Dealing with veterinarians

User avatar
Jill

Post   » Wed Mar 06, 2002 12:23 pm


Any suggestions on how to approach my vet to get him to consult or research on guinea pig care? This practice is the only one in town that does cavy care and exotics.

Piggie just had surgery for abscesses and I was told to have her fast before the procedure. I have since learned from Pinta that pigs do NOT fast before surgeries.

I wish I could have a "hit" of Evangeline´s assertiveness or Pinta´s or Imanut4u´s knowledge...

What is a tactful way of approaching this?

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Mar 06, 2002 12:30 pm


I know months ago Pinta was thinking of writing down some guidelines for training your vet. Hers didn´t know much about guinea pigs when she started taking them to her and in time was even better than the supposed "exotics" veterinarians in the area.

Meanwhile, as a dedicated cavy owner, you might get your hands on some good books. Check the Finding a Vet page on Guinea Lynx. There are three books listed there. I think Harkness and Wagner´s is the most useful but they all have good points. You might also see if you can get them by interlibrary loan and copy a few critical things. Could be your vet would listen to those more than people or things on the internet.

pinta

Post   » Wed Mar 06, 2002 3:38 pm


Yeah, it was a pipe dream - Training your vet.

The big moment with our vet came when we´d m been seeing her for about a year - taking in our only pig every 6 months for a wellness check. Yeah, she thought we were nuts. Then one day, Max was off. I knew it. I felt it. Took him in and our vet declared him fit as a fiddle and us insane. A week later the URI could be discerned by a stethoscope. My only clue was a tiny personality change a week previously.

I still remember our vet´s face when she saw the pig she had declared fit as a fiddle only days before, obviously ill. It really was a shock to her. She said from then on she would trust our intuition, and not her instruments when we brought in a pig complaining it was "off". She realised that observation from an owner close to their pig was as valuable as any diagnostic test or instrument.

Over the years we´ve brought in many a pig with no other symptom but weight loss or puffy fur. Getting them in early allows her time to research and diagnose. Sometimes she can find nothing and sends us home saying to monitor closely, but she definitely takes us seriously when we bring in a pig. She has always been willing to ask other vets for info and now is a member of a special internet vet site (vets only) which gives her access to professionals around the world.

It´s very important for the vet to understand how little information about pigs there is. This means they have to think outside the box when faced with unexplainable symptoms and accept new information without prejudice. This is how we figured out our pig was hyperthyroid. Vicki of Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue had a suspected hyperthyroid pig with symptoms very close to one of ours. I suggested the possibility to our vet and she ordered blood tests. We also did blood tests on 2 other pigs to create a norm since there was no published info on T-4 counts in cavies. Voila - every indication was Hyperthyropidism. Meds have stabilized our pig beautifully.

Right now there is no info about this in any of the pig med books that I know of. So our vet flew blind on the say-so of an internet acquaintance of mine and the result is that our pig is doing fine. Unfortunately many vets are not willing to think outside the box of officially recognized cavy medical problems. It is a major hurdle to overcome.

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Wed Mar 06, 2002 8:35 pm


I am curious to know the reason not to have the pig fast before surgery. I would like to know because Angel goes in to have her tumor removed and I was told she should not eat before the surgery because while under anesthesia they can choke and die from the food coming up.

Carol

User avatar
Jill

Post   » Wed Mar 06, 2002 10:07 pm


Carol, read Pinta´s post under Dobby´s "Hairball-Coughing" thread.

Good luck with the surgery, when is it?
Last edited by Jill on Wed Mar 06, 2002 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Mar 06, 2002 10:36 pm


Carol, my vet had Snowflake fast 2 hours before surgery. So some fasting seems to be recommended, just not overnight.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 12:27 am


Diligence? Lots of information passing and bringing up bits of literature that could be pertinent. It has taken almost 10 years to train my vet, but she is wonderful. They have to be taught what they weren´t taught in school and old myths have to be abolished. I have even gone from vet to vet to find just the right one. She is willing to listen and provide feedback on information found and open to new ideas about cavy medicine and the "cutting edge". To tell you the truth, it isn´t always the exotics vets/exotic practices that are the best with cavies. Sometimes, while not advertised, the vets will have special interests in cavies and thus, the drive to learn about their special needs. It does take some time and footwork to map out the right treatment and best cavy vet.

