- Supporter in '13
Lynx - I think that the blood tests would show if there was anything wrong with her liver or kidneys, but I don't know if the liver or kidneys have anything to do with things being absorbed properly. Her coat of hair is so silky and shiny (in fact, I've wondered before if she is a Silkie breed of guinea pig? Her coat is just so much silkier and shinier than Piggy's, whose coat is very matte and a little bit more coarse). Other than her poo issues and newly discovered cataracts, she looks very healthy. I think that is part of the reason why her vets are so confused by her case.
To add to the confusion...this morning everyone's (both Piggy's and Buttercup's) stools were normal! I don't know what is going on. I don't want to jinx it because this has happened before and her poos have gone back to being their normal, awful selves the very next day, but could this be the vitamin B12 shot working? And maybe Piggy's brief bout of soft stool was completely unrelated to her? Who knows at this point.
Here is Buttercup laying next to a perfect stool that she produced.
- Supporter in '13
Buttercup had good poos all day on Thursday, mushy misshapen ones on Friday, and good ones again on Saturday. Additionally, the Tramadol seems to be helping somewhat. Although I still see her straining and squeaking while passing stool, it seems to be less frequently and with less intensity than before. There were even a few times that I saw a nice, normal looking poo slip out of her butt so effortlessly as she was walking around. It is a rare occurrence, but I have seen her do this a few times. This only happens on the days that she has good stools. However, there have still been some loud squeaks and large strains/ear flapping while pooing over the past few days.
Since you first saw her on February 15th, I have kept track of all of the days that she has had good stools. They are 2/20, 2/25, 2/27, 3/02, 3/07, 3/22, and 3/24. On these days, every single stool is completely normal looking both in shape and size. They might be the tiniest bit soft, but they are drastically firmer than her usual stools. She seems to be in less pain.
Each time the good stools last for only for one day, never any longer. There is never any transition, either at the onset or offset. On the good stool days her stools are all good; on the bad stool days her stools are all bad. There's no in between. These good stool days just confound me.
I think that I have to bring Piggy back in as well. She has a very small amount of hair loss underneath her left eye, and I fear that it is because whatever is on her nose has spread. When I bring Buttercup in next week, do you think it would be better to have her be a day case instead? If not, I am going to try to schedule Piggy's appointment either for directly before or directly after hers.
It will be interesting to see what he writes back.
My Zoey has been having lovely poos for the past few days again. *furiously knocks wood* Perfect little things, they are. Just like a "normal" pig! I can pick them right up and throw them away. NO mush. It's so strange how happy a nice poo can make you feel after what we've been going through, isn't it??
Don't know how or why things are looking so good, but I don't care...just glad to see it!
More good thoughts being sent for you guys.
- Supporter in '13
It started last weekend. It was very warm outside and campus housing had not yet turned on the air conditioning. I decided to open up a window even though none of the windows have screens in them. I figured that bugs wouldn't be a problem because I live high up on the 18th floor. That night I noticed a fly in my room. This was the first time there had ever been a fly in my room all year, I figured that its appearance had to be related to my opening the window earlier in the day. I decided to never open the window again.
There was only that one little fly. It took me a few days to finally kill it, but I felt very satisfied once it was done. I figured that was it.
Two days later there was another little fly flying around. I had no idea where a second fly could have come from. I convinced myself that the first fly had somehow revived itself and come back to life. I was able to kill the fly pretty quickly this time, and once again I thought that there would be no more flies.
This has basically repeated itself 3 more times. I will see one single fly. During the day or so it takes me to kill it, it is the only fly I see. Once it is dead, I think that I am fly free. Anywhere from a hours to a few days later, another one will reappear. By now I realize that this is not the first fly being reincarnated a million times, but I don't know where they are coming from. There isn't a huge infestation of them - I only see them one at a time.
