Should I worry? Lazy "rag doll" pig


Post   » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:52 pm

Hillyer/ Quesenberry has 2-5mg/kg q12h;PO,SC.

So that would be 2-5mg/kg orally every 12 hours. You can give 10mg once in a 24 hour period but I advise you follow up with a hydration subcue.

Phone your vet to get an OK to up the lasix just in case the fluids are due to something other than heart. If you have upped the lasix before for this condition with success you're probably okay to do it again.

Sometimes the fluids can be the result of kidney issues. You can still use lasix but it is important to hydrate when the kidneys are inviolved. I had a kidney pig who got 20cc s fluids twice a day along with the top dose of daily Lasix. This treatment maintained her at a relatively good comfort level.

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Post   » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:30 pm

Thank you, Lynx and Pinta!

Because of your remarks, Pinta, I read back from when Poppy was in heart failure a year ago (why didn't I do that at once?), and found that she then got 10 mg of lasix twice a day for two days, with no ill effect. Quite the contrary - she recovered much faster than the vet had expected. As it was too late to call the vet in a non emergency matter, I took the chance of giving Poppy 10 mg of lasix this evening, but if it is necessary to do it again, I will ask the vet first.

I am pretty sure Poppy's kidneys are OK, or at least that they were a year ago, so I am not very worried about the fluid build up to be from something other than her heart condition.

I have found it very easy to get water (orally) into Poppy if it is finger warm, and she now gets 30 ml with her medicine every 12 hours (morning and evening). She also drinks well by her self, so all in all I think she gets 100+ ml most days, sometimes even more. According to my vet that is just as effective as hydro injections. I hope she is right.


Post   » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:24 pm

Fluids orally are fine. Hydration subcues are useful as they get fluids into the pig much faster than syringing orally.

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Post   » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:26 pm

Update on Poppy again, and some questions.

During the summer the pigs have been out grazing on all sunny days, and some have managed to put on some weight.

Poppy has been about the same weight, but more active, so I decreased her meds a bit to 1.25 mg enalapril, 0.6 mg pimobendan and 5.0 mg furosemid every 12 hours, and she did fine on those doses.

The last few days Poppy has been gradually becoming quieter, and on Monday her usually pink ears looked a bit blue. I increased the med doses yesterday; and even gave her double doses of furosemid. That helped a bit, or at least the ears became pinker, but just for a few hours.

I talked to the vet today, and she agreed on trying higher doses, but didn't know if there are other things we can do.

During the summer I held back on the Oxbow pellets, but now when fall has started the pigs only has been outside on the driest and mildest days, so I have given them pellets again.

However, since I suspect the salt in the pellets might be an additional strain to Poppy's heart, I will try not to give her any to see if that helps at all.

I wonder if anybody has other suggestions. Is it possible to give Poppy other human medicines to keep her blood pressure down? Other things I can do with her diet? Inputs would be most appreciated.


Post   » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:33 am

Maybe she might do better on Fortekor?

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Post   » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:29 am

Sorry if I have mixed up, but I thought Fortekor was enalapril - have to check that now. Anyhow Poppy is on Fortekor.

She is also loosing weight, even though she eats a lot whenever I am around. I suspect she sits quietly in her hut when I am not there to remind her to eat. I have cut grass to her, and she loves that, but winter will soon takes over; first snow for the winter fell this afternoon.

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Post   » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:48 am

Checked it - Fortekor is of course benazepril.


Post   » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:49 pm

She may need higher doses of both fortekor and lasix. And oxygen is a great help to heart pigs if you can get your hands on a portable cannister.

Fortekor is a more recent version of Enalapril.

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Post   » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:32 pm

Thank you, Pinta!

I wonder how high the max doses are. Tonight I have given her double doses of Fortekor (= 2.5 mg) and Furosemid (10 mg, sold under the name Furix here), and the usual dose of 0.6 mg Vetmedin. Her ears became pink after just a few minutes, but now, just about an hour later, they are very red, almost purple again, and when I looked after her she sat quietly in her hut and nodded her head with every breath. She does that a lot, and I am afraid that is a bad sign.

I have given her several large handfuls of grass today, and her usual vegetables: Romaine, a little peeled broccoli stalk, some carrot, some parsley and some bell pepper. She ate it all with gusto, but when it comes to hay she's not that eager.
I might start handfeeding, but am reluctant, as there is salt in the Critical Care too.

I don't think it is possible to get oxygen here. I'll ask my vet about it when I call her tomorrow, though; it might have become easier since we discussed it in the past.


Post   » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:05 am

The max 24 hour dose of lasix for a 1kg pig is 10mg. I don't klnow the range for fortekor but I do know it's pretty wide.

Unfortunatelywith heart pigs there will come a time that the heart disease will win.

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Post   » Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:35 am

It might be wishful thinking on my part, but this morning Poppy seems to be a bit better, even before medication. She is bright eyed and eager to eat treats and some grass, and her ears are more pink than purple. I have given her some water orally, and at the moment she is eating hay.

I hope her time hasn't come yet.


