Abbey's Medical Thread

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Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:45 pm


Abbey continues to lose weight and has gone from 1162 grams in March 2017 to 1028 grams August 21st. It has been a steady decline. In her prime she was over 1300 grams.

She has had a rough summer. My daughter and year old grandson moved in with us for two months. Her usual quiet household was turned upside down with strange noises and sounds. His play area was in the living room behind the girls' cage. She has been more timid since she lost her sight to cataracts and things seem to scare her more easily. She has always been a piggy that saw Monsters on occasion. On top of this she lost her sister to a massive tumor July 25th. Now her companion and support of over six years is gone.

I have had her to the vet several times and here are some of the health concerns that may also be affecting her weight. Her teeth look good.

- Ovarian cysts (Not the type that cause hair loss, crusty nipples, etc. Really no symptoms. They were felt when she had her wellness check. She doesn't even rumble any more now her sister is gone.

- She has a very small bladder stone. She passed a large one and smaller one about two months ago.

- Her X-ray shows she has Spondylosis in her back. Could this be a source of pain causing her to be less active?

- Arthritis in her knees which may affect her activity level.

She begs for her greens and pepper but hasn't been as thrilled about hay and pellets so I made some changes. I hope they work. She loves critical care and licks it from a dish so I just started supplementing with ground pellets mixed with critical care and warm water. She gets this three times a day. I soak some hay which she loves. I also just started her on Metacam in case she is in pain. It has only been a couple of days with these changes but she is more active already and her weight is starting to climb a little. I was giving her some critical care before but not enough to make a difference. She is in a 2 x 4 cage but wouldn't venture to the other side of the cage. I brought the ends in a little so there is not such a great distance between houses. This seems to really help her feel more secure and I notice she is exploring the whole cage now. I put little piles of hay around to encourage her.

Any other suggestions to make a senior piggy's life more comfortable would be appreciated. She will be 6 1/2 next month. I hope the extra pellets and critical care don't contribute to stone formation but I am looking for quality of life for now. I just want her to gain some weight and feel better.

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Lynx
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Post   » Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:38 pm


As for the Spondylosis (I had to look it up), I would just watch for sings of pain. Since you did decide to give Metacam and you are seeing more activity, it is likely she was in some pain.
www.guinealynx.info/pain.html

I am happy to hear she likes the foods you are giving her. It might be worth getting in the routine of weighing her daily so you catch any weight loss right away. I think you're doing a great job.

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Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:02 pm


Thanks Lynx. I didn't see the X-ray because they wouldn't come up on her computer in the Examination room. She did draw me a picture but I didn't pay as much attention as I should because I thought I could just look it up on Google when I got home. According to what I read Spondylosis seems to be a general term for more than one issue. I think Abbey's is degeneration of her disc or discs in her spine but I will clarify with her vet next time I take her in. I have noticed once in awhile a slight hitch in one of her back legs. It is hard to describe but she sort of drags one slightly but only for a second and then she walks normally. It is so slight that I wondered if I am seeing things. Now I wonder if maybe this degeneration in her spine could be causing some nerve pain in her leg. Just a thought and I will talk it over with her vet. This particular X-ray was taken in June but I only found out about this diagnosis on Tuesday when I asked her to look at the X-rays again for signs of arthritis. In June we were concentrating on whether there were more stones present and weren't focusing on her bones.

The mixture I am giving Abbey is 1 tsp. of ground Oxbow pellets plus 1/2 tsp. Critical Care and 20 mls of warm water. It ends up being a total of 20 mls of mixture. She gets this amount three times a day. It seems like a lot to give at one time but Abbey licks it up on her own. Towards the end I clean the dish with my finger and she licks that off. Is 20 mls too much to give her at one time? I like her eating the mash because without drinking any other water she is getting 60 mls. per day. She still drinks from her water bottle.

The other question I have is about Metacam. She is doing so well tonight so I want to continue giving her a daily dose. I haven't seen her this active in quite awhile. Is long term Metacam okay for her kidneys? She is only getting 0.08 mls every 24 hours.

I will weigh her daily. She gained 10 grams last night and another 10 grams tonight. I hope the trend continues.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:57 am


I don't think 20 ml is too much at all, especially if she is eating it all and licking it from your fingers.

I think some guinea pigs are on Metacam log term. It sounds like a smaller dose? (need concentration and weight of guinea pig - www.guinealynx.info/calculate_dose.html ) Your vet could give you a better answer on the kidney question than I could (would depend on her health - but it is always a trade-off and I tend toward mitigating pain).

You are more than welcome to send me any xrays you can get that show this condition. They could be helpful to future readers.

GrannyJu1
Armcavy

Post   » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:26 am


My Peekaboo and Fuzzbutt are both on Metacam. Peek's been on it for a couple of years and Fuzz can only take it once in a while since it really messes with her. She becomes very lethargic, so I give her a very small dose for a few days when she seems in pain. Peek has been getting .5 ml of the .5 mg/mL strength daily.

So far everything seems ok as far as kidney/liver problems go.

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:22 pm


My pig that I just euthanized had spondylosis as well as degenerative joint disease of her stifles (knees). Her radiographs are in my thread about her and I should actually add the radiologist's report (since I finally received it) to that thread, he was very thorough in his reading.

As far as the metacam. I have given it for chronic pain, such as arthritis, and it did help. What my problem was is if the treatment lasted more than a few days, it seemed to upset their tummy. Some pigs can be on it for extended periods just fine and others can't. Some people can take vicodin after surgery and it helps them, I get sick as a dog. If her eating habits change in a negative way you could try lowering the dose or alternating treatment days with non treatment days and see how she does - of course consult your vet about that. If you still have trouble, Tramadol is always an option.

