Bordetella - URGENT


Post   » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:24 am

Yes, since you've started--finish the course. Clearly, there was some sort of finding of bacteria, even if type can't be pinned down.

Hopefully, the ab's will help keep them healthy.

A GI issue does make more sense to me in a sudden, hours-long only decline, as you described.

A respiratory illness would give a bit more time for observant caregivers like you to react--GI things they can go into shock and die very suddenly.

The "bloat" itself may have been post-mortem, but that doesn't mean she wasn't shutting down/producing toxins in her GI tract beforehand.

I agree on necropsies often being very frustrating.


Post   » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:32 am

I am having vague memories of Dr. Swenson at KSU saying that they usually can't get bacteria extracted during a necropsy to grow because...the body has already been preserved?

I'm sorry you lost your pig. I am hoping the rest of your herd is safe. Kennel cough swooped through Emporia a couple of years ago, and our vet here said that it spread really easily and quickly.

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Post   » Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:18 am

I'd continue the abs. A year ago, something killed half of my heard. TO this day, I have no idea what that thing was. All of the pigs were sudden, and the end very different. One of them, blew up like a balloon, the others did not. My 2 survivors were put on Doxy, and they are still here today.


Post   » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:00 am

Exactly what were the symptoms and did they send the heart tissues out to the lab?

A real relief it wasn't Bordetella.

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GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:39 am

Maybe she had something very subtle to see like interstitial pneumonia?

Cuddles appeared fine and symptomless until her lung blew out, and she died just over 12 hours later. They didn't know what happened with her, either, just that she had inflammation in her lung, one had blown out, and the other was full of fluid, but that was probably from the stress of having one lung.

I give

Post   » Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:19 am

About six hours before she died, she appeared a little sluggish, and not quite herself, but she did eat some cucumber and hay. 6 hours later when I came to see them in the morning, her sides were heaving in and out, and she was obviously in some kind of respiratory distress, although what I may have been seeing is the "death gasps" I have read about on this board. Minutes later she was gone.

I do not know how many of those hours she had the labored breathing or if there were any other symptoms during that time, I was asleep. She had not lost weight, no crusty eyes or nose, no hardness to her belly, squishy like it should be. My husband remarked how healthy she looked when he viewed her body after she passed. It just didn't make sense.

Sadly, I don't think they were as thorough as I would have liked on the necropsy, and now it is too late. I will get a report next week, but from what the doctor remembered, it didn't sound like any tissues were taken even though I said to do whatever it takes.

I am continuing with the AB's for the others.


Post   » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:40 am

I've lost a pig that suddenly to torsion(?)(true bloat). She just slowed down and was decidedly not right.

A heart attack could kill a pig that fast. I wish vets would be sure before they declare a diagnosis.

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Post   » Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:20 pm

I have had no luck at all with necropsies and I've had four done. I don't know if I will do another. Perhaps if my vets did as good a job as some necropsies I've seen posted here, but they don't. Very frustrating to pay that kind of money and not get any real answers. The first 'may' have shown pyometra. The second was 'perhaps a heart attack'. The third and fourth were completely unknown causes of death (the third was probably sepsis based on her illness prior and the fourth was, in my humble opinion, vet error pre-op when he tried unsuccessfully to intubate a 6 month old sow prior to her spay). I am sorry you are going through this. I hope your remaining pigs stay healthy.

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Post   » Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:42 pm

mkkayla, for what it's worth, I do think some kinds of illnesses you just won't get a definitive answer for. I know it's frustrating. More like knowing when you find a broken leg (i.e. something obvious, like large tumors).

I give

Post   » Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:05 am

I thought I would post the final report I got today regarding Tiffany's necropsy. Seems there was much miscommunication in my early talks with the doctors.

But anyway, Tiffany had a lot of things wrong with her, and I don't fully understand all of this report to say what actually killed her. I will say, she never showed the classic signs of ovarian cysts (never thin in the shoulders, never lost hair, never too aggressive, and at 2.8 lbs, a chubby, well formed girl). I guess all this hid the cysts.

And, if she was bloated, and suffering from liver failure, it all must have happened very fast, because I'm a very doting cavy mom, and can't believe I could have missed it. She was wheeking for food the day prior to her death, and seemed to tear into the food. I'm glad she didn't seem to be in much pain until the very end. Poor girl.

This is very long. But I thought it might be useful. See next post.

I give

Post   » Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:06 am


Final Report
Date of Death: 08/27/2007
Date of Report: 09/07/2007

Gastric dilatation
Cystic ovaries
Moderate segmental nephrosclerosis
Moderate hepatic lipidosis
Mild to moderate bronchopneumonia
Focal mild epicarditis


The most likely cause of Tiffany’s death was the gastric dilation (bloat). There was no evidence of a gastrointestinal impaction to cause the gastric dilatation, but decreased intestinal motility can result in the same disease. There was no definitive evidence of Bordetella bronchispetica on aerobic culture of the lung. There were no bacteria isolated on aerobic culture of the lung. Staphylococcus species (most likely a contaminant) was isolated from the liver. Bacterial bronchopneumonia, such as in this case, can be caused by many different bacteria. Cystic ovaries and the lesions in the kidneys (nephrosclerosis) are common findings in older guinea pigs. The kidney lesions may or may not have been clinically significant. Hepatic lipidosis can be seen when an animal is not consuming enough energy to meet its energy demands. The epicarditis in the heart was most likely not clinically significant.

