Nothing remarkable was found on his physical exam except that his mucous membranes were a bit pale. The x-rays showed nothing abnormal except some gas in the intestines.
Blood collection did not go well, we were only able to collect enough blood to run a few tests. Timothy's blood pressure seemed to be quite low, his veins collapsed easily. We couldn't even collect blood from a nail that was cut too short. His BUN was normal, ALT was over 3x the normal limit (163, upper normal is 50). The lab was not able to interpret the smear we sent them, so we have no idea what his cbc is like.
His u/s showed a small liver relative to the comparison pig, but nothing else abnormal. His cardiac u/s was normal.
We checked his teeth thoroughly under anesthesia and everything look normal. No spurs, misalignments or overgrown teeth. He chews normally, has no drooling, and does not drop food.
I have been able to maintain him at 600-610 g with CC and fluids, but I have no idea what my next step should be. I would like to collect more blood, but I don't know if it's possible to collect enough for a full panel. I had the best tech and the best doctors trying to pull blood.
Any ideas would be appreciated. The only idea I have is to attempt to get more blood and maybe get a cysto urine sample. I feel like I must be missing something major, but I have no idea what.
That is one value that can go up a good deal with stress, but still that seems really high.
If you believe in herbal treatments, burdock tincture, and milk thistle, as well as dandelion roots and leaves are all helpful for liver function.
But I agree with Mum, it sounds like he may be a heart pig. A heart not functioning well is going to eventually compromise the other major systems, like liver and kidney, etc.
I'd rule that heart issue out, as well as do the herbal treatments right away, if this were my pig.
I think I'll push for trying him on heart meds, I don't think it could hurt at this point in time. The ALT values worry me, because Mo (known heart pig) had increased ALT due to heart failure. I worry that the liver values may be off due to anorexia and we still need to look for another cause.
Milk thistle! I was trying to remember what herbal remedy worked for the liver. The only bonus to this is that now I get to go to the cool organic market.
Now Timothy is a nice solid 1070g with a great coat. He eats like a pig and runs laps around the cage. However, in the past week I've noticed that he has coughed a few times. It has always been when he's eating, especially when it's veggie time. No change in appetite, appearance, poops, or demeanor.
It must be heart, right? I'll be taking him in to the vet and pushing for heart meds, regardless of x-ray and u/s findings. I feel dumb for not having pushed in the first place, but everything resolved and there were no physical findings. If I can't get the vet to cooperate I'll head off to a different one. If I can get over my terror of the highways down here I can drive to Pinta's vet in a somewhat reasonable amount of time.
This is driving me crazy. My access to a car disappeared soon after my last post. I'm stuck with transit at the moment and my vet is the only real option. It's about 45 minutes to get to my vet and he's in the same city as me. I feel that taking Timothy on sardine like transit for over an hour, in the heat, isn't a good option. I'll do it if I have to but I likely literally have to push and shove people to keep his carrier safe, the buses in Vancouver are generally packed beyond capacity.
My new vet has been fantastic with my other animals and I've been impressed with him overall. In November we did another set of x-rays and another cardiac ultrasound. Nothing on either and I had both reviewed by specialists. So, my vet won't prescribe heart meds in a stable pig, with no findings.
The problem is that Timothy has begun coughing more frequently, I'll hear him cough several times weekly. Always while eating, and always accompanied by a glare at me when I dash over to the cage. He's a rather large pig at the moment at 1.3 kg and is definitely active.
My vet is being remarkably stubborn over this as hes never really treated a guinea pig with heart problems, just rabbits. He was more than willing to refill scripts for my other heart pig but that was just following an established protocol. He looked on VIN in November and didn't find anything he found convincing. His attitude was a bit strange when I mentioned consulting with Pinta's vet.
Does anyone have any citations or conference reports on heart problem in guinea pigs? I just know that it is his heart and I want to deal with it before he's showing more symptoms.
Just a few months ago an x-ray FINALLY showed an enlarged heart but it was long AFTER she was on her meds. How frustrating for you.
On Sunday I noticed that Timothy was occasionally making painful noises and hunching up. His weight was down 100g from the week before and his appetite was slightly decreased. I got him in to the vet I work at because the vet on that day does see exotics on a regular basis at her other job. We collected a cysto urine sample and took x-rays. The rads showed one large bladder stone that will need to be surgically removed.
The urine results have been coming in slowly, the UA showed a low specific gravity (1.012), lots of calcium crystals, and some blood. We're awaiting the culture results. I took him in with me last night to get blood drawn to make sure that his kidneys are doing well, and to give us some idea of what challenges we'll face with his anesthetic.
Currently he's not on an antibiotic as we didn't want to stress his system without any determination of what, if any, antibiotics are needed right now. He's got buprenorphine for the pain and he can have it as needed 2-3 times a day. He is still eating but I'm supplementing with CC every 4-6 hours.
So, the questions: Should I start him on some SQ fluids. His hydration is good but I remember that when Gavin had stones he felt better with some extra fluids. What is everyone's stance on starting antibiotics? If he stays semi-stable I was going to wait until the culture results come back. It's possible that there isn't an infection right now but I think we'd have him on on something post-op to cover our bases.
Any ideas for anesthetic protocols in case he does have kidney disease? My vet doesn't see guinea pigs often, rabbits and rats tend to be more popular in her area. Her colleague had suggested doing a similar protocol to what would be done for a rabbit, once I get it I'll post it for any feed back. I'll also post the UA and bloodwork results. If I'm feeling completely computer genius then I'll figure out how to get the digital x-rays online as well.
- You can quote me
If it's too large for that, it will help him regardless, as long as he's not too zonked to eat.
Inhalant anaesthetics (isoflurane, sevoflurane) are not particular kidney stressors as I understand it. I don't think the kidneys have much to do in clearing the drug from the body postop, unless someone with more med knowledge than me says otherwise. However, if it were me, I'd want the vet to induct and maintain *as if he were a heart pig*. That is, monitor exceedingly closely and put him no further under than he needs to be. Do the surgery as quickly as possible, while still being safe and complete.