Zoe's Medical Thread

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Lynx
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Post   » Sat May 16, 2015 9:31 pm


I have some of this information on the hay page. The differences in protein content vary quite a bit depending on time of growth but the calcium (though generally higher in young grasses) is not all that much higher.

http://www.guinealynx.info/hay_chart.html

Don't know about the seed heads but they definitely do have more protein than the rest of the plant. Grains like oats are quite low in calcium.

p.s. I think your idea of studying the calcium deposits is a good one. Note that depending on what they have eaten, there may be more or less calcium excreted in that time period. If later they drink water and eat low calcium foods, things may look better.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat May 16, 2015 11:11 pm


Thanks for the hay info Lynx. Maybe letting the grass get tall and go to seed will eliminate some of the calcium. Any idea how quickly sludge is formed and excreted after consuming high calcium foods? Can is get stored in the bladder for awhile before getting dumped or does the cycle of consumption and excretion happen quickly?

One food I am going to start adding is the ribs of the lettuce. I make up enough salad (red and green leaf lettuce and escarole) for two or three days. I find the ribs of the lettuce brown quickly so I have been composting them. They actually have the most water content so now I am cutting them out, soaking them for a few minutes and feeding them as "treats". If they were in the salad they might leave them but if you present them as something special they gobble them up.

I don't know what I would do without this site. Being able to brainstorm and share ideas is so helpful.

bpatters
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Post   » Sat May 16, 2015 11:37 pm


Delaine, I don't think anyone knows how quickly sludge is formed after high calcium foods.

It can get stored in the bladder, I think. I've read of several owners who have seen large grit deposits after giving sub-Qs or forcing increased fluid intake, so it was obviously just sitting in the bladder.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun May 17, 2015 12:56 am


That makes sense bpatters. My girls can go for a week with no sludge and then one of them dumps a small amount. My gut feeling is the grass on my lot is contributing to sludge in my girls. I will really monitor this and let you know my findings.

I was looking back on my notes from the summer and fall of 2013 when we first discovered Zoe had the two stones. They were getting grass everyday at that time and I was seeing sludge and blood in both girls' urine. I had noted more than once that I was concerned the grass was contributing to the sludge and blood. They were also getting Oxbow pellets at that time. I still document but only when something out of the ordinary happens. The notes really help to see if any patterns are forming.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun May 17, 2015 10:22 am


I think it depends on the individual pig. It depends on how easily it can be excreted or whether some of it is kind of settling and not getting excreted (may depend on the conformation of the bladder and urethra).

What I observed years ago is piles of powdery deposits from my pigs after I gave them a pile of romaine. And then they sometimes peed nice clear urine too. So I think what they've eaten recently affects this.

But the subcues and increased fluid making it pass also makes a lot of sense. For guinea pigs prone to stones, sludge, increased fluids is a good idea. I think of a vibrating pad or something to increase suspension of any calcium compounds so they can be peed out.

I do have to say I gave my pigs lots of fresh grass year round. I did associate their calcium deposits more with the romaine than the grass (but I am remembering from some years back). I think of the Oxbow pellets having a lot to do with the deposits.

When you are documenting, if (say, for a week) you also wrote down more detailed info on what they were eating for a day and when and when powdery deposits happened, that might help.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun May 17, 2015 12:16 pm


Lynx: I have noticed a difference in the CONSISTENCY of the sludge since they have been on KMS pellets. This difference is quite pronounced. Oxbow sludge is gritty and sand like. KMS sludge is not gritty. It has a powdery consistency and sometimes resembles a flour and water paste. I am not sure what this difference in the consistency means in relationship to sludge being passed or stones being formed but it is worth mentioning.

My girls normal diet is always the same and I weigh the greens and pepper so that is a constant. I am documenting any changes or additions in diet such as grass and water. I will get more detailed regarding the amount of sludge in relationship to diet.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun May 17, 2015 4:07 pm


And in relation to time of day (I hope you caught that). I think most but not all sludge (depending on how well the bladder is passing sludge) is excreted in a timely manner (will depend on rate of digestion, etc.).

Talishan
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Post   » Sun May 17, 2015 6:46 pm


"Oxbow sludge is gritty and sand like. KMS sludge is not gritty. It has a powdery consistency and sometimes resembles a flour and water paste."

