Barley - problems with an in-bred piggy

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:38 pm

Barley is now just over a year old, born 9th June 2014. He was an end result of a catalogue of accidental litters you can read about here. The in-breeding may or may not have had an effect on his overall health, but I was aware it may be a contributory factor.

I took him home at 3 months old with his sister Whisky intending to have him neutered so they could be together. They lived in adjoining cages happily for 2 months and at around 5 and a half months he was big enough to go through the operation.

21 Nov 2014
Barley neutered at local vet. After much thought, decided it may be better for closer follow-up visits having done other operations on my previous piggies without issue. It was a friday and he had a slow recovery and appeared traumatised over the weekend despite long acting painkiller.

24 Nov
Back to vet, Barley not really improving, slow and picky eating. More painkiller, Baytril shot and metaclopromide. Slowly improves.

5 Dec
Checkup at vet and seems OK.

13 Dec
A saturday and a vet trip to the emergency out of hours clinic. Smelly, greenish grey ’toothpaste’ all over the fleece and Barley's left side - burst abscess No. 1! After a clean up, a course of Baytril, Metacam and chlorohexidine to keep him clean - and £200 lighter in the wallet!

15 Dec
Back to local vet to check. Further squeezing and flush out of hole with salt water.

17 Dec
During the routine squeeze and clean, this popped out. An internal suture!

After that came out, the site healed up and there was no further problems.

22 Dec
Soft swelling on right side… Vet checkup, insert needle to see if it would drain… oh yes, nearly 10ml of pus pushes its way into the syringe. Abscess No.2.

23 Dec
Quick op under general anaesthetic to clean out the right hand side. Again, slow recovery. More Metacam and Baytril.

30 Dec
Checkup, so far so good. Barley really getting fed up of all the cleaning and meds.

22 Jan 2015
Scabby bits of skin and flushed areas on his back so treated for mites. Getting badly pee stained on his belly and back legs. Nibbling at his back feet which are flushing more red. Suspect fungal and order Imaverol. Give another mite treatment first in case and to totally rule that out. Imaverol not used, not so sure it's fungal.

31 Jan
Yay, we have another one!

Abscess No.3 appears and bursts so another clean up, more Baytril and Metacam.

10 Feb
Barley REALLY objecting to all the fuss and bother by now. I've never been bitten so badly and so often by a guinea pig. Just finished another week of meds and decide on a 2nd opinion from Thistle Cavies ‘special’ vet! Barley behaves like the gentleman he always is at a vet, just takes it all out on me afterwards! Both sides appear to have equal amounts of scar and granulated tissue with no pain on palpating wound areas. Decides more aggressive cleaning and further course of meds required. Removes scab from right side and cleans but no pus appears. Told to be prepared for the long haul and it may happen again and again till Barley heals up himself.

8 Mar
Results back from culture taken of pus to see if that sheds light on his multiple abscesses. No bacterial growth found.

10 Mar
Phone vet checkup on how Barley is getting on. Seems to be free of any problems so far.

29 Mar
Hooting piggy, high pitched but begins to tie up with other issues, and not for the first time alarm bells start ringing!
Barley lies relaxed but with high pitched hooting.

Further episodes of hooting/honking and heaving hiccups with general inactivity, lack of interest, flushed red back feet, continued nibbling at back legs/feet, excessive peeing, squishiness around belly, alternating losing colour from nose and lips to normal colour of pink. All seems to point to heart issues.

30 Apr
Piggies at Thistle Cavies for a few weeks while I am on holiday. Mention heart issues and given OK if vet required. Barley apparently hoots more often than I was aware of being at work and goes to local vet and X-rayed. Diagnosed with a heart abnormality and prescribed Fortekor 2.5mg and on half a tablet a day.

7 May
Checkup and Fortekor makes an improvement.

28 Jun
Further checkup and repeat prescription required. Now, after 2 months, Barley no longer bites, no longer has excessive peeing, his colour is normal and he’s a happy, active, popcorning piggy. He will probably still need Frusemide sooner rather than later but we’re seeing how he goes for now.

Horlicks, Barleys brother from the same litter, has had similar problems. He lives at Thistle Cavies and was neutered around the same time at their local vet who has also treated many of their guinea pigs. Horlicks has also had 3 abscesses, various issues and now has a heart problem and is on Fortekor. He has not fared so well as Barley, has a heart murmur and is on Frusemide too.

So, two piggies, two neuters, different vets, different suture material, different heart problems. Same scenarios, same litter. Sadly their mother Raggedy Anne didn’t fare well either. She was put to sleep at 10 months old with a large bladder tumour.

Surely in-breeding appears to have contributed to one disaster after another on this little piggy family. :-(

The saga continues...

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Post   » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:05 pm

What a trial! That poor guinea pig! (and poor you!).

I think you are due a respite from the saga, say, of a couple years? I am sure being in your care has made all the difference for him!!!

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Supporter in '13

Post   » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:50 pm

Wow, what a saga and thankfully he was in your care as he might not have fared so well in less experienced, and competent care. I hope Barley continues to do well and lead a happy piggy life.

You can quote me

Post   » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:01 am

Without you and Thistle none of them would be here.

My very best to him, to you, and to the entire group.

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Supporter in 2014

Post   » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:28 am

Aww, bless them all. Please let me know if I can be of any help webs. I know I'm really far away but I do still feel connected to Podrick's little ones

(I have Podrick Payne who is the naughty dad to these piggies)

Podrick has only been to the vet once, which was a couple of weeks ago, and he only had a basic check up as the other 3 were going. We were told he was a healthy, plump boy.

I'll have my fingers crossed for you webs, and I'm so sorry about Raggedy Anne. Was she Pod's sister or Mum?

