First time dealing with pig operation, any advice and encouragement welcome

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:59 am


Hello all, sorry I've been absent for so many months. Ginger is going in today to get a bladder stone removed.

I'm pretty nervous, not least because I've never dealt with this before. I'm sure that sounds surprising, as I've had quite a lot of pigs, but they have all either lived their lives without serious illness, or had illness so serious as to be inoperable when it was discovered (eg inoperable cancer). So I've dealt with having to put pigs to sleep and with various other treatments, but never an actual operation.

One of the things I'm puzzled about is what to do with his brother. The vet's office suggested bringing them both in together, and certainly he will be less stressed if he's not alone, but I'm worried his brother will play rough with him after the op, and feel like they should be separated. But I'm not sure what this will do to their relationship. Any thoughts?

I'm encouraged that when I mentioned risks of anaesthetic to the vet, he was quite relaxed, and said research has advanced a lot into how to safely anaesthetise guinea pigs. I am still worried we might lose him, but having a confident vet is reassuring.

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:40 am


Actually it was fine as regards his brother - they were happy to take in both pigs and keep them together until the op, then separate them afterwards. All I have to do is bring an extra box so I can carry them home separately.

I like this vet.

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:56 am


Also, sorry if this is in the wrong forum, please do move it if so - the subject is medical but I'm not sure I'll add anything to the body of knowledge as it's just a typical bladder stone situation.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:50 am


I hope all goes well for your guinea pig! Do read over all the postop advice, especially pain management. Click on the links to more of Talishan's advice:
www.guinealynx.info/postop.html

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:53 pm


Thanks, Lynx. So far he is looking good, groggy but eating. I could not believe the size of the stone! It must have been bothering him for months :(

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:09 pm


Just some interesting notes on differences in our vet's practice from what I had expected reading up on here:

- They did not impose nil by mouth, which I had expected. In fact they asked me to pack a lunch and offered the pig food before and after the op.

- As I mentioned, they did not expect the patient to come alone and expected and encouraged us to bring his cage mate with him.

- They did not actually separate the pig from his cage mate after the op, as they said they had been behaving well, and they advised against separating them at home unless it was necessary. They seemed very concerned with not disrupting bonding or causing fights on reintroduction.

- They have not given us pain meds but instead have given a dose today and want him back in two days' time to see how he is doing.

From the way they talk, they have dealt with a lot of pigs with bladder stones before. This is not a dedicated small animal vet but a general practice, but I'm impressed with their knowledge and particularly with how they treat the pigs as a pair, rather than individuals that can be separated without consequences.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:34 pm


Guinea pigs don't fast before surgery. They can't vomit, so there's almost no danger of aspiration, which is the reason for not feeding other animals.

I'd go back and get pain meds. If he needs them, and he probably will, he'll need them before two days is up. No pain med lasts 48 hours.

Do keep a close eye on them. Pigs can sense when something is wrong with another pig, and will sometimes bully them. If you do have to separate, just divide the cage somehow, rather than putting them in separate cages.

Good luck for an uneventful recovery. But do expect the second day to be rougher than the first. After that, you should see pretty dramatic improvement.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:13 pm



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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:28 pm


Thanks for that, none of those signs so far, we'll keep our eyes open. He's still doing well, stuffing his face. I'm amazed, despite the wound and anaesthetic, he looks happier and more like himself than he did this morning, when he was picking at his food and looking miserable. He is a big bruiser of a pig with a big appetite usually. Hopefully that will give him the strength he needs.

Interesting point about the chewing, he was doing that a bit before we realised he was ill - at one point he looked me right in the eye and started chewing on the wooden edging of the guinea pig garden, as if trying to make a point. He was biting great lumps out of it - and he does not chew on things like that. Poor pig was probably really hurting.

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:22 pm


Just to say Ginger is really doing well, eating lots and has a real air of determination about him. On reflection I'm glad he's the one this happened to rather than Biscuit, who has never had as big an appetite and does not have any weight to spare. We're going back to the vet tomorrow, hopefully he will get a good report.

Thanks for the advice and help!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:55 pm


Encouraging news!

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:22 pm


Ginger is still doing great, he's eating hay at a furious rate. He lost 180g in the course of all this, from 1.2kg down to 1.02kg. Almost all of that was lost before the op. He's back up to 1.08 already.

I'm only worried that he's not drinking much, and the vet's opinion is that that's probably the only area we can do anything to reduce his risk of recurrence. We're experimenting with giving him water by syringe. He is not impressed.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:30 pm


Flavor it with a little something he likes. I've never had a pig turn down water with some watermelon juice in it.

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:53 pm


I'll try that, thanks.

4lilPigs

Post   » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:39 pm


I mix flavorless Pedilyte with their water when they are ill to get them to drink and it is like piggie crack to them!! Although the watermelon juice definitely sounds tastier!

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:55 pm


Tried a dash of watermelon juice in the syringe of water and he went mad for it. Is it worth putting a little in the actual drinking bottle? I was thinking of juicing this melon and freezing it as cubes, then sticking a cube in when I fill the water bottle in the morning. But he loves it so much I am a little nervous in case he drinks TOO much!

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:58 pm


Also, should I be concerned about the diuretic effect? Watermelon makes me pee like crazy. But perhaps that is a good thing when trying to avoid bladder stones?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:18 pm


I'd worry about mold in the water. But if you change it twice a day, it should be ok.

And no, I wouldn't worry about the diuretic effect. More pee is better.

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Catt of the Garage

Post   » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:18 am


Ginger has developed another stone. Really frustrated and worried about the future
He was just at a good stage of recovery, doing really well and back to his normal weight when he started making sore noises again.

So back to surgery he goes. Vet is trying to find any solution to stop this happening again but so far has found nothing in research but the usual - low calcium diet, lots of fluids.

Just how many times is it reasonable to put a little animal like this through surgery? He's a tough pig but if it's going to go on at this rate, it seems a bit much. But he's such a lovely pig and he's only three.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:07 am


I'm sorry.

Some pigs will develop stones no matter what. We've got one person on the board that had a pig develop stones again less than a week after surgery.

Most vets that I know of aren't willing to do more than two, possibly three cystotomies.

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