Abbey's Medical Thread

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:08 am


Ever since Abbey's surgery she has been a little different, nothing big, just subtle things I have noticed. I will phone her vet tomorrow and make an appointment but I am not sure I have anything concrete for her to check.

First of all after her surgery it took her 30 hours before she could get up and walk. Her back legs wouldn't work and she would sort of drag herself around. I thought that was pretty unusual but she finally got up and I figured all was well.

She has been zoning out and at times just stares into space. A couple of days ago she was sleeping with her eyes closed and didn't move even after I spoke. I had to touch her. She also isn't responding to voice cues. She has always known so many words and would get excited when I would say things like, "Are you hungry, want your supper?". Her sister Zoe is still responding as usual.

She is also spooking easier and when I come into the room, even though I have spoken first, she will sometimes run for cover but not always. Yesterday it was a dull day and I turned on some different lights which made her go and hide.

She is eating, drinking and her weight is stable. I am weighing every other day.

I have noticed more urine smell and tested her urine last night. The test strip was normal except for the protein square which showed high levels of protein. I have asked the vet about this before and she said that can happen unless you get a sterile sample. I will check Zoe's urine just in case and I will take a sample in when we go to the vets.

It is almost like she has gone deaf or is having small strokes. It is hard to pinpoint because most of the time she seems normal.

Could something have happened during surgery to cause these symptoms? Any thoughts?

Talishan
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Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:19 am


Without reading back, 1) how old is she and 2) has heart compromise/enlargement been considered?

Protein in the urine means something (not just not sterile), but I can't remember what it is. Bpatters, do you know?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:23 am


Diabetes?

If you look carefully into the ears, is there any buildup of debris?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:21 am


Protein in the urine can be a result of something like stress or exposure to extremes of heat or cold, or a fever. Those are pretty benign causes.

Other possibilities include several kinds of kidney disease, diabetes, several heart conditions, high blood pressure, cancer -- you name it, it's probably in the list. Stroke, however, is not.

Given that she's just been through surgery and is having a slow time recovering, maybe it's just a temporary condition.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:45 am


Thanks for the replies. Abbey is a 3 1/2 years old American sow. Her surgery was June 10th. She has presented with blood in her urine for most of her life.

I did a visual of her ears but I need her vet to look deeper.

I will definitely talk to her vet about heart disease.

Protein in the urine is usually due to kidney disease. This makes the most sense for Abbey. She has had blood on and off in her urine for most of her life. The little bit of research I have done seems to link deafness to kidney disease.

There is a genetic condition in humans called Alport syndrome. It presents with blood and protein in the urine, deafness and eye abnormalities. About a year ago Abbey's vet said she noticed cataracts starting when she looked into her eyes. Is it possible that there could be a similar disease in guinea pigs?

Also Abbey has had the one eye that fills with cleaning fluid. This has been going on for a year.

I am beginning to think all her issues may not be random but all linked to one issue.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:09 pm


Alport syndrome occurs in dogs. They've been unable to find/develop it in mice, which they'd like to do because it's so much less expensive to do medical testing on mice.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:30 pm


"She has had blood on and off in her urine for most of her life." On a daily basis? A couple days on, weeks off, on again? Could it be related to her cycle? (rare but possiblel).

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:38 pm


I did find one article on Alport syndrome in mice. Article attached.

http://www.alportsyndrome.org/what-is-alport-syndrome/future-of-alport-syndrome/

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:21 am


I first noticed some blood in 2011 when the girls were less than 5 months old.

Since then I have seen darker urine which I don't know for sure contains blood and some blood on the fleece. I would say now I am seeing it maybe 4 days out of 7. I am noticing it more now because I have light colored fleece pads for the houses. If I use dark fleece I don't notice it.

I am better able to monitor her urine now because I have the urinalysis strips. Before I was just guessing on whether her urine color was normal or not.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:53 am


So you've pretty much confirmed with the strips that this is all blood then? Not porphirins? (rusty color urine)

Talishan
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Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:29 pm


"Also Abbey has had the one eye that fills with cleaning fluid. This has been going on for a year."

In our house, blocked tear ducts/malfunctioning tear ducts (actually, I should say duct; it's most often only on one side) have been very closely linked to heart compromise. The vast majority of pigs we've had with tear duct drainage problems have also been heart pigs, and vice versa.

Also, has the vet considered interstitial cystitis?

Start here:

http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=16331

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:13 pm


Lynx: In the beginning when they were under a year I wasn't sure if it was blood or porphirins. I had read young guinea pigs urine sometimes has an orange tinge to it.

Now I can test the urine so I know for sure many of the urine samples do contain blood. Sometimes testing at the vet's confirm blood other times it doesn't. I quite often see small red smudges where she has dragged her bottom on the fleece. Any sort of blood clots are extremely rare.

Talishan: Heart problems could be a possibility. She has always been a very active pig so up until now I didn't think about heart issues. There seems to be some connection between kidney and heart problems. I need to do some more research yet.

Thanks for the link. I printed out that thread a awhile ago because it seemed to relate to Abbey. My mother-in-law had interstitial cystitis so I have done much research on that topic in the past. Abbey has no pain when urinating or pooping and there should be pain with interstitial cystitis. My mother-in-law had terrible pain but no blood.

