Abbey's Medical Thread

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Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Fri May 31, 2013 1:26 pm


Abbey is a 2 year old sow and has been having blood on and off in her urine since last August.

She is active, eats very well and her weight is good and has stayed steady. I have only seen her seem uncomfortable once while urinating. Stools are normal.

Last August I had her examined, an X-ray taken and a urinalysis done. There was no signs of stones or any other disease on the X-ray and the urinalysis was totally normal with no bacteria or blood showing.

I have noticed on occasion dark rings around her dried urine and at times I wondered if the urine had a pink tinge to it. I have seen some red blood a couple of time but it clears up within a day. Throughout all of this she has shown no signs of illness.

Last month she had more blood in her urine so I took her back to the vet. She suggested an ultrasound.

I had another urinalysis done last week and it showed blood but again no bacteria, infection or signs of calcium crystals. pH was normal.

I am baffled. The vet thinks maybe it could be a tumor of the uterus, but after 9 months I would think things would have progressed if any tumors were present.

I am very frustrated so have booked an ultrasound for next Friday.

They said they will do it without sedation so thank goodness I don't have to fast her.

I really could use some advice on ultrasounds and long vet visits. How stressful will this be for her? I know it is stressful for me. Usually I take her sister along for the trip for support but I have to leave Abbey for about 1 1/2 hours so is that fair for Zoe? I have never separated them before and really don't know if it would be best to leave Zoe at home or take her along.

The vet is 45 minutes away so add another 1 1/2 hours of travel time to the visit. I will have to wait there. It is too far to come home and go back.

I want to minimize the stress on both girls and handle it in the best way possible.

Any suggestions?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri May 31, 2013 2:12 pm


I'd take the other pig. I always take both of mine -- it's the only time they'll snuggle together.

And you shouldn't have to fast a pig before a medical procedure. Fasting is to prevent aspiration pneumonia when someone throws up and inhales it into their lungs. Since guinea pigs don't vomit, it's not a problem. In fact, fasting them can cause GI problems after the surgery, because there's nothing in their gut moving through.

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Delaine
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Post   » Fri May 31, 2013 3:58 pm


Thanks bpatter:

At first the vet said Abbey would have to fast for 4 hours and be sedated for the ultrasound so I was not going to go through with the procedure.

I had heard that guinea pigs don't vomit and was really concerned about the effects of sedation and GI problems from the fasting so thank you for confirming my fears. Now they say they will do it without sedation.

Thanks for helping me decide about taking Zoe along for support. Like your pigs mine only cuddle when they are really nervous.

Does anyone know how long it actually takes for the ultrasound? They want me to leave her for 1 1/2 hours. That seems long. I don't want to leave her sister alone in the cage at the vet office if Abbey will be having procedures done for that long. I would prefer to take her with me. I have a friend I can visit.

I know they have to shave her tummy first.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri May 31, 2013 10:28 pm


A spay would take care of any cause related to reproductive issues (if you have a skilled and experienced vet - all surgery carries risk). Can you describe in detail how often and how much blood you see?

There is a slim possibility it could be related to her cycle - though this would be unusual for a guinea pig.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:10 am


Lynx:

Abbey has had blood show up either on her fleece, hay or in her urine about nine times since August 2012.

It could be a blob or streak but usually I notice it as a blood in the urine. I stalk her and dab her urine with paper towel as soon as she pees.

I have also noticed dark rings around the urine in their tray and pinkish urine. I have white paper towel under the fabric and hay so it really show up. I wasn't sure if this was blood or oxidation.

I just bought some chemstrip 5 urinalysis strips to test her urine because even though the urine looks clear it could still have blood in it. I tested her urine yesterday which looked clear but sure enough it tested for blood.

The episodes sometimes happen when she is in heat but not always.

I have always suspected it may be due to irritation from urine sludge but I will have to wait for the ultrasound to hopefully get some answers.

