Treatments often work differently for different species. Something that can help a dog, will kill a cat; something that has no effect on a dog will have a dramatic effect on a pig.
My vet will go for the hormone treatment first in senior pigs. Sometimes the cysts shrink enough to no longer be an issues and sometimes they shrink to the degree a spay will be easier. The bigger the item you are surgically removing, the more risk there is to the surgery.
If it was me, I'd go for the homone treatments in the hopes the cysts would shrink enough to make surgery easier or - even better - shrink to the degree surgery is no longer necessary.
Something has to be done for Poppy now, so I'll go for the hormone treatment and hope it will help her.
My pigs were her guinea pigs.
"Let's try it", "Nothing left to lose", "well, it works on cats...", "If this was a dog...", "are you insane? - that would kill it" became treatment buzz words. It helps she's an excellent diagnostician and very intuitive.
Since my last posts back in June Poppy has been doing fine all summer. Kirsti (vet) is definitely willing to work with me when I have suggestions to problems she don't know how to solve herself. I showed her the "Reference and First Hand Account" on GL and the post about GnRH, she sent Jorg Mayer an e-mail right away. In a few days whe got an answer back, and then felt she had enough documentation to be willing to try the GnRH on Poppy.
We had some difficulties with the doseing, as the drug here is not the same as on the US market. When we just went by the active ingredient we came out with a cow dose for poor Poppy, so in the end we just had to guess, and enden up giving her two reasonable injections with GnRH about two – three weeks apart (I don’t remember exactly how much or how far apart now). After the first dose her appetite was very low, and I had to give her some CC for a few days, but she seemed to take the second does much better, and shortly after her hair started to grow back nicely. At first it was a short, shiny, black plush, but now her fur is more greyish, like it was before. Still shiny, though.
In early September I came across two piggie girls that were to be given away for free. They had been housed outside all year round; the oldest, Polly, for two years, the youngest, Phoebe, for about 6 months.
I just couldn't let them live like that, and adopted them. They were terrified at first, but after two weeks of quarantine they were much more relaxed, and I wanted to introduce them to the other four during grazing time on the lawn (inside Poppy was, and still is, housed with Molly). First everything went really well – a lot of sniffing and talking, but no biting or anything.
But then, just as I started to relax, Poppy and Polly started to rumble for a few minutes, and then they ran towards each other and jumped high up in the air like I have seen rabbits sometimes do. I don't think they bit each other, as I could find no marks on either of them.
Unfortunately I didn't separate them at once, and after a short while they did the same thing again. This time Poppy looked as if she didn't feel quite well afterwards, and I suddenly realised that this had been too much for her and separated them. From then on she grazed with Molly alone, and I kept a close eye on her.
The next few days she was very quiet and sat much in her house, and on the third evening I realized that she was breathing heavily and that her heartbeat was very fast and unusually strong, so I got her to the vet the next morning. Vet could just confirm my observations, and suggested to double the dose of Fortekor, as the routine is with dogs and cats.
After a week on this high dose (2.5 mg twice daily) Poppy seemed better, and I gradually lowered the dose back to 1.25 mg twice daily, but after just a few days realized her breath was heavy again, and went back to 2.5 mg morning and evening for another week or so. As she has been doing well since then I now give her 2.5 mg in the morning and 1.25 mg in the evening. She has also been given 4 mg Furosemide twice daily, but I plan to reduce that to 3 mg doses to see if that is enough to keep her going.
I have been discussing Pimobendan with Kirsti as some pigs, like the now passed Lady Bug, and maybe some others, too, have been on Fortekor and Pimobendan at the same time. Kirsti thinks Pimobendan is to substitute Fortekor, though. Does anybody have any comments on that? She is also unsure about how to dose Pimobendan in guinea pigs – with our without Fortekor. Any experiences or suggestions?
Pinta and Bugs Mom - thank you for clarifying that! I suppose you used tablets of Vetmedin? Bugs Mom - do you remember if the tablets you gave Lady Bug where the 1.25 mg or the 5 mg kind? I also wonder how much Fortekor she got at the same time.
By the way - I found a Wikipedia article about Pimobendan, and it says thet Fortekor and Pimobendan can be used together: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vetmedin
Sorry, I'm not at all good with links but I made a thread called compounding Benazapril. It is my pharmacist's directions on what he did. Compounding pharmacies are too expensive. Lady Bug generally liked the mixture.
I have passed on the information about Lady Bug's and Rosie's medications to my vet, and hopefully she will agree to put Poppy under the same regime. At the moment she (Poppy, not vet!) is not *quite* as active as I would like her to be, and a bit on the thin side, even though she is bright eyed and seems to eat well. I'll let you know how she is going when the Vetmedin kicks in.
Here is a much-needed update on Poppy:
Since October, we have been trying different doses of benazepril (Fortekor), pimobendan (Vetmedin) and furosemid (Furix), and have landed on 2.5 mg benazepril, 5.0 mg furosemid and 0.6 mg pimobendan in the morning, and 1.25 mg benazepril, 4.0 - 5.0 mg furosemid and 0.6 mg pimobendan in the evening.
These are higher doses than others have suggested on here, but it seems to keep Poppy going.
Lower doses seem to slow her down, and her weight jumps up, indicating her belly and chest is filling up again, I think. I might try to give her lower doses again in the summer, when she will get almost free access to fresh grass, though (after a period of gradual introduction, of course), and see how that works out. I strongly believe in the blessings of fresh, green food picked by the pigs themselves, if possible. ;-)
Poppy has not lost any more weight, though, and she feels a little bit “firmer” than before, but has not put on muscles either, as far as I can tell, unfortunately. She is also nearly deaf, and sleeps very deeply at times, and that has not changed much.
I wonder if I should increase her Furosemide dose right away, though. I could ask the vet, but as I usually do the research and tell her what to prescibe, it is more useful to ask here.
I have been reading the medication page, and it says:
"Furosemide -- Lasix
SC, IM 1-4mg/kg q4-6h (diuretic for edema, pulmonary congestion, ascites [fluid])
SC, IM 5-10 mg/kg q12h
(above dosage rates James Carpenter's Exotic Animal Formulary)"
but I am not quite sure what the abbreviations mean - there used to be a list, but I can't find it. I suppose it means either 1-4 mg/kg every 4 to 6 hours, or 5-10 mg/kg every 12 hours. Is that right? But what is SC and IM?
On Rosie's thread (link provided above by Webs) Mum mentioned that it is possible to give a third dose in the middle of the day. Is this refering to a 5-10 mg/kg dose?
I also wonder if it is better to give 3 smaller doses 8 hours apart than 2 larger ones 12 hours apart.