Lynx--To tell you the truth, it is not even necessary to do that much as far as I´ve read/researched. My vet used to ask for a two-hour fast, but now all I do is make sure there isn´t any food available right before going to the vet for the procedure (probably 1/2 hour at most) and do a quick mouth check for any chewed stuff. I make sure all of my pigs are then eating again within 1/2 hour to an hour of recovery. With isoflurane anesthesia only, they can usually walk around a bit 5-10 minutes post surgery and act pretty well after that. It does, however, depend on the procedure. An abscess or neuter would generally be less invasive and involved than a spay or c-section. Pain meds also delay recovery times.

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 7:31 am


Angel´s surgery is next friday. The fasting does turn out to be from the night before because she has to be dropped off between 8-9:00 a.m. and the surgery will take place any time between 10 and 12. I usually feed them first them in the morning so if i feed her at 8 and she has surgery at 10 that´s just 2 hours but now I am afraid due to what the vet told me about food choking them while under anesthesia. Josephine you saying that is an unfounded concern but I am not sure what to do..O:( I feel bad if I feed her the night before and then she doesn´t eat again until after the surgery!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 7:38 am


For what it´s worth, neither Vicki of JPGPR nor Pinta with numerous surgeries under their belt have vets who fast them more than an hour or two before the procedure. I had food in the carrier on the way to the vet´s and removed it before handing Snowflake over to get prepared for the surgery that morning.

Besides Josephine´s pursuasive argument, there are numerous cavy knowledgeable vets who don´t fast overnight.

If it were me, I would be tempted to ignor the directions.

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 7:40 am


I just read the thread about the hairball and coughing. I am printing it out and sending it to the vet. Then I will call her to discuss it and see what she says. I am concerned now because Josephine´s words - "I would seriously question any reception/technician staff that recommends fasting a cavy. I would RUN from a vet that told me to fast a cavy."

The vet has a guinea pig herself so I am anxious to hear what she has to say after reading the comments in that thread.

User avatar
Jill

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 8:04 am


Carol, please let us know what your vet has to say.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 11:32 am


Unless there is food in her mouth, there is no risk of aspiration unless there is excess saliva due to not using an anticholinergic drug as a preanesthetic. Sometimes I have had "snurgly" pigs post long surgeries (since they have an anesthetic gas mask on), but as soon as they are up, they are able to clear their throats. Many pigs post such surgeries go home on antibiotics anyway due to the nature of cavy abscessation. That would combat any problems.

Your vet is obviously not used to doing surgery on cavies or knows about their special physiology. They are not small cats, nor small rabbits, nor small dogs! My vets have performed many surgeries on my cavies including spays, a c-section, eye surgery, tumors, etc. Not a single one was fasted. All except the caesarian pig were up, running around, and munching their favorite greens within 30 minutes of being pulled off of the anesthetic. Many were 3-4 years old at the time of surgery. The c-section pig took almost an hour to come around, but after delivering 5 babies and having major abdominal surgery who could blame her? She was also on narcotic pain meds post surgery. Definitely sore.

User avatar
Jill

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 1:29 pm


Josephine, does the reason guinea pigs don´t need to fast is because they are herbivores? Pinta had posted she thought it was because as herbivores their systems are alway working.
Do you know WHY it is they don´t vomit? I´m just curious, but I´m guessing I wouldn´t understand your explanation anyway!

imanut4u

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 4:09 pm


I had consulted with a dental vet awhile back -- he was willing to take a look at the teeth despite not seeing many guinea pigs --- he would NOT even consider putting the pig under unless it was fasted a minimum of 8 hours.

I declined on the visit and he returned my call later telling me that they would aspirate/vomit yadayada. Wouldn´t even listen to a thing I said. I later told my regular exotics vet about my experience and he was not impressed and confirmed it was very bad info on part of the other vet.

I have "dropped off" my pigs for unscheduled (fit them in) abscess surgeries before and the vets office keeps the food in the carrier until just before surgery. With the tooth pig, who the dental specialist wouldn´t see, they even syringe fed him prior to surgery.

I do think the cat/dog thought process gets in the way of good cavy knowledge.

