Wonderful record keeping on your part. This is so helpful and I find myself going back to previous medical threads/posts of mine when wanting to look for a pattern or answers. Or when I am just wondering.
I'm so sorry this is happening. It sounds like you are trying everything. We could be writing duplicate posts here. :(
Angie, I had the water and/or water bottle thought as well and have been scrubbing out the water bottle daily. Also, my girls all get filtered water so I've pretty much ruled that out.
Thinking of you guys, Ech, and hoping you see some improvement.
- Supporter in '13
I have been giving her the kyodophilus 2-3 hours after each dose of Flagyl daily. Also, she has been getting only 1 leaf of romaine lettuce and about 1/2 cup of green and red leaf lettuce daily for the past several weeks. After she is done with this last course of Flagyl in about a week and a half (next Wednesday, the 28th), I am going to take her back to the vet and have a fecal culture done. Still, I am not holding my breath that the culture will provide some sort of miraculous insight, as Topaz said that it did not come up with anything for her Zoey (Buttercup and Zoey have very similar issues).
I have been wary about adding anything new to her diet, but at this point I doubt that the corn husks can do much to hurt. I will let you know how the corn husks go and start to keep records once more.
I've just posted an update in her thread.
Good thoughts for you guys. You know I can certainly empathize. I just wish I had advice or an answer for you(and me).
- Supporter in '13
I sent my boyfriend to the grocery store and he came back empty handed, saying that not only did he not see any corn with husks attached, but he did not see any corn in the fresh produce section at all! I am somewhat doubting his grocery shopping abilities at the moment (how can they not sell corn?!) and am going to go check myself later on.
And yet another day goes by...
- Supporter in '13
I stayed out in the living room last night so that I could be nearer to their cage and be able to keep a closer eye on Buttercup. I could barely sleep at all, feeling so horrible every time that I heard her squeak and poo in pain. The squeaking seemed to be occuring much more frequently and much more loudly, which you can see in this video.
It is so sad seeing her little ears flap up and down as she is straining her body.
After what I had witnessed last night, I emailed her vet this morning to ask what we should do. I am bringing her in to see him tomorrow and she is actually going to be a "day case" (I drop her off around 8AM and pick her sometime in the afternoon) - I think this is so that the doctors have more time to observe her and see with their own eyes what is going on.
Her vet wrote to me:
I emailed him back asking how much he thought everything would cost and if he wanted me to bring in a stool sample so that he could run a fecal culture, and he responded:I think the next step in the process would be doing bloodwork or radiographs to assess what is going on. I think the radiographs may give us a good indication if there is anything structurally going on with her pelvis, like a narrowing of the pelvis that is making it more difficult for her to defecate, or if she has a bladder stone that is making it difficult/painful for her to urinate or defecate.
So, I guess the good news is that she is going in again tomorrow and we might finally get some answers. The bad news is that, at the moment, Buttercup isn't doing very well. We will see how things go tomorrow, I guess.The appointment for tomorrow would be $65 plus $20 for the cost of staying the day (for food, nursing care, etc.) If you brought another fecal sample, I could check it again for free to check for parasites since it would be a recheck. I am not sure how much the culture would end up being. The cost of the bloodwork is about $200, and the rads are about $200. If I had to chose which one to do first, I would pick the rads, just since she is so small I would want to make sure we weren't dealing with any major abnormalities to begin with. We can discuss what we should do tomorrow morning.
- Supporter in '13
Got back at around 8:30 but it took me forever to write this all up. Basically her vet said:
Buttercup’s size is very odd for her age, not even so much in terms of her weight but just the fact that she is so compact. The radiographs will let us know there are any bone abnormalities that can’t be felt when palpating her, for example, if her pelvis is abnormally narrow. This might make it difficult for her to defecate because it is going through a smaller hole, and the feces might have to compress and be the softer in order to pass through.
Also, the radiographs would show if she possibly has a bladder stone. Sometimes stones can be big enough that they press a little bit on the colon and the feces but that doesn’t happen very frequently – it would more likely be responsible for the pain response that she has when trying to go to the bathroom. They are also going to start her on a pain medication today.
If she does have a pelvic abnormality or some issue with her bones, they would preferably put her on pain medications for the rest of her life. The goal would be making her more comfortable.
He told me that I should finish this last week of Flagyl, but we can rule out any bacterial issues that the Flagyl would have gotten under control. He is going to send up a sample up to parasitology to have them recheck it for free, and he is also going to check with the microbiology lab about doing a fecal culture, but at this point I don’t think that he thinks it is a bacterial issue. Usually, if there is a different set of bacteria or there is something really wrong with the bacteria in the gut, the animal will have almost liquid diarrhea and will end up getting very sick and dying pretty quickly from that; Buttercup, on the other hand, has more of a soft, irregular stool. Other than when she is going to the bathroom and seems to be in distress, whatever she has doesn’t really seem to affect her systemically, which is a bit odd.
The bloodwork would show if she has any changes to her liver, kidneys, white and red blood cell count that make it irregular. If it shows that there is something wrong with them, then we could start thinking if her symptoms are because she has some sort of liver or kidney issue.
He is going to start off with the radiographs and then call me later in the morning, and we will talk about doing the bloodwork from there.
It sounds like the best case scenario would be that she has a bladder stone because that at least is treatable, but it isn't likely that this is what she has. If she has some sort of structural abnormality with her bones, there is nothing we can do to treat the symptoms and it would pretty much just be pain management for the rest of her life. If she has some sort of liver or kidney issue - well, I don't really know because we didn't talk very much about what the outcome for that would be, but I don't know if that would be treatable?
This is all so much to take in right now and I am very anxious to hear back from him. Piggy looks anxious too, walking back and forth in her cage and looking up at me quizzically, as if to say, "What's going on? Where is my sister?" Maybe she is just confused. I will let you know as soon as he calls me.