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Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:38 pm


Lynx: I will contact Abbey's vet and see if she will sent a copy of her X-rays. I would like to see them myself.

GrannyJu1: First of all thank you for your kind words on Zoe's thread. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and understanding in the loss of our little piggy. I checked the strength of the Metacam I have. It looks like it is 3 times stronger than what you have. It is 1.5 mg/mL so that is why her dose is so low. I am glad you haven't seen any problems with long term use.

Clint The Cuy: First of all I am sorry for your loss. After just losing a pig I understand how hard it is. Thanks for your information. I looked up her X-rays and was wondering if the darker area on her spine was where the problem was? I am giving Abbey her Metacam on a full stomach to see if that will help with any digestive issues. So far she is okay. She is on a low dose but I will monitor her for any changes in her eating habits or stool. I like your idea of alternating treatment days. She has had a dose the last three days. I may skip today and see how she is tomorrow. I also started supplementing her with the pellet/critical care mash at the same time so it is hard to know if it is the Metacam or maybe the increase in water and Vitamin C. Oxbow Critical Care has about 20 mg. of Vitamin C per teaspoon so she is getting an extra 30 mg. of Vitamin C per day. That in itself might be helping.

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:10 pm


Spondylosis can encompass several different conditions of the spine. In my girl's case, she had narrowing/thinning of her discs and she had mild osteophyte production, or "bone spurs", on her vertebra. This is most apparent on the VD view of her spine when focusing on her lower back.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:05 am


Ditto all the advice you've received. You're doing a fantastic job caring for her, and doing everything right.

We've had pigs on arthritis-level dosages of Metacam for years with no ill effects. A few pigs have reacted badly to it, and for those we have used Rimadyl (carprofen).

CtC -- do you see carprofen used in practice as frequently as it used to be? It's worked well for ours if they could not tolerate Metacam, but did not need to step up to Tramadol.

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Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:25 am


Thanks Talishan: I didn't give her Metacam last night so monitoring her today to see if there is a difference in her weight and/or activity level. I will definitely look into Rimadyl if she starts having issues with Metacam. It says to give Metacam with food but I make sure she has lots of food in her tummy. I give it to her after her greens and 20 ml of pellet/critical care slurry. Hopefully that should help buffer some of the side effects.

Another factor that may be affecting her activity level is summer. Abbey has never done well in the summer even though we have air conditioning. Windows open at night create new scary sounds, people coming and going and different routines seem to throw her off especially since she has lost her sight. We have had the longest, hottest, and driest summer in British Columbia this year and it is not over yet. It has also been the busiest. I think once Fall comes and we get cooler nights, shorter days and no company we will all perk up a little. I know I will.

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:41 pm


Actually the carprofen is not a bad idea if the metacam does not pan out. I have never had a pig on carprofen and I have never had a vet prescribe carprofen for my pigs, but it's definitely a viable option. I know that it is still heavily used in small animal medicine. We do not use it in large animal. It has the same potential side affects as the metacam, but is a different drug and could work for Abbey. Also, Tramadol works better when paired with an anti-inflammatory anyway, so knowing if she can tolerate one would be helpful in the event that an NSAID is not enough in the future.

I was also wondering if anyone may have used adequan in these cases? I have heard of its use in guinea pigs, but I did not know if there was any literature on it now. I do know that in horses the protocol has changed to one loading dose (one dose every 4 days for 7 doses) every 6 months, instead of the loading dose followed by a single dose each month for maintenance. The monthly doses did not seem to maintain the therapeutic levels of the loading dose. Would be an interesting option in some of these cases.

Also, has anyone ever heard of treatment with firocoxib in a guinea pig? I am having a difficult time finding anything about it, but maybe someone has had experience with it? Just curious.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:09 pm


I don't know if the posts turned up using the search feature would answer your questions but there is a page worth referencing adequan and nothing for firocoxib.

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:23 pm


I did see the one thread that mentioned adequan in here and also came up empty handed with the firocoxib.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:37 am


Clint -- thanks very much for the input.

I've not used the other two (yet, anyway). Previcox is the brand name for firocoxib if that rings any bells for anyone.

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Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:04 pm


Update on Abbey. She is just over 6 years 7 months old. Abbey has been holding her own the past two months but her heat cycles are becoming longer and harder on her due to her ovarian cysts. This past week she has been in heat and her weight and appetite took a nose dive. I took her into the vet and she confirmed her ovarian cysts, especially the right one have increased significantly in size.

I am still supplementing her with a ground pellet/critical care mixture 3 time a day but this week she wasn't as interested in it. I am not sure how many more heat cycles I will let her suffer through. Once her cycle is over she perks up a little and her weight and appetite increases but she still sits most of the day. I think she is a little more active during the night because most mornings I see poops all around the cage and the hay piles are flattened. She has developed a sort of blister on her right foot. It hasn't opened up so her vet suggested soaking it in a saline solution for now. I am sure it has developed because she is so inactive.

She is on Metacam for pain but the dose isn't enough so we are going to increase it. I don't want to give her too much and creative digestive issues so would appreciate some advice on how much. Her vet looked up the new recommendations and she can have up to 0.3 ml every 24 hours. Her suspension is Meloxicam 1.5 mg/ml. As of yesterday I am giving her 0.1 ml in the evening. Should I ask the vet about dividing the dose into two doses per 24 hours instead of the one dose? How much have others found their pigs can tolerate? Any advice on keeping my old girl comfortable would be appreciated.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:29 pm


As far as dividing the dose goes, I understand it is often more effective.

Good luck to you. I think you are doing the right things.

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