I spoke with my vet this afternoon. She said sometimes Baytril can lesson piggies' appetites, and if Judith is still in this pattern tomorrow morning, then to stop the Baytril. Talishan - since yesterday you mentioned Baytril could be making her GI worse, I am considering stopping the Baytril sooner, and not giving her the .2 dose due at 11 pm tonight. If you are still up (recognizing it may be late where you are posting/reading from), would you agree with this?
Judith's right eye has some crusties and completely closes once in a while -- I'm not sure if she's getting sleepy from the drugs and/or a watery eye is a side effect of one of the drugs ...
Still not a lot of poop for the amount of food/water I'm putting into her, which is making me quite nervous. This morning I re-read the info about bloat. I'm trying to get Judith to move around a bit by moving her hidey house and putting my hand behind her to get her to walk across the cage to get back in it. Got her to do a few laps of the 2x5 cage this way, in hopes that will help get things moving. I could not find a vibrating pillow (the local Fred Meyer sells them only during the holidays). I have a pressure point vibrating thing from my naturopath but the vibration is very intense and it seemed to scare Judith. I'm trying massage here and there but have no idea what I'm doing and whether I'm even in the right spot/direction. I can't seem to locate any videos, which might be useful in case anyone knows of one (?).
I'm also going to try making my own food mixture next with ground pellets and pumpkin.
Thank you, and thanks for thinking good thoughts for Judith! I'm so worried about her ...
- You can quote me
Vibrating: 1. Put her in a carrier and drive her around for a little bit. If there's a mildly bumpy road and some railroad tracks available, drive over them (at low speed ;-). The vibration from the car has gotten results for some of ours.
Option 2: if the spin cycle on your washer isn't too rough, put her on a thick pad of towels and hold her on top of the washer (assuming top-loading machine) as a laundry load goes through the spin cycle.
If your machine is old-ish and tends to go off balance this might be too rough for her, but if it's fairly smooth it might really help.
I have taken gabapentin once in my life and it knocked me clean on my a**. Slept for hours, could barely get out of bed. A guinea pig's GI and drug metabolism are of course significantly different from a human's, but if she's reacting anything like I did, some of her lethargy could be from the gabapentin (if you're using it). Consider reducing the dose.
Crusty eyes and lethargy can also indicate dehydration. If you haven't already, try offering her unflavored Pedialyte (infants' electrolyte solution). Many pigs love this and will take several cc's at a time willingly.
Have you tried the Bio-Sponge? My gut hunch (no pun intended) is that there may be some residual toxin in her GI that that may help with.
Keep going. From what you describe you are not (yet, anyway) at the "pointless-and-this-is-cruel" point. Hang in with her. Guinea pigs will sometimes turn the corner when you are on your last nerve and have pulled out your last hair, and not one minute before. :-/
I've done a few rounds of 3 cc's of pedialyte today and also tried a version of Talishan's 'pipeline' feeding by using the syringe to pull up critical care; then pedialyte; then a little bit of 'juice' I made from pedialyte, water, 1 sprig parsley, 1 sprig cilantro, two blueberries, one leaf lettuce, some pumpkin baby food, ground up alfalfa pellets, two slices of carrot; then more critical care; etc. until I had 12 cc worth. (Thanks to 'daveandtiff's recipe for the idea that I found in Legend's medical thread.)
Perhaps a dumb question, but is there a loose rule of thumb as to how much Pedialyte to give a piggy in one sitting, and would this replace the 3-4 cc of water I'm giving every 3-4 hours? Should I also do water or is that too much liquid?
The gentle massage from the running dryer seems to be well received -- Judith seemed to like cuddling on my arm and chilling there. (Washing machine was a bit too loud and thankfully the dryer doesn't get very hot and I only held her on there for 10 mins at a time.) That said, Judith is pooping only a little here and there -- probably 12-15 poops throughout the day, including two squirts of diarrhea, a couple of "baby" pellets, and the others just little wet ones that seem very painful for her to push out. (Sorry if I'm being too graphic here!). She is still very bloated on both sides of her belly. She just cried out while passing a poop a few minutes ago. I have a call into the ER vet (to ask about tapping, another pain med, and/or another fluid injection -- whether any of these things are in order). But the cost is getting to be concerning -- this particular vet is a bit procedure happy -- they will not do x-rays without anesthesia and I don't feel comfortable with that again, for Judith's well being nor for the cost.
In the meantime I am worried about putting more critical care into Judith's swollen tummy. Doesn't seem like there's enough output for the input. Would you agree? Or should I keep at it?