Necropsy Findings

The guinea pig was in good body condition with mild post mortem decomposition. The thoracic cavity had about 2 ml of light brown fluid. The pericardial sac was full of blood, but no obvious origin of the blood was determined.

The cranial ventral lung fields contained areas which were dark red to purple, firm and consolidated. The affected lung comprised approximately 30% of the total lung fields.

The liver was enlarged and had a diffusely pale tan, rough, irregular, and granular appearance. Areas of the caudal surface appeared black and necrotic.

The stomach was severely gas distended and the serosal surface was dark red to black.

The kidneys were pitted and had a diffusely light, irregular, and granular appearance. There were pale tan streaks and small cystic structures, possibly coinciding with the glomeruli in the cortex of the kidney.

Both ovaries contained large (1-2 cm) thin walled cystic structures. About three were noted in the left ovary and two on the right.

These tissues were examined and determined to be grossly normal: small intestine, spleen, adrenal glands, skin, diaphragm, bladder, and uterus.

Histopathologic Description

Kidney: There are multiple linear bands of interstitial fibrosis with infiltrates of small numbers of lymphocytes and plasma cells that extend from the corticomdedullary junctions of the capsular surface. Within these bands of interstitial fibrosis, the cortical tubules are widely separated and the glomeruli are close together. Bowman’s capsule of these glomeruli is often thickened by eoosinophilic material. Bowman’s space of the affected glomeruli is often cystically dilated by eosinophilic proteinaceous material. The affected glomeruli are often hypocellular and shrunken with thickening of the mesangium and capillary basement membranes by eosinophilic material. The cortical and medullary tubules associated with the affected areas often contain eosinophilic proteinaceous material.

Liver: Diffusely, the hepatocytes are swollen by single to multiple clear cytoplasmic lipid vacuoles that displace the nucleus to one side. There are a few foci of necrosis and hepatocellular loss filled with hemorrhage, fibrin, and granulation tissue.

Lungs: The lung is congested and edematous. Many alveoli contain moderate numbers of neutrophilis and alveolar macrophages.

Heart: The epicardium contains a small focus of lymphocytes and lesser number of plasma cells and neutrophilis.

There are no significant microscopic lesions in the spleen, heart, small intestine, large intestine, or adrenal glands.

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Post   » Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:07 am

Thank you for sharing this with us.
I do not think cystic ovaries are unusual. I would expect they would only be a cause of death if they had been extremely enlarged and burst and/or somehow became infected.
I fear many guinea pigs will show bloat post mortem because the food left in the stomache would immediately start to decompose and could cause a gas buildup, perhaps unrelated to any possibility of bloat while the guinea pig was alive.

Hopefully Josephine will have an opportunity to look at your report and add something (she is far, far more knowledgeable than I am).

Get on your bike.

Post   » Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:05 pm

I actually think the bloat might make sense. I often wonder if cysts on the ovaries affect the gastric mobility like I've read in humans. I don't think there is any science to back that up but women wonder if their cysts are causing gastric problems too and many concur. When Mickey had his necropsy vet said his belly was full of food but bloat wasn't an issue (post mortem) and it does say something about Tiffany's decomposition being minor. Maybe it happened really fast? Anyway, I am sorry.


Post   » Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:10 pm

I have to say, that is a FAR superior necropsy than what I am able to obtain around here.

I understand it is still frustrating and we always want one clear-cut answer, but it looks like, other than with histopathology, that's about as thorough a report as you could get.

I have to say my gut reaction in reading the whole thing and thinking about the overall picture is *heart.*

That necropsy is very similar to the one on my horse--his liver, lung and kidney findings were almost identical--and it was explained to me by the University of Kentucky vets that the other organ failures start cascading due to the compromised heart function.

I'll be interested to hear what Josephine thinks. Hope she gets a chance to read and comment.

In any case, I think this report can give you peace of mind that it was her time to go, and that you did all you could.

I give

Post   » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:24 am

Klynne, did your horse have a sudden heart attack, or more of a gradual thing like congestive heart failure, enlarged heart, etc.?

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:04 pm

Based on that report and knowing what I know about cavies, I would suspect the problems in this order to be significant and cause of death:

1. Bronchopneumonia (lung infection)
2. Hepatic lipidosis
3. GI stasis

I would think that the heart, kidneys, and ovaries to be more or less incidental findings. Once an infection starts up, a cavy eats less, this sets up the hepatic lipidosis which then progresses to a deadly GI stasis. Unfortunately, very common progression of events in an ill cavy. If their GI tract shuts down, it is certain death.

Sorry for your loss. I hope having answers helps somewhat.


Post   » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:55 pm

Getshelly, he died under anesthesia, while being gelded.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:00 pm

Thanks so very much for posting this - at least you have some answers now.

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GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:10 pm

What would you say the blood in the pericardial sac might signify, Josephine?

It's interesting that the liver had necrotic patches. I don't believe Doom's (enormous, fatty, seizure-making) liver had necrotic patches on necropsy.

I give

Post   » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:42 pm

Josephine, thank you for giving me your opinion. I guess I hoped that I hadn't missed something obvious, but it sounds like I may have. How long does pneumonia (lung infection) take to set in? Can it be very quick?

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