Heart meds for heart murmer?

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:06 am

hould we risk putting him under for a checkup/x-ray when he has a heart murmur.
He should really be on lotensin for several days before he's put under anesthesia.

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Mr Capybara

Post   » Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:53 am

We took Chester to see a dental specialist this morning, right before we put poor Mims to sleep. He did a quick exam without anesthesia but wants us to get a more in depth exam at the UW vet school. (he works part time at the Verona vet and the University)

He wanted to consult with their board certified anesthesiologist and their cardiologist to see if it's "safe" for Chester to get a dental x-ray or a CT scan when he's under. We're glad their taking alot of steps to make sure he can make it through the gas but it's still a huge pain to get them to look at the heart info on the Guinea Lynx page. We're still seeing a resistance to getting vets to try heart medication for GP's.

Meanwhile we have him on Chloramphenicol to help treat the absess. His UW appt is on monday. More updates then.
Thanks Mum, for the advice, we're going to do our best to get them to listen to us!

Supporter in '13

Post   » Sun Jun 24, 2007 1:30 pm

Just thought I'd do a quick update for our poor Chester-Pester.

His abscess does not seem any bigger, but it seems to be bothering him to eat a little more. He hasn't lost weight, but is more hesitant to eat pellets and Critter Berries. He mangled a baby carrot yesterday, chewing it up into little bits. We started him on a little Metacam to help ease his discomfort. We are supplementing with Critical Care and probiotics, and luckily so far he hasn't lost any weight.

I've read up on abscesses and tooth root abscesses here. Tomorrow I'm going to ask for a culture and if there's any way they can lance and drain the abscess from the outside until we can be more sure he can make it through anaesthesia ok. Chester's left eye is bulging a little. I'm worried the abscess may be affecting it. I agree that he should go under for a dental exam but I really want them to consider giving him heart meds first and then doing that part of the exam after having the meds for a few days. What do you all think? Will it be ok for him to wait if they can do the other things?(lancing, draining, AB's etc.)

Any and all advice is super appreciated. This is our first pig with an abscess, and at a very bad time. I can't lose this little guy.

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Post   » Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:24 pm

I think of abscesses as being fairly serious and that they should be taken care of in a timely manner. See what your vet thinks.

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Post   » Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:41 pm

I imagine someone more experienced in heart issues will come on and give you advice. I think the vet should be able to lance and flush out the abscess, depending on how close it is to the skin, without anesthetizing him.

I wouldn't wait too long with a jaw abscess. You don't want the infection getting into the bone of the jaw.

I believe that unless the heart problems are taken care of, however, the abscess will take longer to heal.

I know how frustrating it can be to get vets to prescribe the lotensin. My own vet is wonderful, yet sidesteps around this issue.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:28 pm

Several of my pigs have had anesthesia before we knew they had heart problems, including Spot with a major surgery.

I got lucky. But they all had extended recovery times.

When Millie got two abscesses in her jaw (reachable form the outside), the ER vet gave her a shot of something to numb her and lansed them without using general anesthesia.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:28 am

Thanks for the advice. It's probably a stupid question because each case would be different, but maybe I could ask the vets to weigh in on what would be riskier at the moment--to put him under with his heart condition and no meds yet, or to give him meds and wait a few days and take some other actions with the abscess in the meantime.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:03 pm

Chester-Pester is at UW now, waiting for all his exams, and I'm here waiting anxiously for a phone call. An exam there is a full day affair, which can be extremely nerve wracking and frustrating considering I often have to drive home and wait and then go all the way back.

They need our verbal consent to put him under anasthesia, so they are going to be calling us with cardiology's findings on his risk. I guess if they are confident he'll have as good a chance as any other pig, I will give them the go ahead. I am a nervous wreck, and I always am anytime I put any pig under. I've always considered Chester a special needs piggie because of his murmer, and chronic interstitial cystitis, and he's never been able to see too well, either. He has a sweet and funny but bizarre little personality. I owe it to him big time to do everything right for him.

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Post   » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:21 am

How's Chester?

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:32 pm

I'm sorry Chester is having such problems and you have been through so much lately. Please let us know what the cardiologist advised.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:27 pm

Hi everyone. Thank you for your concern.

Luckily Chester made it through everything ok. Whew! When I got the call that he had woken up from anasthesia, a humongous weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I have a feeling this post will be long; bear with me.

Basically, the cardiologists believe that the condition he has that causes the murmur, a ventricular septal defect, is not something that needs to be medicated at this time. They said he does not show signs of heart failiure, and only then would they prescribe medication. They also said that this defect has not become worse since his first ultrasound to diagnose it in early 2005, and that it is likely to not get any worse, although we should always keep an eye on his behavior and health to make sure. They said he did pretty well waking up from his anasthesia, and was doing ok while he was under. So it sounds like heart meds will never be prescribed for Chester unless anything drastic happens.