I have been telling myself that seeing one fly every few days isn't that big of a problem, and it wouldn't be, if it were just me. However, today I saw a fly actually inside the guinea pig cage, sitting on top of a piece of hay. I looked up "flies near guinea pigs" on google and something came up about flystrike. I almost threw up. I am now panicking. I can deal with many things but there are three things that just fill me with sheer terror: external and internal parasites, worms, and maggots. Flystrike is like all three phobias combined. It is my worst nightmare.
If Piggy or Buttercup were to get flystrike, I would not be able to handle it. I already feel like I am barely keeping my head above water with the diarrhea and fungus. Flystrike cannot occur. I would literally shut down. I am trying to take deep breaths and calm myself, but I cannot get that image of flystrike out of my head. It is so upsetting. I need someone to reassure me that either that flystrike will not occur or how to prevent it. I need someone to tell me that these flies are not my fault and that it's not because I don't keep their cage clean enough. I need someone to tell me that I can handle all of these illnesses because I've been increasingly feeling that I can't. Lastly, I need someone to tell me that I do take good care of Piggy and Buttercup, because sometimes it feels like their problems are all my fault. I would ask my vet to tell me all of these things, but he already thinks that I am a completely neurotic nutcase because of all of the poop pictures and videos that I am constantly taking.
- And got the T-shirt
You can buy sticky strips that will catch flies at any hardware store. You could hang them around the cage, but I don't know how effective they'd be or how many you'd have to have to make a difference.
Here is what I have successfully tried on my little big friend on several occassions. Three stage approach:
1. Eliminate bad bacterias or parasites with potent and no side effects causing natural methods. My favourites are:
- turmeric (2-3 times/day small pinch (a tip of tsp) disolved in 5-10 ml of water and applied to mouth via 1 ml syringe); try this for a week or two - my little one loves it.
- citrus seed extract (aka "grapefruit seed extract" - not to be confused with "grape seed extract" which is another product): very potent antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal agent - you can buy it in health food shops - it has a very bitter taste: carefully measure/dilute 1/4 drop 3x/day. - I normally dissolve one drop in 40 ml water container, and apply 1/4 portion of that amount via 1 ml syringe 3x/day;
2. Apply Probiotic cultures - (i) ask vet for some probiotics, or alternatively (ii) you may apply a 1-2 fresh droppings per day from a healthy guinea (make sure the donor is super healthy), dissolve it in 1-2 ml of water and apply via 1 ml syringe or - (iii) I use home made kefir or yogurt - 1 ml via 1 ml syringe 3 times per day.
3. Diet, diet, diet:
(i) Unlimited access to a good quality hay (eg. timothy hay made by Oxbow);
(ii) Unlimited access to clean fresh grass (try to determine - trial and error - which grass they love the most and be very generous with it).
(iii) Some good quality grass pellets (to supplement grass and hay, not the other way around - again I use Oxbow's products because of their quality certification; beware of pellets of unknown content).
(iv) Limited amount of fresh vegetables (in the morning and evening)
(v) Access to clean fresh water at all times
(vi) Vitamin C (!) - very important.
Don't give any grains, seeds or sugars etc (!!!)
Hope this helps. Please, try to cure this issue ASAP because it may lead to other serious problems.
There is not such a thing as herbal or non-herbal remedies. What is there is good and bad medicine. There are thousand of sources which document superiority of herbal remedies over other treatment methods - in my guinea's case antibiotics did not work, actually aggravated my guineas condition, where the two other natural methods work again and again with no side effects - there is plenty of proof for it with humans too.
- Supporter in '13
In other news, I took Bcup back to the vet last Wednesday. They did blood work on her, which largely came out normal except for a slightly low protein level. Her assessment said:I would be a little careful with flies. They do like to come in and lay eggs in guinea pig poop. It is usually worse when using the pine or paper based bedding. If you are keeping the cage clean, you shouldn't have too much of an issue with just a few flies. I would just keep watch to make sure you aren't getting too many of them in the room.
-Although Buttercup's bloodwork did not show any major abnormalities, this does not preclude the possibility that an underlying inflammatory process may be present, which could be resulting in her clinical signs. Since her kidney values were normal, we feel comfortable starting her on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) to see if this will help to improve her signs in conjunction with the Tramadol.