I stopped the gapabentin as of 26 hours ago. Judith had a half dose of metacam two hours ago. But is still in great pain. Wondering about going back to the gabapentin, after all, despite the drawbacks...
I asked my vet yesterday about Bio-Sponge and she hadn't heard of it and didn't know where to get it. Since I had been seeing poops that morning when I talked to her, she felt that our course of action with the Cisapride and Metroclopramiden was working.
Fatiguing, and quite discouraged...
I bought my vibrating pillow from Amazon, in the baby section. It seemed to work on my Fuzz as she pooped everytime I put her up on it.
- You can quote me
Tapping is a tricky and dangerous procedure that only a very skilled vet can do. It's usually used when there's a huge gas bubble that's effectively blocking the intestine. From what you describe I don't think it's appropriate, but I am NOT a vet.
Pedialyte: as much as she'll take. Some of ours have slurped down 20+ cc's at a time. Yes, it replaces water -- you don't have to do both. (Our pigs generally prefer it chilled; they take more if it's cold.)
Pain med: ask about Tramadol. This is a relatively mild narcotic that is nowhere near as zonking as buprenorphine or butorphanol, but can be significantly better at pain management than the NSAIDs like Metacam. We have never noted it to slow the GI, as some narcotics can.
Around midnight last night I noticed a sloshing sound near Judith's nose while administering her meds. I kept going, but while working on getting the fluids down I realized there was a soft, rhythmic rattled sound to Judith's breathing. I was very scared that I had somehow gotten fluid into her lungs. She was at my bedside all night and I stopped hearing the odd breathing sound after a couple of hours. There was a lovely pile of pellets waiting for me, too, so it seemed good -- and Judith's perky personality started showing itself here and there. So I started back up on CC and fluids this morning, but again heard the sloshing sound ... although I was still able to get down her cisapride and some Critical Care and water. But then the raspy breathing noise returned.
Brought her into the vet (not my regular vet but her colleague), and she agreed Judith's lungs didn't sound very good. We did not do another x-ray as the same course of action regardless -- putting her on Sulkaprim.
I went home just in time to administer that and the rest her morning meds, but as soon as I gave her half of the sulkaprim I heard the sloshing noise again. I panicked, thinking it was fluid that she wasn't swallowing -- and took her right back to the vet. I was sure that Judith had lost the ability to swallow and that it might be time to humanely euthanize her. A vet-tech who was quite calm and wonderful administered all the meds while I watched from a better view, where I could see that Judith was indeed swallowing just fine and took the meds just fine. Phew!
Brought her back home much more confident and I've been able to get lots of CC into her body today, along with Pedialyte, which she is starting to enjoy, I'd say. She also ate a tiny piece of lettuce, along with a sprig of parsely and a half piece of hay. Progress! I haven't seen a lot of poop in a long time, though, so we had a few dryer sessions and it is clear that Judith is in a fair bit of pain with her big bloated belly. But she is definitely perking back up and getting a bit feisty, rather than hunched over immobile in pain, or floppy and almost lethargic.
I ordered the vibrating pillow from Amazon -- thank you, GrannyJu! And I will ask my regular vet about Tramadol tomorrow. As of right now Judith is still on the metacam and the vet I saw today thought it might be good to put her back on the once a day dose for now, to give her some bigger hits of pain relief. The half dose hasn't really seemed to be doing much for her pain from what I can tell -- will be interesting to see how it is looking toward the end of this dose tomorrow midday. The vet had suggested if it's not cutting it, then putting her on buprenorphine -- but I will definitely ask about the Tramdol as an alternative.
Thank you, all, for sticking with us as this continues ... we are hopefully on the up and up!
Judith's bloat is almost better. She is interested in food again -- eating small pieces of red leaf lettuce here and there, some hay (not much), and while giving her water by syringe, she is reaching toward it and interested in more - grabbing the syringe from me to get to it. A few times when she sees me coming (or going near the 'fridge), she does a muted version of her usual announcement noises, sounding happy. Her belly gets lumpy after eating, but she hasn't been hunched up in pain from it.