Chester had a CT scan of his head, and what we thought was an abscess turned out to be a benign lipoma, a tumor make of fat cells. They did a biopsy to ascertain it was not cancerous. They said it should not be causing any pain, but will most likely continue to grow. If it begins to interfere with his ability to eat because it's along the jaw line, we may need to have it surgically removed. Which is still scary because of the murmur, even despite their findings IMHO.

Chester's left eye is bulging because he is developing osseous material in his sclera. It's also causing a "scalloped" appearance on his iris, like the whites of his eye are eating into it. They said the bony material can deform the eye shape, but should not do any harm, and if it does happen to get worse in the future and cause a drastic bulging, they may recommend removal of the eye. It should not be affecting his vision or anything.

Here's a question for anyone that knows: what is the normal range for eye pressure in the guinea pig? They had an opthamologist looking at Chester. The pressure in his left eye with the osseous deposits was 17mmHg which they believed was in the normal range. His right eye, however, was only 6mmHG, which they thought was a little low. They didn't think this was of great concern, but this eye has always been a little weepy. They explained that there's not a lot of info for a normal range in guinea pigs and that their range is based on similar animals, like rabbits.

I personally still have some concerns they are supposed to call me to address. So much was happening yesterday, and I asked so many questions I forgot some. I still think that even if he woke up ok from anasthesia, that Chester seemed more lethargic when he got home, and still somewhat today moreso than our other pigs who have gone under anasthesia. I'm still a little worried that he isn't eating hard foods again yet, despite what they said was a perfect looking mouth and teeth. No problems with spurs, elongated roots, nothing. I don't know if this lipoma has already started bothering him, or if the Chlor he was on (we took him off it now) had begun to affect his appetite. I'll be watching him to see how he does. He's also still peeing a lot. I'm not sure if they took a blood test to see if he could have Cushings or diabetes, but as soon as they call me back I'll find out.

Chloramphenicol can't cause excessive peeing, can it? We've had 2 other pigs on it before and that never happened. It has been a little hot so maybe he's just drinking more and therefore peeing more?

You can quote me

Post   » Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:48 pm

I'm gonna guess he's drinking more and peeing more because it's hot, and he's done a lot of traveling and waiting where he didn't have water readily available to him. If he's mildly dehydrated, he's having the sense to catch up a little.

I've only had one experience with chlor, but it didn't cause excessive drinking or peeing.

I can only offer my supportive sigh (scream?) at the difficulty you've had getting a trial of heart medication. Please keep trying with your local vet; I doubt you'll ever have any success with UW. They're very, very good at what they're very, very good at, and completely closed-minded at the rest.

Your description of his recovery fits quite well with heart compromise. I'm glad he made it through okay.


Post   » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:40 pm

They said he does not show signs of heart
failiure, and only then would they prescribe medication.

Friggin idiots. The heart meds are to prevent or postpone heart failure. No human with a bad heart would go medless until he had heart failure. Humans with bad hearts and no symptoms are put on heart meds to remain symptomless.

Where the hell are their brains hiding?

Supporter in '13

Post   » Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:27 am

Hi guys. Long overdue update.

Pinta and Talishan, I can hear the frustration in your typing! I feel the same frustration. We are trying again with our local vet to get some heart meds. He has been doing some research on VIN and talking to another vet he knows that does cardiology. We also gave him Mum's vets' numbers and asked him to please call them and hear their opinion. It seems like everyone wants some kind of hard and fast evidence of a heart condition. (Or actual failure) If a loud murmer and slow recovery from anesthesia isn't enough evidence, I don't know what is. I hope we can get somewhere soon.

Anyway, a number of tests were done on Chester since our last update. We were concerned with the excessive peeing, so we had both urinalysis and blood tests done. Both came back normal, although they said the urinalysis may have had higher than normal calcium. I did not get the numbers from them yet, but would like to so I can share them. The excessive peeing stopped, but it's back again. I'll get to why I think it's back in a minute.

The good that came of the blood test was, we got one of the 2 vets we see locally to try the toenail clip method! He had never done it before and was very nice about trying it due to the concern with sedating Chester. We had bad luck getting it from a front toenail, but it worked great with the back toenail and capillary tubes. I hope that he will now try this option with other pig patients.

The bad news about the blood test was, somehow, poor Chester's toe got very swollen about a week after the nail was over-clipped. It looked obviously infected, but neither we nor the vet could get any pus to come out. Over about 3 weeks we tried Bactrim and Baytril which did nothing to reduce the swelling, but we started Chester on Chloramphenicol on Tuesday, and it's finally going down! It's not perfect, but it looks more like a toe again and less like a blob!

BUT. The excessive peeing and drinking is back. I remembered the last time this happened, I thought it was stress from all the crap they put him through at UW. But he had been on Chlor for a few days before that appointment because our local vets had thought the lump he had was a tooth root abscess and wanted to hit it with something fast. (It turned out to be the fatty lipoma.)

So, long story short, can Chloramphenicol have a side effect of excessive thirst or peeing? And can it cause any kind of kidney damage? It really seems to be causing this reaction in him, but his behavior, poops and other stuff seems fine.


Post   » Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:31 am


Check my [\post on this page for hard and fast evidence of heart diseasa and how elusive it can be.

