Help! How can I make my bloated pig more comfortable?

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:00 pm


How old is he (without reading back)? Older pigs' body shape changes, similar to an older horse. They'll develop a more pendulous belly, a thinner butt, and a more easily-felt spine, but otherwise be perfectly healthy.

That said, his earlier severe episode may very well have caused some internal distention. We had one pig with this, and any pig with severe (true) bloat has a greater chance of developing it again.

While I agree that things sound okay for now, you're wise to be watchful. One of the best things you could do in my opinion, if your vet will go along with it, is to keep some Reglan on hand and administer it at the *first* sign of any problem.

Is the person that will be caring for them while you're gone experienced with cavies?

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:29 pm


Hey all!

Thanks for all your previous responses and help. James had a pretty good autumn, and then relapsed in bloat over Christmas. We hurried him to the vet and it turned out his teeth had overgrown again, and now the roots of his teeth were growing downwards, so the vet trimmed his teeth and we're hopefully going to get them trimmed again soon to prevent the roots from growing anymore (the vet is concerned about abscesses).

James is back eating a good amount of hay, producing plenty of poops, and has a soft belly. We're easing him off of critical care once again.

However, today I noticed that when he was lying on his side, he was fully on his side - that is, both of his hind feet sticking out parallel-ish to the ground. He never sleeps like this. It seems like sometimes he loses his balance/ability to use his hind legs? On one walk to his hay rack, he fell onto his side and struggled a little to get going again. During a critical care feeding, he was standing normally and then fell over onto his side (my mom saw this one, not me, so I don't know exactly what happened). When he itches, he often rolls entirely onto his side so none of his four feet are on the ground. Again, this is completely unnormal for him. Also, sometimes when chewing he moves his jaw back and forth in a way that signifies discomfort - he was doing this a lot after getting his teeth trimmed, but had stopped once he got comfortable with hay again. He's puffed out, which he does when he's uncomfortable, and his stomach, while soft, seems like it's sunken downwards towards the ground and thinner about the spine than usual.

We're taking him into the vet tomorrow, but I was wondering what you guys would suggest for making him comfortable and getting him through tonight. He has drunken water, pooped a massive amount, and eaten hay today, and we are still giving him critical care to make sure food is moving through him. When we called the vet, the technician told us to give James Metacam - he gets 0.67 ml of 1.5mg/ml Metacam per 24 hours. He's had this dosage before and been fine, but I was reading about Metacam on GL and this dosage seems high (in the past he's been on this dosage for 5 days in a row).

I'm thinking it's either an ear infection or mites. He's been through so much lately and I'm very worried because I've never seen him like this before.

Thanks!

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:59 pm


Mites can definitely cause the behavior you describe. Have you treated him?

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Wed May 23, 2018 6:13 pm


Hi again,

James has been doing very well since the last time we posted! He’s had some rough patches with bloat but nothing we couldn’t handle. However, he has a new mysterious problem that we are having trouble getting to the root of.

A few days ago we noticed that he wasn’t responding like normal to hay being added to his cage, and was puffed out and listless. Every night he gets a little critical care to supplement his hay so he gets vitamins in his diet. He is always very excited for CC, and was that night as well, but stopped midway eating and went and sat with his head in a corner hunched up. At first we thought it might be early symptoms of another bout of bloat, so we put him on the vibrating pad. We also ran him around, and he was doing a strange thing with his stomach where he had it hanging down very low with his upper back hollowed out. The next morning he was still not well, so we continued to force feed him critical care and vibrate him since he was not doing so on his own. His stomach didn’t feel bloated per say but looked distended, and we didn’t know what else to do. We gave him some leftover Metacam and scheduled a vets appointment.

The vet took dental and full body X-rays. He’s previously had teeth problems but the vet said his teeth looked fine and there wasn’t any bloating in his intestines. She decided to do bloodwork because she was worried there could be a kidney problem due to James being almost 6 and him peeing an almost clear pee while they were treating him. The CDC came back fine but I’ve read that in the early stages of renal failure it does not always show up on the blood work. The vet, however, looked at the X-rays again and felt the lungs were hazier than they should be, so she wondered if it was pneumonia. Right now James is on 0.2ml Baytril/12hrs and 0.3ml of Metacam/24hrs. Yesterday (his first full day after the vet) he was eating hay on his own, lapping up critical care, and happy to run around on the floor. Today he is refusing critical care and hay (but will eat pellets), will drink water on his own (has drunken about the normal amount of water for him) and is currently chewing on his house, which to me indicates that he is in pain. Because he is older we are worried this may be the end of the road for him but want to at least keep him as comfortable as possible.

Should we still be concerned about renal failure? I know that metacam is an NSAID which can hurt a weakened kidney. He used to be on a metacam dose of .67 in past cases but the vet lowered it in case he does have renal failure.

Also, do most people’s vets disclose the cost of procedures before doing them? We were surprised by the amount of the vet bill and were not given warning to how much blood work and such would cost :)

Thanks everyone for your help over the years. My mom may hop on later to post more details on his condition but wanted to get this out ASAP.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu May 24, 2018 9:11 am


You have the right to ask about cost at the time of service. This is very important to pet owners. If it is going to be expensive, I want to know ahead of time.

With what you describe I would have suggested looking for stones. I trust your vet looked closely at the xray that was taken.

I am sorry I can't answer your other questions.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu May 24, 2018 12:32 pm


My vet gives me a printed itemized estimate of costs before any procedure, and tells me which ones are absolutely necessary and which ones could be skipped if the cost is too much. He's also nice enough to give me both a multiple animal and a senior discount.