That said ... it has been two steps forward and one step back. Since Tuesday Judith seems to have lost the ability to move her back legs. It is getting a bit worse day by day. I have taken her to the vet every single day this week -- so the vet can closely monitor her progress. On Tuesday we took her back off the Sulkaprim she'd been on for 24 hours, in case the legs were a reaction to that. (Lungs sounded better, too.) Yesterday (Wednesday) we took her off the metronitazole to try that. My vet said that sometimes in dogs that can cause neurological issues, though not usually affecting legs, but worth a try, anyway. This morning we took another x-ray to find out if somehow she'd been injured with all the towel wraps/critical care feedings. Thankfully, nothing is broken and all is in tact. So as of today the vet is thinking that perhaps whatever infection she had could be affecting her back/spinal cord. She also mentioned that there is a rare chance of e. cuniculi parasite -- she said not very common in guinea pigs, but possible. I have looked that up a little here and on a couple of rabbit forums (as the vet said it is more common in rabbits), and am beyond freaked out. If that is what she has, then from what I gather Judith's leg damage is not reversible, even if we treat the parasite which the vet said is a 30-day medication.
For now we have re-started the gabapentin, as the vet said it can sometimes be quite helpful with legs. I've also given Judith a bit of infant anti-gas drops (simethecone) -- as the xray showed just a few gas bubbles at this point -- definitely much clearer but the vet wanted to be sure we're getting those through and getting her GI tract happier.
I am fatiguing on the critical care and syringe feeding, but trying to stick with it all the same -- worse, Judith is definitely fatiguing with it. She cries every time I put the CC near her mouth, and really puts up a fight, clenching her jaw with all her might. The crying sound she makes is heart-breaking, as is watching her lie flat on the cage, spread eagle, unable to move around. She is almost completely dependent on me for water. I have several water bottles very low to the cage floor if she decides to scoot to them, but she's not doing a lot of scooting right now. Which means if she poops she lies in it (though I try to pick it up quickly), and if she is leaning on her water bottle she gets her fur all wet.
Hoping that her legs will miraculously improve and it is not e. cuniculi. If it is, I am also sick to my stomach thinking about my other two piggies who are likely in danger.
So for now I am hopefully waiting to see what the next 24 hours brings, knowing that if this is Judith's quality of life then I will not continue to make her suffer. Just not wanting to give up too soon, either. Ugh! Please share if you have any ideas at all, and thank you in advance.
Hoping for more improvement and hoping she starts eating on her own. Some people put balls of moistened Critical Care on a plate and their guinea pig will eat it.
Scatter's Medical Thread:
Flossie's Medical Thread:
- You can quote me
If pressure (from anything, bloat/stasis included) bears on this junction you can get a temporary paralysis.
My gut hunch is that she will slowly recover. Her mobility may not return to complete normal, but her ability to scoot/hop around will incrementally return.
We rigged up, for one of our pigs, a rack made of a straight grid, attached with binder clips and bungee cords, to a bent grid and put a water bottle on this. We moved it around as needed so that it stayed in front of the pig.
Multiple water bottles are good, too.
Keep going. You're making progress, don't get discouraged. Keep going.
I write with the very sad news that she passed today. Despite some of those small glimmers of hope, Judith's hind legs continued to fail -- her front legs were beginning to go, too, with her toes curling into little balls. I also tried some vitamin C for a few days but that didn't seem to have effect, either. She couldn't even scoot, and she cried so much every time I started with her meds or critical care that I really just did not see any quality of life for her. Over the last 36 hours or so, she seemed quite depressed, lying like a pancake on the cage floor and hardly looking up, no longer interested in hay or eating veggies that even yesterday had appealed.
I took Judith outside to sit on my lap with a little while this morning, promising no meds or pokes. She finally stopped crying and seemed to enjoy looking at the sky and hearing birds and bees flit around us and simply cuddling like the good old days prior to this crisis starting two weeks ago.
The vet saw Judith again today and agreed that euthanizing her was the humane thing to do at this point, though still stumped as to what caused all of this. She is no longer thinking e. cuniculi, as Judith didn't have a head tilt or spinning, as can be characteristic in rabbits with it. She thought if it were the Baytril, Judith's legs would have been getting better more than a week later, nor would the front legs start to decline. (I'm guessing the same line of thinking would apply if pressure on that nerve junction, but I forgot to ask.)
The vet mentioned the possibility of lymphocyctic choriomeningitis, which usually occurs in wild mice. The symptoms don't quite fit, however Judith's mother was found (pregnant) at a park before she was brought to the shelter, so I suppose she could have caught this and passed it along. Mom had died two weeks after nursing/weaning Judith, supposedly from toxemia.
It is painful not knowing for sure what happened, and it is so very shocking she didn't pull through. We just celebrated Judith's first birthday last month. She was such a spunky, feisty, fun piggy and we all miss her so much already. Again, thank you all for your support and help.