It is the hearing loss that has me baffled. In the past if I said the word "treat" she was out, eager and waiting. If Abbey is sleeping in her house I have to wave the treat in front of her face before she figures out food is waiting.

I have a vet appointment for Thursday September 4th. I will take a urine sample with me. I want to see if they get a high protein reading on their test.

I am still leaning toward some sort of inflammation of the kidney. What are the best tests to show kidney disease besides an urinalysis?

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:26 pm


I am going to have Abbey's vet check teeth, ears, urine, heart, her incision from surgery, feel for any lumps or growths and her bottom end. I know this is a long shot but I am also going to inquire about Alport syndrome because she seems to have all four symptoms.

Anything else you can think of?
Last edited by Delaine on Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bpatters
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Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:27 pm


Blood tests are also used to diagnose kidney disease, but those are hard to get in guinea pigs because of the difficulty of drawing blood.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:31 pm


Thanks bpatters: I may have to go that route but she will have to be sedated and she had such a hard time recovering after her surgery in June. Which leads back to heart problems.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:48 pm


Also from what I understand (and bpatters knows more than I do, so listen to her first), for kidney compromise to show up in bloodwork it has to be pretty advanced. That is, it's unlikely (not impossible, but unlikely) that bloodwork will show you anything that can be treated as far as kidneys go.

I don't get bloodwork done on guinea pigs unless it is absolutely, unconditionally necessary AND has the potential to give useful information. It's just too hard and too stressful to get enough blood from them for a reliable test.

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Delaine
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Post   » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:33 pm


Thanks Talishan. I totally agree. I have put her through so many stressful tests that have showed absolutely nothing.

Abbey has been doing so well the past couple of days. The weather has finally cooled down enough to bring them back upstairs to their kitchen cage. They spend the two hot summer months in our TV room downstairs where the temperature stays at a consistent 20 to 22 deg.

Although they do okay downstairs they don't get the stimulation and companionship they do in the kitchen. Also they are in a run for floor time downstairs but are free range in the kitchen and hang out while I am cooking.

Abbey has just blossomed since returning her to the kitchen environment. She seems so perky and happy.

I am now wondering if she actually has hearing loss or just lost some of her communication skills.

I have decided to cancel the vet appointment for now and monitor her urine with the test strips. Now I can see who is drinking water, eating the pellets and how often Abbey is out eating hay. I will continue to weigh her.

There is something else that I think was stressing her. After her surgery I noticed Abbey wasn't coming out of her wooden house as often to eat hay. I was concerned with weight loss so I removed their two wooden houses during the day to encourage more activity and replaced the corners with cuddle cups and draped fleece for privacy. I noticed she started to try and pull down the fabric at the back of the hay tray which was a new behavior. I think she was frustrated and was trying to tell me she wanted her houses back.

Putting back the houses seems to have lowered her anxiety and she is not as easily startled.

GPIG

Post   » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:16 pm


Have you been able to check sodium levels in blood work? There is a kidney disorder that can appear where sodium level is reduced by improper kidney function.

Essentially the pig drinks water because it's getting dehydrated but the more it drinks the more dehydrated it gets because the kidneys are over-filtering sodium. It doesn't even have to be an extrme amount of water intake. Kind of a counter intuitive problem

Sodium level is gradually reduced, and when it becomes critical, seizure, paralysis and heart problems can be extreme symptoms.

Not common, but it does happen and can be brought on by medications (possibly during/after surgery), overdrinking etc.

If it were to be the case and diagnosed as such the disorder is maintained by monitoring precise amount of water intake – a little tricky but doable. And sometimes water intake is reduced naturally and problem can appear to correct istself.

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Delaine
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Post   » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:34 pm


Thanks for your input GPIG. I am open to looking at all possibilities. I have not had blood work done so have no idea on sodium levels, but it is something to ask the vet next time I go in. Her water intake has never changed. Both girls drink about the same amount which I feel is normal.

To recap Abbey symptoms:

- Blood in urine on and off for over two years (this has been confirmed).

- High protein on the test strips I use (Vet says this can be expected when you suck urine off a possibly contaminated surface. Not an accurate reading unless you take a sterile sample directly from the bladder.)

- Possible hearing loss. If I make weird noises with my mouth she will react, but no reaction when I speak to her which is unusual (maybe she has taken lessons from my husband and has developed selective hearing).

- Eye abnormalities. Possible blocked tear duct with cleaning fluid pooling in one eye. Early stage cataracts according to the vet, nothing outwardly visible.

- Slight weight loss (may be due to the surgery in June. I am wondering if bpatters is right and maybe just a slow recovery after surgery. She did take 30 hours before she could use her back legs although she was eating.

Other than that she is bopping around her cage and acting like a normal piggy. Now they are up in the kitchen I can really monitor her, check her urine and weigh her regularly. If I notice any further decline in her health we will be off to the vets.

Thanks everyone for your input. I learn so much from the members on this forum. I am not sure what I would do without this support and knowledge.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:57 pm


Watch her carefully (which I know you will), but it's not impossible that returning to the kitchen was what she needed. Many of them simply don't do well with environmental/regular routine changes.

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