3yo Boar with possible gastric ulcer

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Post   » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:28 pm

Hello all,
New member here. Experienced cavy owner. A little background: My boy Trapper (3yo neutered Boar) came from our local piggie rescue March 17’. He only weighed 700g and had ringworm around his eyes. In July he had bulked up to 920g and ringworm cleated when he suddenly stopped eating, lethargic and appeared to be in pain. After rushing him to our exotics vet, he was diagnosed with a severe inner ear infection that had made its way into the bone. He was prescribed .35mL of Baytril for 6 weeks, .3mL metacam 1x/day and .8mL of hydromet for pain as needed. Trapper did well and bounced back after the full 6 week course of antibiotics. A month later he relapsed again but even worse. He was additionally diagnosed with regenerative anemia possible due to the ear infection. All other blood work was normal. Kidney values were normal but his kidney showed calcifications on his X-rays. He was prescribed .25mL chloramphenicol 3x day/ for 6 weeks, hydromet and metacam as needed again for pain. He really struggled with inappetence which lasted 3 weeks. Trapper was supplemented with Critical care and Fauna Flora probiotic 4x a day. His weight dropped to 766g during this time. End of course, weight back up to 900g and eating, pooping normally. Within 1 week, relapsed again. This time even worse. Dropped 120g in 36 hours. Vet thought maybe 1 kidney had stopped working. All blood work was normal except the anemia was back. Went to have a contrast test done to test kidney function plus CBC and X-rays. X-rays showed the kidney no longer had calcifications. While trying to inject dye for kidney test, his vein blew so was not completed. Sent him home. Put him back on pain meds and the chloramphenicol.25mL 3x/day. He appeared to be in more pain this time around. Based on the regenerative anemia, they suspected a bleeding gastric ulcer. Trapper was placed on .35mL Prilosec 1x/day. He had started to bounce back, eat on his own, energetic, weight up to 850g prior to starting the Prilosec 5 days ago. Since then, weight dropped to 720g, completely stopped eating and drinking on his own. Been syringing him fluids, cc and probiotic every 3-4 hours and he’s going back to vet this afternooon. Anyone have any experience with gastric ulcers in piggies or prolonged inne ear bone infections? Thank you!

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:11 pm

I lost a pig to a perforated gastric ulcer. The prognosis is really poor, and it might be the kindest thing to have him euthanized.

As you've discovered, it's a very painful problem. Since guinea pigs must have food moving through their gut at all times, you can't ease up on the food to keep from aggravating the ulcer. Pigs constantly secrete stomach acid, so food is the only thing that helps absorb/dilute that. But it also aggravates the ulcer.


Post   » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:42 pm

thank you for getting back, Bpatters.

I unfortunately figured that was going to be the case. The poor boy has basically been sick since non-stop for 10 months and my husband and I were thinking that maybe he's just tired of fighting.

He's going to the vet in another hour and half and frankly I don't know what if anything they can do for him. I have been down this road 2x in the past 12 months and making the decision to not be selfish and end their suffering just shatters me.

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Post   » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:46 pm

I am so sorry about your guinea pig. The severe weight fluctuations are so difficult.


Post   » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:11 pm

Update on Trapper:

Vet gave him sub q fluids plus Vit C/B12 at my request which seemed to perk him up. His xray showed a fair amount of gas in his gut due to his lack of eating. His kidneys looked normal and blood work was perfect. Asked for them to xray his head to check the progress of the ear infection as that had not been xray'd since July. X-ray showed positive progress in the clearing of the bone infection. When I brought up the possibility of antibiotic intolerance with the chloramphenicol she agreed that it could very well be the issue. We opted to stop the AB, continue the omneprozole for his gastric ulcers and added a motility drug to help get his gut moving properly again. She had me compound the motility drug with pediatric gas drops to give him 2x a day. Trapper showed some improvement last night and this morning with a weight increase of 40g from yesterday afternoon. I went home at lunch to check on him and mix him some "poop soup" with CC and give him fluids when his weight had dropped 15g since this morning and he appeared to be in pain despite getting the full dose of hydromet this AM. I have a feeling that we will be making another trip back to the vet tomorrow morning. The only course of action that was discussed was trying to sample the ear infection by sedating him and puncturing the ear drum so that they can do a culture to find out exactly what we are dealing with. I did notice Trapper straining to urinate right after he had just had a nice large wee a few minutes before. Strangely I was greeted by a nice pile of poo pellets when I checked on him. I really wish we could figure out exactly what is ailing my little man. We really are clueless at this point.
Thanks for the love and support <3

