Wedgwood - let's start with bloat/torsion

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PooksiedAnimals
Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:42 pm


I'll start with the vet's diagnosis: partial stomach torsion. It makes me sick to even think of it. Meanwhile, Wedgwood is looking like the happy little pig she always is. WTF.

Backstory: Wedgwood started to lose weight gradually after Boadicea died in October. I chalked it up to lack of competition for food - the weight loss was gradual and she lost about 100g she'd gained after I adopted her. Puzzling, but not alarming. She went from about 1100g to 980 and stayed there. In March she had a couple of off days dipping to 920g, at which point I told her if she continued with that, she'd head to the vet. Then we adopted Mabel in May. I was again puzzled that she didn't start gaining, but remained in the 950g range. Otherwise, looked and acted fine.

Then, just over a week ago, I looked in the cage in the evening and Wedgwood looked like a little balloon. Moving and active and acting like her usual self except that she was nearly twice her normal size. Stuffed her with simethicone, held her for a bit and massaged her. She didn't seem at all uncomfortable, and within two hours she looked normal. Since it passed so quickly and she looked fine the next morning, I didn't call the vet. She had an immediate drop in weight, but was back to normal in 24 hours. Had soft stools for a day or so after. Continued with random simethicone and some probiotic for a day or two.

I started watching her. It happened again on the 4th. Did the same thing again (no discomfort, eating and drinking and pooping the whole time), she started looking better in a few hours. But now it' wasn't a one-off, and we went to the vet. Xrays showed a ton of gas and what looked like a twisted stomach. No pain, she looks totally normal (other than a shaved belly from an ultrasound). Vet is doing research and I'll hear from her by Wednesday. Possibly surgery?

I'm just in shock. Every time I hear of bloat (and certainly of torsion) I hear of pain and suffering. I'm freaked out that this will suddenly become acute and Wedg will keel over in terrible pain. I'm heading on vacation in a week for several days, not sure if it's better to bring her with me or leave her at home (but I don't want to have Rob responsible for her - because that could suck if something happens). So for now it's wait and see, stuff her full of simethicone and probiotics and keep my fingers crossed. I'm just so puzzled about how long she's had this, why she hasn't been in pain, and feel awful I didn't bring her in earlier. What the hell?

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mmeadow
Supporter 2004-2018

Post   » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:31 pm


Yikes, Pooksie, that is indeed worrisome and freaky--we've never heard of partial torsion; perhaps if it doesn't cause obvious discomfort, it's been missed? I hope the vet comes up with some answer ASAP!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:05 pm


It does sound worrisome. I hope you can come up with something to help. Meanwhile, perhaps lots of probiotics in an attempt to discourage the gas producing bacteria? Are the poops at all soft? I wonder if some Bio-Sponge could help -- or the primary ingredient (I just wrote about it, don't recall the name).

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PooksiedAnimals
Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:05 am


She's getting doses of simethicone and probiotic daily. Right now I'm giving her some bene-bac once a day. Should I give more? I don't want to upset her stomach with too much.

Biosponge. I hadn't thought of that. I'll look into it.

I had briefly wondered if her leap off the couch last September could have started it. She had an initial drop in weight right at that time, but then immediately bounced back. But then she lost Boadicea a few weeks later, and I attributed the gradual weight loss to the lack of having competition for food. (It's more fun to eat when there's someone to steal food from). Her biggest weight loss was just before we adopted Mabel. It was only after we had Mabel for a week or two I started to get suspicious about Wedgwood's weight, because I had expected it to bounce back now that she had someone to boss around and steal from. So I'm making a wild guess this may have started in April? It just all seems so unlikely.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:13 am


Ah, bentonite is the primary ingredient in Bio-Sponge.
Read this post. Consider these other products as more reasonable in price:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=76646&p=2286521&hilit=bentonite#p2286521

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PooksiedAnimals
Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:27 am


Finally heard back from the vet. Wedgwood is going in for a recheck early August, then I think I'm going to schedule her for surgery. Ugh. I hate putting a pig under the knife, especially anything to do with their digestive tract. But I don't think the twist will take care of herself, and the idea of it suddenly getting worse at some point when I can't do anything about it is really scary.