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:55 am


I would definitely take Zoe along and leave her at the vet with Abbey. Maybe pack along some hay + small water bottle on the side, if possible?

An ultrasound should not take more than 10-15 minutes. The vet should not have to shave Abbey's belly, either. Whenever my sows have gone in for an ultrasound, the vet just takes care of it during the appointment, and they rub some alcohol gel on their tummies (not sure why...) But, a different piece of equipment may require a different protocol? I would ask more about it when dropping the pigs off. Seems an ultrasound should not be that complicated.

I had a piggy develop similar symptoms of occasional blood spotting at 3.5 yo, but she also had pain symptoms. These symptoms preceded development of a uterine tumor, which appeared 2 years later.

Hope you can find some answers.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:31 pm


Thanks LS for the information.

I will ask more questions when I take her in and I will leave Zoe at the vet's office so she can support Abbey.

I have already called the vet's office several times. I keep thinking of one more thing to ask. They are very nice about it but are probably rolling their eyes every time I call.

If anyone else has had a sow with blood in her urine I would appreciate hearing about your experience.

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Delaine
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Post   » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:43 am


I have tested Abbey's urine four days in a row. Two days tested positive for blood and two days were clear.

I did notice it tested positive for protein in her urine. I am not sure if these test strips are accurate for guinea pigs but if they are does anyone know what protein in the urine means?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:35 pm


Hopefully someone more medically knowledgeable will comment.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:42 pm


I don't know about guinea pigs, but in humans, elevated protein in the urine can be caused by a whole host of things -- from something as minor as emotional stress or exercise, as a side-effect of some drugs, pregnancy or by diseases as diverse as diabetes, hodgkin's lymphoma, kidney diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and about a dozen others. I'm sure it would take a whole battery of tests to decide what the cause is.

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Delaine
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Post   » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:42 pm


Thanks bpatters:

I go to the vet for the ultrasound on Friday so I will ask her. Because of the blood in the urine I was wondering if it has something to do with her kidneys.

One vet I talked to (not her usual vet) said blood could indicate kidney issues but thought after 9 months she would be showing signs of illness.

She is her usual cheeky self. She seems extra lively lately and the only thing I have done differently is add a probiotic to her diet.

I had great success with probiotics last year when Zoe was getting bouts of loose stool with blood. She has been having normal stools since last September when I started her on a very small dose of Kyo-Dophilus.

I have read many articles on how probiotics can be helpful for bladder infections, yeast infections, of course bowel problems and my daughter's fiance (a Doctor) said they are now giving them to infants for colic.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:42 pm


We tend to think stones (and sometimes UTIs) when there is blood in urine.

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Delaine
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Post   » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:10 pm


Abbey went in for her ultrasound today. I felt so bad putting her through the tummy shave and procedure. They let me hold her for the shave which was good. They wanted to have me lie her on her side on the table and hold her down. Wasn't going to happen. I told them I would hold her up with her back against me. The tech grumbled a little but had perfect access to her tummy and sides with a lot less stress on Abbey.

The ultrasound came back totally normal. No sign of stones, sludge, tumors or cysts anywhere. She could even see urine entering the ureters from the kidneys.

So what now? I have a healthy active guinea pig with no sign of disease that gets blood in her urine. The vet has seen similar cases with dogs that will shed blood from the kidneys on and off but have no other symptoms and are totally healthy.

Abbey's vet suggested the next step would be to spay her and see if the bleeding stops. She feels spaying them when they are young is easier on them than waiting until they are older. Spaying is fairly inexpensive but I am not ready to put Abbey through that yet.

I asked about the protein showing on the test strips. Her vet said when you use the test strips on a sample that is not sterile this is normal. If you saw protein in urine taken right from the bladder then it would be a problem.

wenton5

Post   » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:35 pm


Has the vet done a blood test and full fecal smear? LS in AK, what treatment was provided for your piggy that had the uterine tumor?
L

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Delaine
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Post   » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:08 pm


Wenton5

I have not had a blood panel done yet. What would that tell me that the other tests haven't?