[Removed multi-paragraph bolding. Please don't bold large sections - it makes your post hard to read - Lynx]
What the vet says makes a lot of sense. I do have to say that while the pain on defecation definitely can be associated with stones, I do not recall soft poops being associated with stones.
You should learn valuable info from the tests. I sure hope it helps you in your quest to deal with the pain.
- Supporter in '13
Sorry if this isn't as thorough or maybe doesn't make as much sense as my earlier post from today. I was on my way over to student health when Buttercup's vet called (yes, I have a sinus infection on top of all this), so I couldn't hyper-focus and concentrate solely on what he was saying.
They did the radiographs - her bone structure, pelvis, etc were all normal, however, there appeared to be some sort of mass or "bump" in her colon. Since the radiograph only gives a 2-D image of her body, they were also looking at all of her internal organs, which show up as the same color as the mass would be, but they thought they saw something.
Since it was so hard for them to discern what they were looking at in the first set of radiographs, they were going to do a second set of radiographs but this time pump air into her colon first. I think this had something to do with helping them see better but I don't remember exactly what he said.
Another option would be to do a CT, which would provide full 3-D imaging of her body but would require her to be fully sedated. He recommended doing the second radiograph first.
I gave him the OKAY to do the second radiograph with air pumped into the colon, but then he called me back a few minutes later and said that he had talked to some of his colleagues and it might be more useful to do a sonogram instead. Something about they would be able to get a better image of the possible mass and how it differs from the surrounding normal tissue. If it turns out that they can see from the ultrasound that the mass is in an accessible place, they might use a very tiny needle to try to express it and get some cells from it that they would be able to test to see what kind of a mass it is. However, he did not think that this would be likely.
If the sonogram does confirm that there is a mass or "bump," if it is partially blocking her colon that would explain why she has trouble passing stools. That would also account for her gassiness and foul smelling stools - if something is obstructing her colon and her stools are remaining in their longer than they would be normally, they would have more time to fester and produce bad smelling bacteria, gas, etc.
If this is all due to the presence of a mass, I asked him how could be possible that her poops occasionally seem to be doing better, some days even looking completely normal. He said that depending on the nature of the mass, it could almost be like a sore on somebody's mouth - some days the sore will be less inflamed and it will be easier for them to talk and eat, while other days it is much more prominent and they might only be able to barely open their mouths.
Also, he said that when she was mildly sedated for the radiographs, they put her on her back and lightly touched her abdominal area and a long string of stool came out, as if it had been being obstructed by something. This supports their theory about the mass, but they have to do the sonogram to confirm.
He is still waiting for parasitology to get back to him about the recheck of her fecal float. I asked him if he was going to do a fecal culture and he said that he doesn't know how useful it will be. The culture will most likely grow a whole bunch of bacteria and they don't have much to compare it to because the lab mostly does cultures on cat and dog feces. However, he is going to do a fecal smear...something about gram negative or positive bacteria and clostridium, but I don't remember.
I am so anxious for him to call me back. I'm still just trying to process everything and figure out what it means. Ahhhh
As you know my piggy is having a very similar problem. For a few months now, she is sqeaking while pooping, and her poops are mishapen and soft. I have done an x-ray, ultrasound, and a fecal float. We also had her on Baytril for a UTI.
I went to the vet again yesterday, and I mentioned to her that I have read about a few other people having a similar problem. She though it would be good to find out if your piggies are female and if they are spayed (mine is not).
She is wondering if the cycles (more pain, then less pain, better shaped poops, then worse shaped poops) could have something to do with the female hormones acting up.
Are your piggies spayed?
- Supporter in '13
The ultrasound did not show a mass or anything constricting Buttercup’s colon, and what they saw in the radiographs was likely just a lot of feces in her colon. They don’t see anything structurally or mechanically that is causing an issue; it is possible that it is something in the nerves or some sort of inflammation that is causing her pain when going to the bathroom.
So, the current plan is to start her on pain medication and see if that helps at all. If not, when she goes in for a recheck next week, we will do bloodwork to see if we can start her on an anti-inflammatory medication.
It’s possible that there is something farther up in her GI tract that is causing her to not really absorb a lot of the food and nutrients that she is taking in. There could be a genetic reason that she is not producing a lot of the enzymes and other things needed to absorb vitamins in her GI tract appropriately, and it could be some sort of endocrine issue where she’s not processing everything correctly, which would make sense with her being smaller and her growth stunted compared to other pigs.
They see something similar to that a lot of times in cats – where they have a B12 deficiency because their body is not able to absorb it completely, and they start having softer stools, diarrhea, etc. So, he has given her a shot of vitamin B12, which will last in her system for about 2 weeks. If we see her responding a little bit over the next week with improvement in her stools, then we will continue it for another cycle to see if it is really helping.
They had the ophthalmologist look at Buttercup’s eyes and found that she has cataracts growing in both eyes. There are only a few things that really cause cataracts in younger animals: endocrine diseases, such as diabetes, or some sort of congenital issue. Given her age, he is leaning more towards some sort of congenital or genetic component that she has had since birth, but it is hard to piece out exactly what is going on. For now the cataracts don’t seem to be affecting her vision or causing any other issues, but it is something we should keep an eye on in the future.
I have extremely bad news about Piggy. She is now having soft stools as well. Seriously. I had suspicions that she was having them yesterday but I couldn't be sure and wanted *so* badly for them to be Buttercup's. Well, Buttercup was at the vet all day and there were still fresh, mushy poos being laid in the cage, so I know 100% that they are Piggy's. I don't know why this is happening. There have been no new changes to the diet, no excess veggies, no changes at all. It is like someone is playing a sick joke on me. Ugh.