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Post   » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:27 pm

I wish I had some useful advice to add. I take it when with the xrays that were done, you saw no sign of stones? I wondered since you mentioned straining to urinate.

I don't know if you've run across the info on interstitial cystitis, but there are some links here:

I hope you can find a course of treatment that works! I know how hard it is on both you and your guinea pig.

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Post   » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:51 pm

I don't have any experience at all with Hydromet. What is the dosing range on it for small animals? I've heard of it being prescribed for cough in humans, but not for pain in guinea pigs. I'm just tossing this out there and it may not be relevant, but I'm wondering if the combination of Metacam and Hydromet could be causing either kidney or gastric issues. If I remember correctly, NSAIDs and hydrocodone should not be taken together.


Post   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:46 pm

Hi Guys,
So a lot has changed with Trapper recently which is why I haven't been on here. The Hyrdromet dosage for Trapper who weighs 815g is 0.8mL 2x/day. I had my 7yo boar on it and Metacam for almost 7 months for severe arthritis in his hips with no issues with the kidneys.

As of last week, Trapper had been making great improvement. I INSISTED he come off the chloramphenicol and put him on the baytril. Within 3-4 days, he was a new piggie. He gained about 100g back in a week and was up to his old antics until last Tuesday. I noticed his breathing was slightly labored. Took him to the vet later that day and xray indicated he had fluid in his lungs. The fluid was removed via thoracentesis and had less than .1ml in each lung. A sample was sent off for a cytology test and he had a CBC/ chem panel on his blood. Blood showed a slight elevation in lymphocytes, regenerative anemia was back but all other values were normal. The consensus was that it was either lymphoma or heart failure. He started improving immediately after having the fluid removed and continued to eat like crazy and gain weight. Suddenly, yesterday his breathing was much worse. Took him back in and he saw a different vet as ours is on vacation (saw Dr. K for any of you that watch NatGeo wild). Fluid was back in lungs, cytology report still had not come back so she opted to remove the fluid again and place him on a diuretic to ease his breathing.
His breathing only continued to get worse last night and this morning, he looked positively miserable. I maxed him out on the hydromet but we are taking him in tomorrow morning for a 'reassessment' and probably be PTS.

I do not know what else we could have done to try and help him. We have spent so much money (that we don't have) to do everything we could for him. I just feel so heartbroken and devastated since we have had him only 10 months and he has been sick most of the time. I guess all I can do is make sure I keep him comfy and give his as many kisses and snuggles.

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Post   » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:26 pm

I am so sorry he has struggled with all these issues. I can only suggest reading over www.guinealynx.info/heart.html The diuretics given guinea pigs along with heart medications can really help.

I do understand if you do not want to go down the road of trying something else. You sound so sad and have tried so hard to get him healthy.


Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:27 am

Hi Lynx,
He somehow perked up on Friday and Saturday morning he went in with us since our new adopted piggy needed a wellness exam. Seems that the diuretic has helped and the cytology results from the lung fluid were inconclusive. So, he is now on Epogen (sp?) injections 3x/week to help him produce more red blood cells. He is still eating like a pig, drinking well and gaining some weight. The breathing hasn't gotten any worse. I swear he has 9 lives! Anyway, aside from some bloody urine (he passed a small bladder stone the other day) he seems much better. Our regular vet suggested taking him off the metacam and putting him on steriods to treat him for possible lymphoma. We told the vet that our only interest at this point is ensuring he is comfortable and having quality of life. These few extra days that we have gotten with him have been great.

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