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.
- 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.
- And got the T-shirt
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.
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.
Thanks for the advice and help!
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.
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.