I wouldn't worry abut the metacam. We've seen pigs on it for years with no problems.

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:01 pm


He seemed to be doing better, but then pulled a tag off of a syringe we were given that marked the spot to fill the syringe to (it was stupid to leave it on!!!). Since then his sides have become distended and hard, and he's been very slow passing poops (and usually eats them right afterwards). He won't eat hay but will eat mashed up bits of hay mixed with water, critical care, and pumpkin. We aren't sure how much pumpkin we can give him that's safe. We've been vibrating him a lot on our massage pad. Could the plastic have gotten stuck in his intestines? It's a small plastic tag. This happened roughly two days ago. Ugh!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:57 pm


If he is bloated, this is an emergency. I do not know if the plastic is at fault or not.
www.guinealynx.info/emergency.html#bloat

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:53 pm


He's had bloat before (he had an extremely bad case two years ago which almost took him out and since then will get these cases of extreme constipation off and on) so we're treating it like we usually do - Metacam so he's willing to eat, watery critical care and some pumpkin, plenty of time on the massage pad, rubbing his stomach and getting him to run some. He is passing poops and will eat some hay, so it doesn't seem like a true bloat, but passing stool seems to be painful for him. I guess we will see if it passes and if the plastic passes with it.

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:26 am


Morning update: woke up and he looked a lot better! Sides are soft and no longer distended, fur is sleek, eyes are bright, and came screaming at me for food! Hoping he continues this upwards trend. Thank goodness for pumpkin!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:53 am


Very encouraging! It sounds like you are over the worst. I hope he continues to improve and have good appetite.

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:10 pm


James is not doing well again this morning. His sides are soft but he is refusing to eat so we have to force feed him. His stools are very light colored and few. He is puffed out again and stays in his house all day. Will nose through hay but won't eat it. He has only a few more days on the Baytril. Wondering if this could partly be causing it? He's been on it for over a week with a lot of ups and downs like this.

Honestly at a loss though, so here are a list of observations and I'd be grateful for any guesses as to what is going on.
  • His poops are lighter today and they vary in size. Some are quite long while others are very short and narrow.
  • He refuses to eat but while being syringe fed critical care he sometimes suddenly remembers he is quite hungry and keeps reaching for the syringe. After he will eat a few strands of hay when previously refusing.
  • He chews for a long time after eating critical care. The vet said he has no current teeth problems (in the past he has) and she did take X-rays.
  • Sometimes when eating hay he will drop the strand midway through it, finish chewing his current mouthful, and then pick it up and continue. He used to eat entire pieces at once.
  • He feels a lot thinner. I weighed him this morning and he was at 930 grams. Unfortunately we haven't weighed him in a long long time but his weight used to be just over 1000 grams and this was after not eating much this morning so it hasn't been a severely drastic weight loss (his brother Clouseau fluctuated a lot more when mildly ill).
  • He's had this thing for a while where on the left side of his stomach you could feel a long hard coil/tube on his side. We've always assumed that might be part of his large intestine when constipated? Has anyway else ever felt this on their pig? He squeaks in distress if more than a gentle stroke of pressure is put on it. Usually you can feel it when he is bloated but today his sides are quite soft and the coil is still very hard.
  • He did eat a plastic tag the day before his symptoms fired up again. Could it be stuck on the lining of one of his intestines causing pain?
At this point willing to try anything to get him better.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:16 pm


I am sorry I don't have much in the way of advice to offer. Do look over www.guinealynx.info/antibiotic_advice.html (yes, the Baytril can disrupt things).
Do weigh daily right now. Do you have any pain medication in case it is affecting his appetite or ability to eat?

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:44 pm


My mom has been handling the antibiotics - he's actually been on Baytril for 2.5 weeks. The vet had prescribed 3 weeks. We're taking him off of it now - it's certainly not helping him. We are trying to obtain his X-rays right now. We do have Metacam that we have him on.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:42 pm


I would also consult with the vet and bring up stopping the antibiotic. You don't want to stop giving antibiotics without letting the vet know.

User avatar
JamesandClouseau

Post   » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:18 pm


We called the vet and only the vet tech was still in. The vet tech thought that stopping the Baytril at this point would not make a difference. James did perk up today after his dose of Metacam. We are pulling him from the Baytril anyway; there are only a few days left and he's been weird since we put him on it. We are actually planning on leaving this vet's office; when we took him in for his most recent they did not disclose the costs of any exams they did on him nor told us if the exam would make a difference or not as to whether we would be able to help him recover. We agreed to them and should have definitely asked the cost before each exam but were frazzled - the bill ended up being just short of $1,000. The vet sent out blood work to another lab for additional analysis, and upon calling the vet today to ask about the antibiotic, I asked for the results of the tests. The vet tech checked and apparently our vet has not analyzed them yet - 2 weeks later! In addition, they carried out a prescription for a painkiller for James which we did not approve, and only sent one of the four X-rays they took when we asked for all of the X-rays to be sent to us. We will see how he does without the Baytril

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:16 am


Well, if the vet has not analysed them yet, does that mean that the tests were not run? If so, I would see if you could opt out of getting the tests and apply the funds to future bills.

If a vet has not analysed test results that were performed within two weeks of the tests, that would indicate to me (a lay person) that the tests were not that important. I understand your frustration with this.

Ask again for the other xrays.

Post Reply
37 posts