Wedg had one more round of bloat the day after seeing the vet. This time it was painful and I was really worried by Monday morning. But then she suddenly came out of it on Monday noon. She's been good since. Her weight is way too low, but it comes up some times to the 920gs. She's been in good spirits and her poo looks normal.

No veggies. That's been hard (although a trip to the Cape upset everyone's schedule, so she didn't notice so much). I got permission from the vet to give Wedg the occasional piece of corn husk, which should satisfy her when she begs for treats.

The last time I scheduled surgery that was put off for a month or so was with Bertie. She died the week before the surgery. So the irrational side of me is freaked that once I set a date, Wedg will punt before I get there. So I'm trying to focus on the good and not invite trouble.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:31 am


I understand all your worry. I am hoping this is fixable but realize how difficult this surgery may be. Keep us updated on how she is doing.

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PooksiedAnimals
Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:17 pm


We went for a recheck on Monday, after another episode of bloat on Friday. This is not fun. On top of it all, Wedg has ringworm on her nose. Seriously? This isn't fair! Xrays showed that the no veg/daily simethicone, daily probiotic had eliminated a lot of the gas in her system. So yay for that. However, with more research, Dr Holmes was unwilling to operate. She was confident Wedgwood would come through the surgery fine, but was worried that tacking the stomach in place would end up with a high risk of septicemia. So we're stuck in the current holding pattern. I was not happy about this, because even though Wedg may have looked better on xray, she's not gaining weight back, and doesn't look and feel right.

Vet called yesterday - more research indicated that this sort of problem can be a secondary symptom to an abscess or something else wrong in the stomach area, and surgery to fix that is not as risky. So she's back onboard with surgery. Now I'm even more worried about the risks, but to not go for the surgery is the guarantee of a slow decline. And I don't think I'm up for another long, drawn-out declining pig. Does anyone have any first-hand experience with this? Surgery is slated for the 21st. I'm pulling together more questions to ask before going forward with it, but I'm still inclined to do it and give Wedg a chance at a full recovery. Ack - why is it never easy?!?!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:30 pm


I hope you see improvement. I am with the vet on the possible complications of intestinal surgery. I am unsure if exploratory surgery (how you describe) is the answer either. Whatever route you take, I hope you have success!

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GrannyJu1
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:40 am


You're both in my thoughts. Good luck with everything.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:55 pm


I've never had experience with this, but I hope you can resolve it.

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Tracy

Post   » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:41 am


Haven't visiting these forums in a while, but saw your blog post via CavyMadness, Pooksied. I asked 2 friends who are exotics vets... one said torsion is almost always an emergency with animal going downhill, not an on-and-off thing. The other said "yes, GDV is a thing in guinea pigs." I didn't know that acronym for gastric dilitation volvulus but did a search and found these, which may be helpful:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29256283
https://www.facebook.com/cavysavyguineapigcommunity/posts/921772291189305:0 (this one has other URLs embedded)
https://www.vetstream.com/treat/exotis/guinea-pigs/diseases/gastric-dilatation-and-volvulus
You probably read this one already, but for the sake of compiling some links here: viewtopic.php?t=20152
Long article with many details and links in the sources: http://jcore-reference.highwire.org/content/46/3/174

Anyway, from what I've read thus far, it sounds like untreated torsion is not a slow decline at all but may be a very rapid emergency and death (not to be morbid or scare you)... and having experienced a few quick piggy deaths I personally think they are better than the slow declines, endless vet trips, and constant worry. That said, she's young and not in such rough shape, so a good surgical candidate. Tough decision.

Please keep us posted, and kisses to Wedgwood!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:34 am


Here is the abstract from Tracis first link:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29256283

Review of gastric torsion in eight guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus).
Abstract
The authors present eight cases of gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) in guinea pigs from the Department and Clinic of Exotic Animal and Wildlife Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary between 2012 and 2016. Seven animals were operated on and two survived. Gastric torsion has been noted in many mammalian species. Gastric volvulus has a high morbidity and high mortality rate with a guarded to poor prognosis in all of these species. How GDV develops is still not widely understood. Postmortem examinations, in both our cases and previously reported cases, have failed to reveal the exact causes of the gastric torsions. The aetiology of gastric torsion in guinea pigs is probably multifactorial. Feeding fewer meals per day, eating rapidly, decreased food particle size, exercise, stress after a meal, competition, age, and an aggressive or fearful temperament, are all likely and potential risk factors for GDV development in a similar fashion to dogs. Sex, breeding, dental diseases, anatomical abnormalities, pain and pregnancy may also be contributing factors.
It would seem the study above, they are trying to logically think of anything that would have contributed to the torsion.