She hasn't had a fecal exam for a year. Her stools are totally normal. Would she not show some sort of abnormal stool if she had bowel issues?

Her vet said the ultrasound showed a normal uterus and ovaries.

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:19 am


If I were you, I would just monitor her closely for now. If problems persist, it may be time for a spay. It is better to spay a piggie when she is younger and in better health, but plenty of members on this board have put their sows through successful spays for that to be a major worry (in my mind, at least...)

Lara, with my sow who ended up with the uterine tumor: she started showing signs of recurrent UTIs (pain while urinating and defecating both) at around 3 years of age, but we could not find anything abnormal with x-rays or ultrasound. She did have an initial bladder infection, but symptoms of pain remained after the infection had cleared up. We tried more ABs, and more ABs, and then she started spotting blood, and then the symptoms cleared up, then they came back... Symptoms developed for about a year before the pain and bleeding became bad enough that we put her on Metacam long-term, and she was relatively healthy and happy on the pain meds until we found the tumor, about 2 years after the pain and spotting began. At that point we spayed her (she was 5.5 yo) and she would have recovered if I had known better how to hand-feed, and had not left her overnight at the vet after surgery. She went into stasis and due to my own ignorance and inexperience, we failed to pull her out of it.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:37 pm


Thanks LS:

I agree with you. I am going to monitor her for now. I would hate to put her through a spay and have something go wrong, especially when she looks the picture of health right now. Thank you for Lara's story. I have learned so much from other people's experiences.

I found yesterday so emotionally exhausting. I hate putting Abbey through all this. She has a slight razor rash on her side where they shaved her but seems to have recovered from her ordeal. Probably better than I have.

I usually leave myself an hour to get to the vet but coming home there was some sort of spill on the highway and we had to wait for an extra half hour backed up in traffic. I am very conscientious about the environment and hate idling my car, but it was a hot afternoon and I had to keep the air conditioning going for the girls. I just wanted to get the girls home and back to their cage.

wenton5

Post   » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:27 pm


Delaine, LS in AK has more experience than me, my thought was that blood tests tend to be more accurate than urine and a fecal smear never hurts. LS in AK, thank you so much for sharing your information, this is very interesting and I am wondering Lynx if there are very many threads on the forum regarding this situation. Delaine, you sound exhausted, as I was when my baby got sick. Hang in there, please keep us posted and thank you.
L and the gang

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Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:47 am


wenton5

I really appreciate your feedback. I love this forum because many people put their heads together and sometimes all the pieces of information fit to complete the puzzle. I still need a couple of pieces for my puzzle or maybe I will never find the answer.

Abbey looked pretty sorry for herself yesterday. She was covered in gel from the ultrasound and with the shaved sides she looked so sad and was puffed up after her ordeal. That still didn't stop her from eating hay at the vets and on the way home. Good advice to take Zoe with her. Zoe was quite interested in all the new smells on Abbey.

I haven't ruled out blood work, spaying, etc. in the future if things get worse or I see changes in Abbey's health or weight. I wish the vet was closer. All this traveling back and forth takes its toll on the girls and me.

I am going to keep monitoring her urine with the test strips so I will know for sure if blood is present and keep a record. It is hard to tell just by the color, unless I see actual blood.

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:43 am


I learned pretty quickly when I started keeping piggies that it was generally better to take everyone to the vet together, so long as nothing contagious is involved. They seem to bond over the stress of the carrier, the car ride, the clinic, and any new, strange smells are swiftly shared, and therefore aren't as threatening, because the piggies have to cope with it all together while crammed into the corner of their carrier, trying to hide under their blankets from everything that is certain to eat them.

The aftermath of the ultrasound sounds familiar, too. It has been awhile, but I remember various sows coming back into the examination room with their fur all spiky and wet and puffed out -- I think the alcohol gel chills them a bit as it evaporates.

Hope all goes well for you and Abbey. Please continue to update as things develop.

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