What can I do to avoid bladder infections in the future?

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Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 6:38 pm

The analysis of the crystals that were in Mattie´s urine came back today. Doc said they are normal crystals, and not of the "stone" variety...i.e. calcium et al.

I´m at a loss as to what caused the bladder infection in the first place. I have battled UTI´s with cats in the past, and so thought I was taking protective measures with my piggy gals. I give them distilled water (as our water is quite hard). They both drink an absurd amount, so I feel confident their systems are being adequately flushed.

I feed timothy hay (as opposed to alfalfa), and try to keep foods high calcium and such to a "treat" basis.

I supplement with vitamin C daily. I figured this would keep the urine somewhat more acidic and help curtail such things.

I scoop potty corners often as the girl in question seems to like to lie in them.

What more can I do to avoid this in the future. I´ve had bladder infections before, and they are, to say the least, uncomfortable! I don´t want my girl having to put up with it.

Do you think this may be something that she will be prone to? Does it seem to run along those lines?

Thanks everso for any tips, ideas and advice.

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Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 7:30 pm

You can also try Oxbow Hay´s timothy pellets. They are lower in calcium.

The formation of stones is not well understood. Some ideas may even be conflicting. I´ve read that rabbits with stones are more likely to be obese and have been supplimented with vitamins. Vitamin C has been pegged by some as an indirect cause of stones (not everyone feels this way). Supposedly the urine of a guinea pig is quite alkaline and attempts to acidify it don´t really work.

Regarding the bladder infection, I understand they sometimes just happen. Same thing as with us. Some humans are more prone to them. Keep in mind a diagnosis of bladder infection can also be incorrect. Bleeding from the reproductive area can contaminate the blood as it passes.

By the way, I think guinea pigs can have stones with different compositions -- not all stones are calcium based.


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 7:52 pm

I have a dim recollection of distilled water not being a good choice(?) but I can´t remember why - I think Evangeline might remember.

I had a family of sows with chronic UTIs. Unlimmited supplies of unsweetened cranberry juice and a completely dry environment - i.e. not allowing their butts to sit in pee made a huge difference.


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 8:17 pm

I think the problem with distilled water is that it has all minerals removed by the distillation process. When it´s used as drinking water it tends to absorb minerals from the body, which could lead to mineral deficiencies like osteoporosis. I heard it´s also rather acidic and tends to dissolve the surface of whatever it comes in touch with.

I do know it´s not recommended for people to drink distilled water.


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 8:20 pm

I wonder if that could promote bladder infections?


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 8:30 pm

Well, crikey...if the distilled water is a bad choice I´d sure like to know! They´ve been on it the entire time I´ve had them (one since they were 3 weeks old, the other since they were 6 mos old).

Is unsweetened cranberry juice readily available in grocery stores? I´ve only ever seen the Ocean Spray variety which, if I recall properly, is more of a "cocktail" (with other juices and additives) than a bonafide juice.

OY...another water bottle to clean! Or should I offer two bottles of that as well?

If indeed it is a misdiagnosis, how will I know? The day we went to the vet her urine was no longer pink, but they found red and white cells in there. Will they need to do another urinalysis...or am I waiting for another symptom?

No way I could just encourage her to stay out of the potty corner? Even if I ask her nicely? I´m aghast she finds it acceptable to sit there in the first place! Silly girl.

Would more frequent butt-dunks help, or would that backfire on me instead?

Thanks to you both for your info and patience.


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 8:35 pm

I posted that before the replies regarding the distilled water...I´m not just being thick! Perhaps I should just go with the purified drinking waters available. Our water is so darn hard I´d really worry about giving it to the piggers.

Sounds as if I´d really be better off not giving it to my cat either. It was on veterinary recommendation that I did. Mayhaps I´d better give them a ring and see what they say about that.

Thanks everso all!


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 8:46 pm

It seems to me (not a medical person) that given it´s tendency to dissolve and remove minerals distilled water would be GOOD for bladder stones. However, I remember being told not to drink it but rather choose filtered or spring water.


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 8:50 pm

Unsweetened cranberry juice is available in health food stores. You can usually cut it with water. We just fill the bottles 1/3 full so it isn´t sitting around too long. Pigs usually take a while to get used to it. They seem to believe every new food item is a potential poison.

Yep, quit the distilled water. Sounds like bad news.

What misdignosis? It will take 7 to 14 days of antibiotics to treat the UTI. After 4 days or so the urivne should look clean. If the blood comes back after the course of drugs is finished, then it might be a secondary infection is involved requiring a different drug.

You would be wise to do a urinanalysis if the UTI comes back. Wait 3 days after the meds are finished for best results.

We redesigned the cage to have suspended floors of wire mesh over a solid base. We found that plastic canvas(craft stores has it, Walmart too) worked really well over the wire mesh to give the pigs a protective surface for their feet. The UTI family is long gone but we contiunued with the suspended floors.

If she´s sitting in pee, a UTI is likely to happen if bacteria gets a hold on her.


Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 10:27 pm

Yes, one of my books in French is written by a vet and she claims distilled water will throw their electrolytes out of whack. She warns to stay away from it.

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Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 10:28 pm

Oh, another thought -- Pinta mentioned if a pigs hair is long, it may trap pee. The only pig I had with (I think) a urinary tract infection had long hair. The hair near her butt occasionally got yellow and I tended to trim it regularly. I do that more now that I know it might contribute to a urinary tract infection.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Mon Feb 11, 2002 11:06 pm

Yep, distilled water can cause osmotic shock in large amounts. My dad, a RN, has seen it in parapalegics and quads. It does tend to put the other minerals in ill balances.
Last edited by Josephine on Mon Feb 11, 2002 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Tue Feb 12, 2002 1:00 am

What is osmotic shock exactly?

I seem to remember having heard it used in connection with fish, making sure the replacement water in a water change is the same chemical balance and temperature as the old water so the fish don´t get thrown for a loop.

But how does it apply to guinea pigs?


Post   » Tue Feb 12, 2002 6:52 am

Well for Petey´s sake! The piggers have been on the distilled water for a year, but my cat has been on it for about 7 years! I even mentioned the distilled water to the vet the other day. If new info had come out, I´d think this particular vet would be up on it. I need to get them off of it pronto and give the vet a ring I think.

My girl who has the bladder infection is an Abby...slightly longer hair than her American sister, but not a lot to trim really. I think I´m going to have to scoop the corners more often, and failing that, do a suspended floor like pinta suggested.

The misdiagnosis I was referring to was what Lynx mentioned...actually a problem with the reproductive system, and it coloring the urine with blood as opposed to the actual urinary system.

Thanks again all!

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Post   » Tue Feb 12, 2002 7:45 am

Some vets get a clean urine sample directly from the bladder (carefully insert a needle) -- blood there would point to that area. Other vets get a pee sample. I am guessing the odds are on a UTI vs. a reproductive problem. Just pointing out that there are other possibilities when you see blood in urine.

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