He was about 1350g in his prime and dropped to around 1250g when we first took him to the vet.

3- The vet first suspected some sort of infection and a moderate amount of gas in his stomach (shown in X-rays). She prescribed baytril, benebac, metacam, and critical care feedings. His weight continued to drop even with 5-6 feeding a day. He began showing signs of a UTI (squeaking while urinating). She prescribed a longer dose of baytril. UTI cleared, but still no other improvements and was showing signs of a baytril intolerance (considerable weight loss). X-rays were done which showed no signs of stones and bloat was cleared up. We switched to bactrim. Appetite improved slightly, but he began wheezing and coughing during feedings, and his breathing was heavy all of the time.

I suggested heart problems to the vet, she was unsure but agreed to post X-rays online to get other vets opinions. The anesthetized him to try to take blood, but were unable, they took side view X-rays at this time as well. The trimmed his incisors while he was under. It took awhile to get a response to his films online and in the mean time he went down to 950g and his breathing progressively got worse. She said there was mixed opinions online as to whether he had and enlargement, but the good news was he had no fluid build up. With a little coaxing she agreed to start a trial of enalapril.

4- We began on 0.5mg of enalapril every 48 hrs. No lasix b/c no fluid. After the second dose he showed improvement in his breathing and activity level, however, he would decline again well before the 48 hrs was up. After 3 doses at the 48hrs, we decided to up him to 0.5cc every 24 hrs. By the 3rd dose I noticed a marked improvement in appetite, activity, and breathing.

By week two he is pretty much back to his old self. Still needs to put on some more weight. I am hand feeding 1 or 2 times daily, however for the past week he has been eating enough on his own to maintain or gain weight between feedings. He has been seen zooming. And popcorned for the first time last night over his evening veggie plate. His weight yesterday was back to 1100 g.

5- He is currently not on any other meds.

This forum and this thread saved Gizmo's life. Thank you all so much, and I hope that his story will help others in the future.


Post   » Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:56 pm

Amanda Davies' case studies make very interesting reading, as do the other sections on cardiovascular disease (

The description of Heddwyn was of particular interest to me.

His symptoms are described thus:

"Quiet boar, slept very soundly. Gurgled badly after neuter surgery, recovery was prolonged, started rattling on a regular basis."

Two of those words concern me: "gurgled" and "rattling".
I realise she is describing sounds in words - a very difficult thing to do, but can anyone give me a bit more information on 'gurgling' and 'rattling'?

Do these descriptions refer exclusively to involuntary sounds heard in the lungs/chest cavity - or do they perhaps pertain more to the other, voluntary behavioural noises piggies make?

Post Reply
271 posts