The facebook post has a couple anecdotal guesses that broccoli, not usually given, may have been involved. We have mentioned it as a possible cause for bloat (crucifers in general).

No time to check out the other links at the moment.

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Tracy

Post   » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:18 am


Sorry I didn't mention "findings" from those links -- there's a lot to read through.

On a personal note, I adopted a piggy from a shelter that was feeding cauliflower to their piggies; her mother and sister had just died "inexplicably" and I suspect maybe bloat was the cause. I removed the cauliflower each time I visited (I needed 3 visits to decide what/who was best for my solo piggy at home) and finally decided to rescue the survivor piggy before she joined her relatives. I'm sure Pooksied doesn't feed cruciferous veggies to her pigs, but wanted to emphasize they are linked to bloat and should be avoided.

There was an interesting mention (in one of those links) about torsion possible from flipping piggies on their backs... also perhaps twisting during Xrays. It's scary to think their GI system may be that fragile, to twist from body positioning. But most write-ups also agree there's not much info, the cases studied were mostly during necropsies, and we need to learn more overall. Another mysterious condition in piggies right now, unfortunately.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:16 pm


Oh, don't worry about not posting an analysis. Links are good. In my opinion, it is hard to pull out relevant information so it makes sense.

I sometimes post stuff to help me see a larger picture.

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PooksiedAnimals
Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:40 am


This is partial torsion. And from what I read, partial torsion presents exactly like what I've seen in Wedgwood - a slow, unexplained decrease in weight, until it gets the eventual classic symptoms. Yes, I read the stuff on full torsion, which is why when the vet first suggested surgery, I was all over that. So imagine my shock when she took it off the table. And my worry of waiting a month for the re-check. Ack! I think about it too much and I freak out.

Dr Holmes doesn't think that the stomach will twist all the way - that it will remain partial. But it's obvious that even cutting all the veggies and everything else hasn't stopped the episodes of bloat entirely. Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday - a week from today. I have a bad track record of my pigs keeling over before surgery, so I'm really vigilant right now. We do not want her to be in an emergency situation for the surgery.

Dr Holmes is hoping the twist is caused by a tumor, or some growth. I suspect that the torsion may have started (or been made worse) when Wedgwood leapt off the couch about 1 year ago. The weight loss started last September.

What I can't find, but really would like to find, is a paper done by Dr. Alexandra Kilgore. I found the title (and now have lost it again).

This is not torsion caused by bloat. This is definitely the other way around, from the symptoms I've seen and how Wedgwood looks.

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Tracy

Post   » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:40 am


Yes, not torsion caused by bloat -- the other way around. Sending good vibes!

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PooksiedAnimals
Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:42 am


So - for any of you doing research on my behalf - thank you. The more information, the better. Seriously.

However, I was contacted Dr Holmes this morning after she'd talked to another vet in the area last night. Someone suggested to this other vet that they should do Wedgwood's surgery, not mine. I can't tell you how upsetting this is. I trust Dr. Holmes. If she tells me she can do the surgery, then she's doing the surgery. The fact she's asking if I want someone else to do it? She shouldn't have to ask. And knowing it was my posts online asking for information about torsion and surgery that triggered this? I'm devastated by that. I can't say sorry enough to Dr. Holmes.

Just be aware of that when you ask your experts for advice/information for a third party.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:48 am


Someone suggested to this other vet that they should do Wedgwood's surgery, not mine.
I am confused by this! How did someone else get involved? Is this someone local you discussed this with who went to the other vet?

It sounds like you wanted your own vet to do the surgery.

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mmeadow
Supporter 2004-2018

Post   » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:18 pm


Sorry about this *extra* stress, Pooksie.

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