What we are doing is managing his pain with meds and we're going to try to dissolve it with urine acidifer. I had to order some Sherman Pets Urine Health tablets. They'll be here in 2 or 3 days. They've had some success with it, but there are no guarantees there either. It all depends on what the bladder stone is comprised of. We're probably not going to be able to do the surgery. I'm not sure I want to put Sammy through that, especially if the risks of his age and weakened state significantly reduce his chances, if I can come up with the money to begin with. We'll have to see what KSU says.
As for trying to get it to dissolve, that only cost $20 for the supplement and another $25 for the pain management. Of course I'll have to keep hand feeding him every 4 hours and giving him extra water. I am willing to do that. The important thing is to make sure he's not suffering in pain. The Metacam is working so far. He drank water on his own and ate about a quarter of a baby carrot as soon as I got him home. He's also moving around better and his hind legs look more steady.
Speaking of hand feeding, it would appear that I've been doing a pretty good job of keeping him fed and nourished. The x-ray showed his stomach and intestines were pretty full with food. He also gained back the weight he lost between last Wednesday and Friday. He's back up to 2 lbs. There's no sign of any infection, so he doesn't need the antibiotic any more. We're playing a waiting game, but just know that I'm taking every step to make sure Sammy doesn't suffer. They're supposed to email me the x-ray, so I'll post it as soon as I get it.
I am sorry to say we have absolutely no confidence in any sherman health pet products. No studies. Nothing has ever been scientifically proven to dissolve stones in a guinea pig. Kind of like snake oil. I believe Sef would agree with this (she is far more knowledgeable about stones than I am).
- I dissent.
I really hate to discourage you, but a urine acidifier is not likely to help much if at all. Case after case over the years have shown that it's not possible to reliably, consistently change the pH of a guinea pig's high alkaline urine to the extent that it will prevent stones for forming---or dissolve those that are already there. It sounds good in theory but I have yet to find a guinea pig owner here who has had success with it. The stone is most likely calcium carbonate; the majority are. Nothing dissolves calcium carbonate, including (or I might say, especially) that stuff from Sherwood. It's junk science at best, and you would probably be better off starting him on a low dose of Valium and/or Shilintong to try to relax the bladder and urethra enough to pass the stone if it can be passed. I've had some that were able to; others, not. It very much depends on the size and location.
In the meantime, please keep a very close eye on urine output (I can't emphasize this enough). A tic-tac size stone is significant enough that, if it travels down into his urethra, becomes stuck and completely blocks the flow of urine, you will have an emergency on your hands. I don't want to scare you, but it can happen and is something you need to be aware of and have a game plan in place if it does.
Ditto Lynx. I'm truly sorry that he has a stone.
There's a much bigger chance that by this time next week, Sammy will be at the Rainbow Bridge with Scruffy, BJ and Oreo. Trying something rather than just giving up on him is better than doing nothing to try and save his life. Let's just manage his pain, keep him fed for the next few days and see what KSU says.
- I dissent.
What is the Metacam dose? (provide Sammy's weight and the mg/ml of the Metacam).
- And got the T-shirt
I think even less of their recommendation of Sherwood pellets, which are extremely high in calcium and have very sketchy science behind their claims.
There's a vet with exotic experience at James River Animal Hospital in Nixa, which is less than an hour from you.
There are exotic vets in Springfield, about the same distance.
If it were me, I'd be calling both of them and talking to them about their experience in removing a bladder stone in a four-year-pig. Sammy deserves a chance at life, and either of those places might be the ones to give it to him.
As far as recommending the Sherman Pets product, don't think ill of that vet for suggesting it. She was very upfront about how slim the possibility of it working is. She only brought it up because I had stated that my ability to get Sammy to KSU, over 5 hours away, if they take his case was very limited. It is not a treatment they suggest for bladder stones. As a matter of fact, they don't even carry it in their pharmacy. It was more of a "try it as a last resort before you put Sammy down" suggestion. She also said that his age and current condition were strikes against him, not that they exclude the possibility of a successful surgery. I'm hoping that James River can do the removal or recommend someone locally who can.
- I dissent.
If there are other vets closer to you who can help, it's absolutely worth pursuing. I have had bladder stone surgeries on guinea pigs that age or older, and in all but one case the surgery went well (the one that didn't was a 6-year old male who was in a very weakened state, and I never should have put him through it). As bpatters said, it's a fairly straightforward procedure if the stone is in the bladder and assuming it hasn't adhered to the bladder wall.
Where I live, veterinary surgery costs tend to be higher in the city compared to our more rural part of the state. Our vet charges around $300-$400 for this type of procedure, whereas it runs closer to $800 in the next largest town. She sometimes asks if I want to have the stone sent off for analysis, and I generally decline. It's an additional cost and the composition of these stones is almost always calcium carbonate.
Anyway, I truly do hope you can get some help for your little guy. I know how stressful it is dealing with a poorly pig, plus you have had a lot of other things on your plate lately.
Good luck and do keep us posted.
I called James River and the receptionist couldn't tell me whether or not their exotic vet, Dr Hardy can do the bladder stone surgery. She had to send him a message and have him call me back. It will most likely be this evening. I hate how vet clinics do this and how they have no sense of urgency. It seems like a pretty upfront and easy question. How can the person answering the phone not know if the vet is a surgeon or just a clinical vet? Isn't there anyone else in the office who knows? Can't they poke their head into an office or exam room and ask one of the techs or vets? Always have to sit and wait for a callback that never comes.
- I dissent.
I was going to try to double-check the dose on the pain meds for you, since some vets tend to dose too conservatively on Metacam. It sounds like they gave him Rimadyl instead, though? I can still check it for you if you give us the mg/ml (milligrams per milliliter) that should be listed on the label somewhere. That tells us what the strength/concentration of the drug is.
Agree with you: you'd think the receptionist would know, or at least can find out fairly easily, if their vet can do bladder stone surgery on a small animal. While you wait to hear back, was there another clinic bpatters mentioned that you could also check with?
ETA: that stringy thing is likely mucous from bacterial overgrowth. Are you still pushing probiotics? I usually like to continue with acidophilus at least another week or so after using antibiotics.