Post   » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:13 am

Is she being dosed every 12 hours?

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Post   » Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:58 pm

Yes, Pinta - morning and evening around 9, local time. This morning she got a double dose of Fortekor (2.5 mg) and the usual doses of Vetmedin (0.6 mg) and Furix (5 mg). Plus 20 ml of water orally.

When I came home from work Poppy seemed OK, although her ears were a bit hot looking (red), but did not feel warmer than usual. She ate a whole lot of the grass I cut for her; there is still some to be found, but I don't know for how long, and also some hay when the grass was finished.

I will give her her medicines now, and see how she is doing; 1.25 mg Fortekor, 0.6 mg Vetmedin and 5 mg Furix. This is the doses she got in the spring, before the grazing season.

After the introduction period of a few weeks she ate much fresh grass during the summer, and now when the pigs only get little handfuls of grass Poppy became ill. I don't know if there is a connection, but it might be.

ETA: Forgot to mention that I read on the heart pig stories-thread, and found one poster that mentioned that larger doses of diuretics could cause inappetance due to low levels of potassium, so I gave Poppy two thin (about the thickness of a one dollar coin) slices of banana yesterday, and one slice today. That might have helped her, too.

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Post   » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:00 pm

Update on Poppy: Since my last post I discussed dosing of Poppy's medicine with my vet, and also tried out larger doses than usually recommended.

For a few weeks Poppy was on doubled doses of benazepril and furosemide (2.5 mg and 10 mg twice daily, respectively), the usual dose of pimobendan and a lot of water (at least 75 ml/day, orally), but she didn't seem to get very much better. She sat in her hut and looked uncomfortable much of the day, so I started to worry that we could not handle her heart conditon with medication any more.

Then suddenly I realized that she was very hormonal, as she was rumbling and making fuss when ever she was out and about. So I took her to the vet and she got a new shot of GnRH again. Poppy was well behaved and impressed the vet, who was pleased to see how well she was doing on the heart meds.

Since then she has been doing much better - after just a week I could feel that her cysts was getting smaller, and I gradually have reduced her medicine doses back to normal.

She is bright eyed and active, and seems quite content with life at the moment.


Post   » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:44 pm

I'm glad she's doing better.

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Post   » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:05 am

Than you, Debs4Pigs!

I think the most important thing I have learned from this is that ovarian cysts can make a heart condition much worse, and that a hormone injection is a good treatment for a compromised pig, like a heart pig is.

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Still supporting in 2014

Post   » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:08 am

Fab news! I'm so glad she's doing well. And you have been great in getting her sorted.

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Post   » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:36 pm

Thank you, Bethie!

The hormone injection helped at first, but then Poppy's weight bounced up again, so just before Christmas she got another treatment. That didn't do anything, so I had planned to take her to the vet for a third injection when I found her eye looked infected. My daughter then told me she had removed a grass seed from under Poppy's lower eyelid the evening before.

Fortunately we got an appointment with the vet the same day. Close examination revealed a small injury to Poppy's cornea, so she was prescribed drops of EDTA 4- 6 times daily, Voltaren optha 1 mg/ml (drops) 4 times a day, Fusithalmic vet (1%) twice daily and Atropine eye drops (10 mg/ml) once daily, or less, depending on how dilated the eye looks.

As this vet is not Poppy's usual one, and she not so familiar with piggies (but I think I got her interested!), I just want to know if it is safe to use Voltaren optha in her eye? The active ingredient seems to be diclofenac sodium, and the vet couldn't find anything that indicates it is not safe for piggies, but I guess that is no surprise.

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Post   » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:49 am

Update: Poppy’s eye healed completely about a week after the last update. She is still going strong, even though she is now 6 years old. During the summer she has been doing really well, and seemed to enjoy all the fresh grass she got during the warmer months. When I arranged an enclosure around a crop frame where I grow herbs, she and cagemate Pippi started to walk around the frame a lot [ “Just to see if there is some greener grass around the corner”, as they told me ;-)], she got more exercise than before, and that as well seemed to help strengthen her.

Poppy has almost lost her voice, so there are not many wheeks to be heard from her anymore, but over the last year or so she has been interacting more with me in other ways. Whenever I pet her or give her hand warm water by a syringe she will purr, and if I am late with treats she often chatters her teeth at me. I take that as an indication of her feeling well and trusting me.

Poppy's medication is about the same as before, given twice daily dissolved in water: 1.25 mg benazepril (Fortekor), 0.6 mg pimobendan (Vetmedin), and a slightly increased dose of 6 mg furosemide (Furix; Lasix in the US). Earlier she got about 25 – 30 ml of water with the medicine, but as she drinks so well on her own she now usually gets about 15 ml. I allways weigh Poppy before medication, and if her weight drops beneath about 1120 g she gets some Critical Care and some additional water.

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Post   » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:51 am

Too late to edit, but I want to correct myself - I give about 0.3 mg of pimobendan twice daily, not 0.6, as I dissolve each 1.25 mg tablet in 1 ml of water, and divide that into four doses. Pimobendan in water will keep for 48 hours in the fridge.

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