No clue on the Chlor. I only know that it will work like a charm, or the pig will crash.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:35 am

In my experience, excessive drinking (which leads to excessive peeing) is caused by either pain or boredom - and most often pain. Of course, if it's really hot in his room he'll also drink more.

It's incredibly frustrating that your vets are waiting for heart failure before prescribing heart meds - and this makes, of course, no sense at all. However, you're obviously at the mercy of your vets on this one.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:23 am

Thanks for the ideas. We tried getting a hold of our vet Saturday, but when he finally called back, it was so much later than we expected, we somehow missed the call, and he had already gone home.

I'm almost certain it must be the Chloramphenicol causing Chester's excessive thirst/peeing. I know they can drink more due to pain, but there's nothing I can think of that would be causing any more pain to him now than what would have before he was getting the Chlor. And his behavior doesn't seem to indicate he's feeling bad. We've been giving him Metacam every other day in case his toe was sore and to see if it would help reduce inflammation. The crazy drinking and peeing only began a couple days after we began the Chlor.

His appetite is still ok, and his weight has held steady the last several days, so I don't think the Chlor is making him crash or destroying his appetite. It just seems like it's making him really thirsty. I really would hate to take him off it because it's the only thing that's reduced the swelling in his toe.

I hope we can get some answers tomorrow as to whether or not this is a possible side effect. We have had two other pigs on Chlor before and it did not affect them this way.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:23 pm

It has been far too long since we have visited the board or update this thread, but Mr. Capybara and I have some news on Chester, and are in need of advice.

I will try to keep it short and to the point, but I apologize if it gets long.

First of all, an update on the original topic of the thread--Chester's heart condition. Chester started getting a recurring runny nose that convinced our vet to let us do a trial of Enalapril. (All we could get at the time, which seemed better than nothing.) He had been on Bactrim for it several times, which would clear it up, but then it would come back. It seemed localized within the sinus--no congestion was ever heard in his chest, and cultures of the gunk from his nose never showed anything exciting.

Starting November 16 he was on 0.25 CC Enalapril once every other day for about 2 weeks. We didn't see much behavioral change although his runny nose seemed a little less worse. With our vet we decided to switch to 0.1 CC Enalapril once every day. During this time, Chester had 2 blood tests, none of which seemed to indicate any bad change to his kidneys. I only recently learned that only Creatinine was tested, but the vet felt there were no adverse affects.

Bad news is, early in December, Chester had blood in his urine. We thought it had to do with his interstitial cystitis he is on Polycitra for. He had not had blood in his urine for nearly 2 years. A vet visit confirmed a peppercorn sized bladder stone. Because of his heart murmur and other health problems, we and our vet felt that Chester is not the best surgery candidate. So we decided at that point to monitor this particular stone. Over the next several weeks, we continued with his 0.15 CC 2x daily Polycitra, added half a tablet of shilintong daily, lots of extra water syringes, and 0.15 Metacam every other day to try to limit the stone's growth and/or see if by some miracle he could pass it the way TWP's Sully did. No more blood showed up in his urine, but no miracle stone was passed either. We got another x-ray on January 7 and unfortunately there is now a second stone the same size as the first.

We decided with our vet that the Enalapril didn't seem to be making enough difference to continue using it, although he felt that it was unlikely the stones could have formed that fast by Enalapril affecting the kidneys. So Chester is off it right now while our vet wants to look into Lotensin. The runny nose seems to have gotten a little worse, but overall the Enalapril seemed to make little difference.

We are really not sure what to do. I feel in my gut like Chester may not survive a surgery. He's probably about five years old, with the heart murmur, and was slow to return to normal after anesthesia for a non-invasive cat scan. Just last night we noticed his eye with the osseous deposits in it has become blood red, like a blood vessel may have popped. The iris part of the eye looks cloudy. I'm scared the eye could be dying. We are trying to get him seen by an optometrist at UW ASAP. Seeing his poor eye just makes me feel sick.

I want to give him the best chance we can, but at the rate these stones have formed, I also feel like removing them might be a great risk if it all turns out to be futile. It seems so common for them to form over and over, like what happened with our Peppi last year and what I read about constantly here. I don't want to feel like we aren't giving him every chance, but I also have a great fear that the surgery will be too much a strain on his little body and we will either lose him during surgery or put him through pain that will be worse than if we just give him the best we can until the end.

Has anyone here had a heart pig or pig with multiple health concerns get through a surgery like this ok?

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:58 pm

He's probably about five years old, with the heart murmur, and was slow to return to normal after anesthesia for a non-invasive cat scan
Heart pigs are always very slow to return to normal after anesthesia if they're not on heart meds.

Do try and get him on Lotensin. 1mg/kg twice daily works for all my pigs.

I wouldn't put him under anesthesia without having him on heart meds.

I'm sorry you're facing so many difficulties with this boy.

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Post   » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:36 pm

You have my sympathy. I understand your reluctance to remove the stones surgically. Were you giving pain medication? Do you think it would help? Sorry I don't have answers to all your questions.

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