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Supporter 2016-2018

Post   » Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:04 pm

I am so sorry for the lost of Raggedy Anne. RIP wee one. Run free in paradise forever young and in perfect health.

Barley and Whisky are very lucky to have found you. Sending you and them big hugs and am sending hugs to Thistles and Horlicks.

We believe it was due to inbreeding that was the cause of Jessie's dental issues. Sending humans and piggy family big hugs healing vibes.

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:05 pm

Thanks for the well wishes, Barley was certainly in need of them for a while. :-) Little Rags was Pod's sister. I think being pregnant so young and having four pups took a lot out of her and may well have contributed to her tumour. It was thought she was getting recurring UTI's but after an X-ray to look for bladder stones it showed up something far more serious. She had a good life but an all too short one.

I'm not sure any of Barley's generation will be very long lived piggies but they'll get the best of everything while they're here! It's good to know there are family members around, there's certainly quite a few. :-D

They all seem to share the same hairstyle, side and neck tufts. Hopefully now that Barley's health has settled, I can update the Chronicles thread.

Only a year old and already he's in the running for most expensive pig based on vet fees!

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:20 pm

A sad update on dear little brother Horlicks who was put to sleep tonight. He was having difficulty eating over the last few days and had a vet appointment for Monday to get his teeth checked. Today he wasn't eating for himself so getting hand fed. This was causing him serious pain and there seemed to be a purple lump in his mouth pushing his tongue aside with something being felt down his neck. Due for some more food tonight, when he was picked up for more feeding, poor little Horlicks was giving up. His pain meds were increased and a trip made to the emergency vet to send him peacefully on his way. RIP little guy, 14 months is way too soon. :-(

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Post   » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:28 pm

Oh, I am so sorry, Webs.

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:31 pm

That is sad to hear about Horlicks. 14 months is way too young, but at least he doesn't have to be sick or in pain anymore.

I had an inbred boar with non-stop problems from the time I got him at 5 weeks old until he died a few months shy of his third birthday. He, too, was from an oops litter, this one due to careless mixing of the sexes during outside playtime.

People need to be more responsible than that. It is not fair that the pigs - and their caretakers - end up paying the price for all the carelessness.

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Supporter 2016-2018

Post   » Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:54 am

I am so sorry you lost Horlicks. RIP little one, run free with no more pain and in perfect health. Reunited with some family memembers. Sending you big hugs.

Supporter in 2018

Post   » Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:04 am

I'm very, very sorry to hear this sad news. You have my thoughts and prayers. Sending good wishes and hopes for all of you.

You can quote me

Post   » Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:28 pm

Godspeed, safe passage, and blessings to you, Horlicks. Everything is right with you now, like it should be, and you will always be loved.

Comfort to you, Webs.

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Supporter in 2014

Post   » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:40 am

Oh no, I'm so sorry webs. Poor little Horlicks :(

Such a terrible shame.

Podrick will be getting an extra big hug tonight.

Really, if there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate to contact me. Despite being so far away, Pod's kids mean a lot to us and I'll definitely help out any way I can.

Hugs to you and Barley x

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:59 pm

Thank you Jaycey, please wave your magic wand for these little furry siblings!

A little more detail on Horlicks. The lump turned out to be a nasty and likely cancerous tumour in his mouth. Parts of it were breaking away when he was eating causing him serious pain. After he was put to sleep, the vet removed the purple lump and behind it was an abscess, possibly in a tooth root. There was also a 'tail' from the tumour which was heading along to a swelling which turned out to be his lymph node.

With his history of heart problems and abscesses in his short life already it was felt he wouldn't survive invasive surgery in his mouth and the kindest thing was to let him go and join his mum.

It's seems the immune system in these little piggies is not strong enough and aggressive tumours may be what my two end up with too. At least I know to be vigilant!

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:22 pm

One minor update on Barley was in April 2016 he was rushed to the emergency vet about 4am as I was woken by the piggies scrabbling about. Went down to find Barley haring around the cage with blood spatters over the white coroplast. In my half asleep panic, grabbed a hold of him to discover he'd ripped a toenail and it was bleeding profusely. Holding it with tissue didn't seem to stem the flow and then the nail came away in the tissue itself! Not sure if it would stop on its own and worried about his heart we made an expensive trip for Metacam and an AB injection but the blood did stop and his nail eventually grew back.

Apart from that it was a fairly uneventful year for Barley up until December. Coming up to Christmas and the weekend beforehand (always a weekend!) on the Saturday he was breathing more heavily and he didn't cough and clear it like it had before. Over the next few hours I gave him some Frusemide left over from Chilli and then he got his Fortekor early. He seemed to develop blood in his pee so he got a dose of Metacam and Batryil. When that didn't work I phoned the emergency vets for advice and they said to bring him in so he could get on oxygen and injectable Frusemide to work quicker. So early Sunday morning of the 18th December Barley went in and spent a few hours in their care but I think his organs were already failing as it made no difference. I took in Whisky and some of his favourite foods to see if that would perk him up. He wasn't interested in the food and the two piggies snuggled together for a couple of hours before I made the heartbreaking decision to let him go. He had made no improvement, he hadn't peed in many hours and was filling up with fluid. Whisky was taken out and I stayed with Barley throughout the whole end event and he passed peacefully away.

He is now buried near Tiggy and Misty and the other dear departed piggies of mine. Barley was only two and a half but managed to outlive his mum and brother. :-(

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:36 pm

I'm so sorry you lost him.

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Post   » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:09 pm

I am so sorry, Webs. It is never easy to let them go.

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Supporter 2004-2018

Post   » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:32 pm

I'm so sorry.

Supporter in 2018

Post   » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:27 pm

I'm so very sorry, Webs. Rest in peace, Barley. You are loved and missed, little one.

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