Not too much more with human trials that I can find (multiple sites covering same trial. This one is a trial conducted on cats with similar findings:
Today is a very lethargic day. I spent a good few hours trying to hand feed fluids because he hasn't been drinking enough on his own. He went down from 100+ml a day to 40ml. He would pretend to be interested in the water bottle and then turn away after a sip. Dandelion greens are still amazingly yummy and pellets are surprisingly appealing. I wonder why the sudden drop in fluid intake.
SubQs will be the next step if this keeps up. Sigh. I REALLY don't want to have to force more on him if I can help it.
- You can quote me
Also try syringing unflavored Pedialyte. Many pigs love this stuff (for reasons incomprehensible to me; if you haven't had kids, taste it. If you have, you know what I'm talking about ;-). If he likes it, put it, or a blend of water and Pedialyte, in his water bottle.
Pedialyte has no preservatives and is a mold factory. It can be kept in the fridge for 48 hours only (some GL members make ice cubes out of it to extend the useful life of the bottle). If you do end up putting it in his bottle, rinse and refill the bottle twice a day and change, bleach and clean the bottle *every two days* at a minimum.
PITA? You bet. Way less PITA than subcues, though.
No kids here but have had enough animals that I've ended up trying it. Blech. :P No harm in trying him on it, I guess!
Today we're full of it again and running around the living room and in general being kind of a nuisance (chewing on furniture and the like) Of course, I say that with the utmost love and satisfaction. :)
Brody's health had held steady for about two weeks with daily Benazepril doses in ears and diligent care. Bum cleaning, weighing and twice daily offering of water from syringes when he started to seem a little sunken, lots of greens when his tummy could handle it and vitamin supplements when it couldn't. He seemed to be doing well. The last week or so he's had a steady decline with a constant upset stomach, gas, soft stools, apathy and seeming depressed in general. He's not moving around much any more and drinking constantly. Today he had his first accident out of his cage since he was babe. Even now when I go to hold him he kind of stays hunched in his cage. When we cuddle he hunches and grinds his teeth. His head twitches to the side like he's in pain. He dozes all of the time, but restlessly.
Our follow up for how the Benazepril is working is this Saturday and unless the doctor has something amazing up his sleeve that he thinks could improve his quality of life it will probably be time to let go.
I hope that my sparse but still somewhat descriptive posts will help someone else care for their pig who has been diagnosed with Renal disease and will reassure them that there can be enough time left to enjoy your last days together with the help of a smart vet, medications and diligent care. Despite the difficult times I think it's definitely true that time spent caring for your pet can bring you even closer together.
Some people, even people I greatly respect in my life, believe that animals are not capable of conscious and organized thought beyond what their instincts tell them. I don't have enough recorded evidence to prove anyone wrong. But just sitting with Brody curled up next to my chin, I know he knows I would go to the end of the Earth to make him feel better. And just knowing he knows that makes it OK.
A special thanks to everyone who helped me along on my travels to the end of the Earth.
Love armoftheland and Brodus
He can't go to the bathroom well, he is so stiff he can barely move and he's hardly interested in life any longer. He isn't even interested in me, it's more and more that I touch him or talk to him and he turns away and grinds his teeth. The only thing he is interested in is his favourite dandelion greens which then makes his tummy upset and gassy, and even when he's interested he seems to only pick at them.
He's down to 1lb 2.5oz. When I went to the vet Saturday he agreed it was nearing "that time" mainly due to the weight loss. My guess would be the lack of cecal pellets and the supplements just not cutting it, but who knows. It could be an underlying issue. Fact of the matter is we've exhausted the benazepril. It slowed things down but he spaces out. You can tell it's not much longer anyway.
I think that Talishan makes an excellent point of pain medication and to any one else I highly encourage you to consider this, but for us I think although it may ease the pain superficially the quality of life is so low that it's better to just say good bye.
It's been a harder road to take than I thought.
Our appointment is Thursday night. I took the day off work to spend it with him. We'll walk to the vet together and breathe fresh clean air, eat fresh clean grass and say good bye.
I know I made the right decision at the right time, deep down. The vet said that although the Benazepril had slowed things down his body was really starting to shut down; his diarrhea (which he had all night and all day with me) was most likely the cause of liver issues beginning, and his heart beat was beginning to be irregular. He had also been drinking, quite literally non-stop. I mean every five minutes for ten minutes of drinking, and he was still eating voraciously, though losing weight rapidly (he lost another oz during the last 24 hours with the diarrhea despite eating greens like a lawnmower). This is the hardest part of kidney failure: that all sorts of horrible things start happening that make you question your decision and diagnoses, because everything else starts to go awry in your pig's body. For a long time I thought perhaps there was an infection that I had somehow missed that was causing diarrhea and the diarrhea caused the kidney failure. This of course was not the case, just the relentless second guessing of guilt and blame and the decision for euthanasia. Unfortunately we weren't able to walk out of the doctor's office with one last hope in a bottle.
For anyone with a pig with renal failure it is so important to use what's available to you and your pig and judge harshly what is right for you personally. Never do something that you believe will cause greater stress than good to your pig, because unfortunately the goal is to increase quality of life for as long as possible. Do what you can, but when there is nothing left, never blame yourself. Learn all you can about the disease so you can rest your mind knowing you've made informed decisions. Enjoy every moment, even the hard ones, and make it count. I was so lucky to have a fighter pig, we had a lot of good times together after the initial symptoms presented and we grew even closer, despite not always feeling up to par.
Brody passed this afternoon. My vet uses anesthetic so I was not able to be with him when he was euthanized. It was the hardest thing to do, to hand him over to the vet knowing I would never see him again. When I handed him over he squeaked and looked at me as the vet left for the door, like "What? Mom, you ALWAYS hold me at the vets. What's going to happen to me??" It literally broke my heart. I have never had such a conflict of heart and mind. When the vet brought him back in for me to spend some time with him all of his pink toes were white.
I'll be posting pictures and an obituary of sorts in the appropriate board later in honor of Brody and our time together. I will be around as I have another pig who will warrant his own health thread shortly. Any one who has a question is welcome to contact me privately so feel free to close Brody's thread.
RIP Brodus my Grandpa Pig