Valentine, convulsing during subcue

You are my sunshine

Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:37 pm

We took our senior pig, Valentine, to the vet this past week because of blood in her urine. X-ray showed two bladder stones. One larger stone high up in the bladder and a small one at the tip of the urethra. There was also fluid in the lung area and the doctor said that was the beginning of congestive heart failure.

She was previously diagnosed with an enlarged heart and large arthritis spurs and has been on 0.15 metacam once a day and 0.5 Lotensin twice a day. She had been doing great.

She was sent home with septra (for the blood in urine) and lasix (for the fluids) and told to give subcues to try and flush the stone out.

The first time we gave her the subcue she began convulsing so we stopped and she continued to convulse for at least 5 minutes. We rushed her to the vet and by the time they saw her she was stable. They did another x-ray and the stone is still there however the fluid in her lung area was much less.

We were told to try the subcue again. We tried it the following day and she began convulsing again so we immediately stopped.

Has anyone heard of a pig convulsing during a subcue? If so what are the causes?

Even though she eats her greens, hay, and a small amount of pellets, she was slowly losing weight so for about 6 months we have been supplementing her with Critical Care twice a day.

Also, do you think she is a candidate for surgery? It would be to pluck out the stone not major stone removal.

What could happen if one elects not to do surgery because of the risks?

I have an appointment at the vet this afternoon.

She is such a happy girl, full of personality, purring, and generally enjoying life. I don't know if we should just let things be as they are or take a chance on surgery. I don't know the real ramifications of leaving the stone where it is.

Of course, if she would just pass the stone that would be wonderful.

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Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:04 pm

Was the injection fluid body temperature? Say about 98 degrees F? If it were particularly cold or too hot, there might be convulsions.

If she is in good health, surgery might be an option. If there are heart problems, this could complicate things. Ask your vet what you think.

Yes, it would be great if she could pass the stone. The risks of no surgery are blocking the urethra, thickening of the bladder, irritation to the bladder wall, increased possibility of a UTI.

You are my sunshine

Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:10 pm

Yes, the injection fluid was "baby bottle warm" per Mum's coaching.

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Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:19 pm

Good luck. I'd be hesitant to put her under if she has heart issues and her age too, but hard to make that call.

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Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:27 pm

What gauge needle did you use?

You are my sunshine

Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:30 pm

The first time it was a 22 and the second time it was 25.

Yes, this is a very difficult call because of her age and heart issues.

You are my sunshine

Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:13 pm

Back from the vet. The decision was made for me. No surgery because of her heart issues.

No more subcues but to keep her as hydrated as we can with the hope that she passes this on her own.

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Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:19 pm

Pigginess - did the vet have any ideas as to why she was seizing with the subcues?

I know you had the right size needles and had the fluid warmed correctly, so it would be really interesting to know why this happened.

Poor little Valentine. I do hope she's able to pass that stone by herself.

If you haven't had any answers from the vet, you might considering emailing Josephine and seeing if she has any ideas about the seizing.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:20 pm

Pigginess, there is a good chance you're running it to fast. That would be my guess. Fingers crossed for Valentine.

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Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:24 pm

HollyT, she was using a 25 gauge butterfly needle, and in my experience you can't get it in too fast with such a tiny gauge.

Or perhaps you can?

I believe both times this happened at about 15ccs. Also, the office sent her home with sodium chloride 9% (or something like that). They didn't want to give Lactated Ringers because of her CHF and the extra potassium in the LR.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:36 pm

Don't know about the gauge. I suppose if you pushed too fast it wouldn't matter but don't know if that was the case either. I find 15cc's to be sufficient so that is usually my max amount.

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Post   » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:43 pm

Sebastian seized once when I was giving subcues (it looked like hiccups, and it kept up right until we pulled into the vet's office--then he was fine). We weren't sure what happened, but the best guess was that I had either given it too fast (it was a 22-gauge needle) OR that I had somehow hit a nerve. I had given it between the shoulder blades, and never had the courage to try it there again.

Here's hoping she passes the stone and feels better soon.

You are my sunshine

Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:20 am

Mum, the vet and I discussed in great detail exactly how I gave the subcue. He had no explanation for the convulsing.

HollyT, I'm certain it wasn't too fast. It seemed very slow to me and much slower than the subcues that I've seen others give.

sef1268, we were giving them between the shoulder blades too, perhaps there's a nerve there or something.

I'm now giving her oral fluids. 50/50 unflavored pedialyte and H2O with a 10 cc syringe. She has taken 25 cc's throughout the day. I'm using the pedialyte because she loves the flavor and will drink more.

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Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:44 am

I wonder if stress can trigger some pigs to seize?

I say this because I saw something similar happen with my previous pig at the vets once.

She was ill and we were at the vets. The vet was holding her and overclipped a nail(accidentally) and Meenie started doing this weird motion with her head and twitching her body repeatedly. It lasted for about 30 seconds. I'm pretty sure it was a seizure. The vet was a bit concerned and asked if I'd ever seen her do that before. I hadn't.

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Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:00 am

I've seen that reaction twice. Once was when Sophie got an antibiotic shot. At first the vet wasn't alarmed and said it would stop but it didn't. He then seemed to panic and we put her into an incubator with oxygen. She was kept overnight and was fine the next day.

The other time was when I brought Angel to the vet and they were instructing me how to give her a subcue. When they put the needle in she started jerking her body back and forth and I made them stop. The vet told me to just syringe her extra water.

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Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:01 am

Pigginess -- you might try in the hip next time.

I wondered, too, if stress might be a factor. The one time that Sebastian reacted that way to the subcue, my husband was holding him and fussing at me about "hurting him." I was stressed, my husband was stressed, and I'm sure Bassy was doubly stressed.

After that, I did the subcues by myself.

You are my sunshine

Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:19 am

Thanks for your responses everyone. It helps to know that we are not completely alone with this reaction. Sure would be nice to know why this happens.

I'm sure stress is a factor. However, my husband used to do marine biology research. He's taken dozens of blood samples from sharks so he was pretty comfortable with doing a subcue.

I think we will continue syringing extra water and not try another subcue.

Thanks for the good wishes for Valentine. She's a very special girl and we love her so much.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:39 am

I am sure it is pain/stress causing that reaction. Sometimes it is a challenge to get them quiet. I like to wrap them in a snuggly cosy or towel so they can't move much an feel more secure.

Mum, it's 0.9%. That's isotonic. It's a good number to remember, if you can.

If you can get enough Pedialyte and oral fluids in, that is certainly the next best thing. Hydration is key.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:32 am

Thanks Josephine - that's good to know.

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Post   » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:40 am

I've had 2 pigs pass stones without subcues, but I did pretty constant water syringings.

Good luck Valentine!

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