-Additionally, if her sneezing episodes are due to an inflammatory process, adding this medication should address this issue as well. In the event that including an NSAID does not resolve Buttercup's signs, we may pursue other options such as giving regular vitamin B injections or starting pancreatic enzyme supplements. Other diagnostics may be warranted in the future depending on her response to the therapies we start.
-The mildly low total protein may be due to normal variation throughout the day. We should recheck this value in the future.
They started her on Metacam in addition to the Tramadol last week, but unfortunately there has not been any difference as of yet. There is still very frequent squeaking and straining while passing stool, and her stool has remained very soft and foul smelling. I am going to talk to her vet after she has been on the Metacam for a full week (in two days), but as of now things aren't looking that great.
Have you by any chance tried switching her hay? For my piggy, it hasn't stopped the squeaking, but it did REALLY firm up her poop (for now, at least). She used to be on Kleenmama's bluegrass, and that's all that my pigs were eating, since I was trying to cut out the veggies and pellets (my other one was still getting veggies). I suddenly noticed that the poop was getting mushier, and even my other pig's poop started getting air in it.
Hay was the only thing left, so I went out and bought a bag of Oxbow timothy hay. The poop immediately firmed up.
I am not sure if you tried switching the hay, but I figured I mention it.
- Supporter in '13
After Buttercup went to the vet last Wednesday, her poos have been consistently pretty bad. Here is my latest correspondence with her vet. It looks like he wants to start her on a 3rd pain killer, Gabapentin. Does anyone have experience with this medication?
His email to me:
I can get a refill of the Tramadol in for you. I think that after being on the Tramadol, that Buttercup seemed at least a bit less reactive during her examination. It may be helping a little with that, even though it doesn't seem to be helping with the squeaking during defecating.
I was able to talk to medicine about some options today. In talking with them, we are still in agreement that if it is indeed painful for her to defecate, then there might be something going on in her distal GI tract and in her colon. Their recommendation was similar to what we talked about for a potential next step. They recommended a potential endoscopy of her colon to see what may be going on in there. It still sounds like something is in or irritating her distal GI tract since she is having the signs of distress and squeaking when she defecates. She would need to undergo some anesthesia for this, however. I am a bit hesitant to put her under the anesthesia for it, and again, it would not guarantee us a definite answer.
Our other option would be to try a third pain medication that targets more neuropathic or chronic pain, called Gabapentin. I have used it with good results in my chronic pain guinea pigs when the Tramadol and Metacam do not fully work. It might be a good step before we go any further with other diagnostics to see if we can give her some more relief. I know that it may seem like we are just throwing some more medication at the problem, but I feel that if she has some chronic pain cauing her reaction when she poops, that this may provide some relief where the other medications may not have been enough.
My email back:
I don't remember you thinking that Buttercup was excessively reactive to touch and stimuli when I first brought her to see you in February. Do you think it is possible that she was more reactive to being poked and prodded at when she was a day case because she was alone in an unfamiliar situation. Maybe she was less reactive again during her most recent visit because this time she had her "mommy" by her side?
I agree that we should hold off on doing an endoscopy of her colon. I thought that the ultrasound was also to see if there was anything going on around that area? Would the purpose of doing an endoscopy be to get a more precise view of something that might not have been visible with the ultrasound (a mass or something similar), or would the endoscopy be looking for something different? I don't feel very comfortable about her undergoing anesthesia, especially if it is for a procedure that might or might not even be able to tell us anything.
I guess our next step would be to try the third pain medication. People always say, "Third time's a charm!" so maybe this one will work. Since her soft stool and gassiness have not improved while on the Metacam, does that rule out the possibility that an underlying inflammatory process might be present? At this point, are we only using the Metacam for its analgesic properties, and ditto with the Tramadol and Gabapentin? Even if the Gabapentin does help with her pain while defecating, is Buttercup going to have foul smelling, mushy poos for the rest of her life?