Poppy doesn't sound like Cushings to me. Mine had severe hair loss and her hair grew back when she went on L-deprenyl. The only way I know of to diagnosis is ultrasound to check the size of the adrenals.
Diabetes, Kidney issues involve excessive drinking. I still wouldn't rule out heart but then everyone knew I'd say that.
Pinta - I don't remember if I have mentioned earlier on this tread, but the vet suggested Cushings as a possibility, but than she was not sure of how to diagnose it. I got the impression that a blood test could give a clue. In fact I think she said that ONLY a blood test could tell. I have to ask her!
We had an ultrasound to check for heart enlargement, but the probe was not good enough to give any conclusion, so I guess the adrenal glands are far to small to be checked this way?
Diabetes was ruled out by a urine test, but maybe further testing should be done? Kidney issues has not been discussed, I think. I will bring it up.
And I agree with you on the heart - it is my "plan B" to put her on a two weeks trial of heart meds if we don't get any results from the blood test. I "just" have to convince a vet relative to prescribe it without seeing Poppy - he lives too far away to.
Her hair completely grew back in 6-9 months. When she died a few years later her necropsy confirmed Cushings. As far as I know this was the first definitive diagnosis of Cushings Disease in a guinea pig.
We initially had her ultrasounded because we suspected ovarian cysts due to the hair loss pattern but couldn't palpate any and did not want to undergo invasive surgery unless we confirmed our suspicions of cysts. The ultrasound did not show cysts but because the specialist was top of his field he detected a difference of size in the adrenals and from his diagnostic experience, suspected Cushings.
My poor little Poppy! Hopefully it was not as bad for her as for me and my daughter! I think the vet did what she could, but it was NOT easy to obtain enough blood for the sample - I think 0.4 cc was the needed amount.
I suggested the toenail overclip method, but the vet was skeptical, so she wanted to have a look at the vein in Poppys right front leg and shaved her, to her dismay. Then the vet wanted to have a look on the left leg as well. Same procedure, and same protests from Poppy. But non of the veins looked promising. I then we warmed a foot and the vet did an ordinary toenail overclip, but could not get more than a tiny drop of blood, so she decided that Poppy had to be anesthetized and that the blood had to be taken from a vein in her front leg.
Poppy is a very cooperative pig, so she sat still with the mask over her face, and after a few minutes the vet thought she was asleep and tried to insert the needle. But not this girl! Poppy jumped up screaming and was very much awake! The gas valve had to be opened more, and suddenly my girl was totally limp. I did hold her when a new needle was inserted in a vein, but the blood would not flow like it was supposed to. The vet was a bit embarrassed, I think, and tried the other leg. Same result. Just enough blood to smear out on Poppys foot.
Then the vet tried the toenail overclip again, but it was nearly impossible to get more than a few tiny drops of blood! Poor Poppy ended up with five overclipped toenails and an exhausted mum and sister! But when enough blood was collected and she got some extra oxygen to wake up, she perked up very fast and eagerly ate the romano salad my daughter had brought to bribe her with.
When we came home she seemed to be fine, but irritated when I lifted her. She didn't want to be touched, it seemed. I hope she hasn't lost all faith in us by this! And I really hope the analysis of her blood will give us some useful information!
By the way: The vet said that she took a blood sample from an ohter guinea pig just about a week ago, and that had been very easy. She could not understand why it was so difficult with Poppy.
- You can quote me
"The vet said that she took a blood sample from an ohter guinea pig just about a week ago, and that had been very easy."
Some are easier draws than others. Very few are particularly easy, but we had one like Poppy; nearly impossible.
How much easier it would be, truly, to give your own.
- We miss our sweet Oreo
In any case, so sorry Poppy had to endure all that. We once clipped Bilbo's nails a little short, and the guy made such a mess that we had to retire the shirt my son was wearing due to the blood stains. I hope you get to the bottom of this soon.
Thanks for input and sympathy, everyone! It is a bit reassuring to hear that others have had the same problem with their pigs - I was starting to wonder if I was wrong trusting this vet, and that she knows less than she is willing to admit.
You probably have a good point, JaneDoe - the less an injured pig bleed, the more likely it is to survive in the wild, I would think!
Amy0204 - poor Bilbo! I hope your son didn't get too scared from the blood! I think your "long shot" is interesting, and have been thinking about the same myself. But of course - I forgot to ask the vet here or my vet relative!
But if it turns out that Poppy has low blood pressure, could that be related to a heart issue? I have no idea!
We have been to the vet again today - the results were back from the lab in Germany, and - surprise, surprise - they said nothing! No liver og kidney anomalies, no indication of cancer, no hypoproteinemy (?) or uremy (?). Trying to translate here - I don't really know what the two last words mean and how they are spelled in English !
By the way - two of Poppys toes are a bit red and swollen after all the clipping, but the vet was not conserned. I am a bit worried, though, and watch her carefully. Yesterday I soaked her feet in lukewarm water, but I don't konw if that helped.
The vets theory is Cushings disease or the other Cushings illness - can't remember what it is called, but it is the one caused by a little tumor in her hypotalamus. The strategy to try to find out is to take a new urine sample from Poppy and one from one of the others (to compare) and analyze for urine-cortisol-creatinine and proteine-ceratine (should this be creatinine as well? Funny - when I read the printout from the vet really carefully I see that it says creatitine and creatitinine, but I think she must have put too many letters in there!)
There is a callenge with this, though - we don't know what the normal values for these substances are in guinea pigs! Does anybody know if there is a page where I can find anything about this? I am really getting frustrated!
If anybody has something to add I will be gratefull! I have to go to bed now (it's 22:20), but I will check up on this tread tomorrow morning!
Vet sent off the urine samples to the German lab, and the results came back today - my vet just phoned me, and then faxed the results over. They confirm that something is not right with Poppy, but my vet is unsure about what.
The Urine - Protein - Creatinine (UPC ratio) values are higher than in cats and dogs, and I guess that is normal. Poppy's value is 7.67 whereas the control pig (Mango - apparently healthy and about the same size and age as Poppy) has a value of 3.7, meaning that Poppy's ratio is more than the double of Mango's.
Urine - Cortisol - Creatinine (PCC ratio) analysis show a value of 80 027 in Poppy, 38 053 in Mango, making Poppy's value again more than the double of Mango's. (Actually the vet said 800 027 / 380 053 on the phone and the values above in the fax, but the relative difference is anyway the same.)
I am a bit confused here, and so is my vet, and we are not sure what is best to do next.
Vets suggestion is either a more thorough biochemical investigation along "The Cortisol Path" and/or a new ultrasound check in Oslo to confirm or rule out Cushing's, or to follow "The Protein Path" with a thorough analysis of what type of protein are present in the urine in order to conclude or exclude some type of renal failure, as I understood it. The latter is the easiest.
I also found this link http://www.vetmedpub.com/vetmed/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=357729 that says among other things that high PCC can be an indication of congestive heart failure in cats and dogs. I am not sure if the vet knows this - I will send her the link, though.
Any thoughts or ideas?
- I GAVE, dammit!
Given all her symptoms, and not to rule out Cushings, can you get your vet to give a trial of Benazepril? CHF is very common in guinea pigs, and she does have classic symptoms.among other things that high PCC can be an indication of congestive heart failure in cats and dogs.
Of course she may also have something else going on, but I would think a trial of Lotensin would at least show you if CHF is an issue (and it's a strong possibility I would think). Pinta always says that many heart problems are not shown on xray but diagnosed by necropsy.