The occasional "flour and water paste"-ish stuff is much closer to what it should be in a normal (that is, un-calcium-challenged) pig.

Romaine has proven to be a huge trapdoor at our house. We've had a LOT of calcium problems with it with several pigs, and quite serious problems with it with a couple of pigs. It's a shame because it lasts for a long time in the fridge and the pigs love it, but we don't feed it and haven't for years now.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun May 17, 2015 8:33 pm


Interesting on the flour and water paste-ish sludge. I didn't know that. I haven't fed romaine lettuce for a couple of years since reading to be cautious of it.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun May 17, 2015 8:42 pm


Ditto on the lasting forever in the fridge and the pigs loving it. It is too bad it seems to cause problems.

Talishan
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Post   » Mon May 18, 2015 2:04 pm


The flour-and-water-paste-ish stuff isn't ideal. It's still a bit of a warning flag -- but it's vastly superior to gritty stuff.

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Delaine
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Post   » Mon May 18, 2015 6:21 pm


I know she can pass the gritty stuff because I have seen her do it and have the small stones in a jar. I hope the same is true of this paste-ish sludge.

It is interesting because Abbey passes more sludge than Zoe but Zoe ended up with stones. I wonder if what Lynx says about the anatomy of the bladder holds true. Maybe Zoe stores it longer while Abbey gets rid of it daily.

So many questions, so few answers.

Talishan
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Post   » Mon May 18, 2015 7:11 pm


I think so. Anatomy of the bladder, exercise levels, genetics; lots of factors, unfortunately none of which will prevent stones. :-(

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Delaine
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Post   » Thu May 21, 2015 12:13 am


I removed all grass from the girls diet on Monday and they had very little Sunday. I have also been removing as many Timothy seed heads as possible. I just wanted to see if it made a difference.

I think it has. I am seeing very few deposits and both girls are a little more active. I tested Zoe's and Abbey's urine tonight and both tested clear. Not a trace of blood.

I will continue to test their urine for blood. That is the best way to monitor irritation in the bladder or the rest of the urinary tract. They are very co-operative and like to jump into a litter box and pee.

It will be interesting to see how they do long term.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu May 21, 2015 8:59 am


Yesterday, the vet told me she'd recently been to a conference in Orlando where one of the speakers addressed urinary calcium in herbivores. I believe the focus of the speech was on ferrets, but the speaker stressed that one of the most important things you can do for a small herbivore is keep them moving so the sludge gets peed out. He even says to chase them around the cage if necessary.

That was the one major difference between my Flourish and Ruffles. Ruffles, at nearly six, is still doing zoomies around the cage a couple of times a day. Flourish was a slug all her life, and she was the the one with stones. Everything else in their environment and diet was exactly the same.

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Lynx
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Post   » Thu May 21, 2015 11:06 am


Maybe everyone with sedentary guinea pigs needs a vibrating pad when they hold them! (and extra fluids)

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Delaine
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Post   » Thu May 21, 2015 7:29 pm


It makes sense to me. Just before Zoe went for her surgery we had an X-ray done. It was clear. A couple of months after the surgery the blood started. She was confined for two weeks.

I wish I could build a safe run for them when I was outside gardening but I live outside of a city and there are just too many predators waiting for an easy meal.

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Delaine
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Post   » Tue May 26, 2015 8:25 pm


Zoe is doing very well. I have been documenting and have a diet that seems to be working well. Time will tell. The grass is back in. I had replaced the grass with ribs off the lettuce as treats and the sludge got worse. So it wasn't the grass and the reduction in moisture from it was not good.

The best thing I have done is soaking the hay. I have addressed this in a separate thread. The girls gobble it up and the container I left today was licked clean. They still get piles of regular hay. Zoe is starting to gain back the weight she lost after her surgery and is almost back to her normal weight. I contribute a good portion of this weight gain to the moistened hay.

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Lynx
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Post   » Tue May 26, 2015 8:53 pm


I would not be surprised if soaking the hay made it more digestible.

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Delaine
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Post   » Tue May 26, 2015 10:25 pm


Maybe Lynx. I wish I had done this when Zoe was recovering from her surgery. At the time I was concerned about her water consumption. This definitely would have helped. The other benefit is better stools. Abbey has always been prone to smaller, drier stools and now they are larger and more moist.

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