My vet wades through everything I bring him from the net. Somethings he does not always agree with, but explains why, and other times he is impressed with the info I have found.

One other vet that I have seen on my reg vet´s day off did not charge me for meds because I brought him the info and the dose.

IAMPM - "Imanut4u´s knowledge..."

There´s still a LONG way to go for me, but, any knowledge I have has come from some great ladies right here on GL. Pinta, Lynx, Evangeline, Vicki, Josephine, and many many other people have helped me learn basic info and the same group of friends have been there when the going gets rough, sharing their experiences.

(Hey E, remember smackin me around for Cedar? That was just a year ago in Dec!!!)

Just starting a thread and bringing the responses to your vet will give him plenty of things to think about.

User avatar
Jill

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 5:43 pm


Sorry, I didn´t mean to offend anyone by not including them in my "list".....let´s just say I was frustrated and not thinking too clearly! That means Josephine, Evangeline, Lynx, Vicki, etal........
Shall I send chocolate as a peace offering???

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 5:49 pm


You didn´t offend me. I don´t put myself on the list. Josephine, Vicki, and Pinta sure belong there though. The rest of us have learned tons from them (and Pinta will tell you she has learned lots from others too).

pinta

Post   » Thu Mar 07, 2002 9:31 pm


I was actually connecting the liver damage problem (if they don´t eat) to the fact that they are grazing animals. A guess on my part. So it´s not so much that herbivores shouldn´t be fasted but that if they are they could have liver problems....if indeed the liver problems from lack of food are exclusive to animals who continually eat.

I don´t know if that made any sense.

Yup, I´ve learned a lot from Vicki and Josephine in particular.

As for the aspiration problem, Nigel does very poorly under anaesthetic(Isoflurane). He has been proclaimed as a bad surgical candidate. He had to have major dental surgery and the vet had to stop without doing all he wanted because Nigel "had had enough". He aspirates easily, it seems, so we are very careful to withhold food for a hour before he goes under. With him it´s a case making sure he´s swallowed everything. With Nigel if there´s a way of something going wrong - it will.

We also lost a pig on the table to aspiration so our vet is very leery of any food in their mouths or throat after that. In all honesty, I knew before she went in that she probably wouldn´t make it. She had pyometra and it could be her condition was already so compromised that she was a candidate for complications. Besides the pyometra there were many other problems discovered during the surgery.

We have had many surgeries over the years but still, each one is nervewracking.

User avatar
Jill

Post   » Fri Mar 08, 2002 8:15 am


Thanks for clarifying the grazing/herbivore point, Pinta. I hope I don´t sound like a complete idiot in my postings and questions. (At the very least, I do know that horses don´t trollop - only our Evangeline!) I really appreciate having you and the others as resources. I´m trying to get the Harkness and Wagner book the the inter-library loan service, ours does not have it.

Evangeline

Post   » Fri Mar 08, 2002 8:17 pm


IAMPM-
Oh, you know, most of what I know I´ve learned from Pinta, Vicki and Joséphine.
And since you mention horses, I wanted to add that they can´t vomit either.

One of my books (in French) suggests that after as little as 12 hours without food, the liver cells start to deteriorate. This specific piece is in relation with anorexia doe to sickness, but it still applies to fasting.

Carol-
Would I use a vet who wants to fast my pig? Not in a million years. This is basic knowledge, really.
I´ve had one pig and one rabbit operated on. For both, my vet asked food was pulled out an hour before, just to make sure they had no food left in their mouth. Also, as soon as they are under, she cleans the mouth with q-tips to make sure no chewed food in trapped about the teeth and cheeks.

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Tue Mar 12, 2002 8:32 pm


Well, good news everyone. I spoke to the vet directly today regarding Angel´s surgery Friday. She told me they don´t fast guinea pigs! I feel very relieved since this appears to be a sign she knows about guinea pigs.

It must have been the receptionist who told me to fast her when I called to schedule the appointment. I will let the vet know when I see her Friday. Thank you all for your advice. It´s great to have your help. Please keep Angel in your thoughts and prayers this Friday. I will post a separate message to let you know how she made out.

By the way, I also asked if the tumor turns out to be cancer is there a way to treat it and she said it depends on the cancer. I hope it is not cancer.

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