I have been doing some research on the different probitoics. From what I have found so far Enrodex is the best we can get! I also see it is from the UK so I am unsure if I can get it for my baby but I will try.
As for pepermint treats, that would be a bad idea. All the "treats" made for small animals are like feeding our children cupcakes and ice cream with a strawberry on top and calling it healthy. Sad but the way it is. Greed on the part of manufacturers of these things is what makes them do it.
Pepermint leaves themselves MAY be an option in restricted moderation but I will not feed them to my babies until I have done a lot of checking first.
What I have read so far was quite shocking to me. I will cut and paste what scared the daylights out of me.
Toxicology and Adverse effects: Peppermint is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration. Allergic reaction is possible, as is irritation if oil placed on mucous membranes. Inhalation of the oil can cause apnea and laryngoconstriction, and young children/animals are thought particularly susceptible. In mice and rats, the oral LD50 is 4g/kg. In these species, 4 weeks of daily oral dosing at 40 and 100mg/kg resulted in histologic changes in the brain; after 3 months in rats, cyst-like lesions were noted in the cerebellum, and nephropathy was observed in males at the 100mg/kg dose. Hepatocellular changes have also been noted. In another study (not referenced by the European Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products), dogs given 25-125mg/kg for 5 weeks experienced no ill effects.
I hadn't thought of the peppermint treats, but I had looked at peppermint. Maremma, thanks for the info you found on it. I wasn't entirely happy with trying her on peppermint, as something I read about it got me worried as well. I do know where the peppermint treats are sold, so I will have a look at the ingredients before considering them.
The vet did mention that the liver has quite a lot to do with the digestion and glucose production, so I'm wondering about trying milk thistle, which I believe is safe for pigs.
I did start off with a bottle of plain water for the pigs when I first tried the Entrodex, but they all love it, and are drinking more than normal, so both bottles now have the Entrodex in them.
Milly is slightly more bloated today, but she is looking much brighter than she has been, which is a bit of a surprise, as she suffered a fit yesterday. It lasted about half an hour all told. I nursed her for about an hour until she seemed to have recovered, and apart from being a bit wobbly on her feet, she seemed fine. Unfortunately it was a Bank Holiday in the UK yesterday, and my vets was closed, which was a bit of a disaster for me, as my skinny little rescue pig became really ill as well. I could have taken them to an emergency vet, but they wouldn't have had an exotic specialist there, so waited until today, rather than risk them receiving the wrong treatment.
I couldn't get an appointment at the vets for Milly today, but I talked to him when I took my rescue pig, as I already had an appointment for him. He will be seeing Milly in a couple of days, so I'm just monitoring Milly for now. It maybe more likely that she broke a tooth during a previous unseen fit, rather than a previous colapse, but we just don't know what is happening to her at the moment.
I had a long chat with the vet today about Milly. He said that seizures could be caused by several problems, and he suggested things like liver or kidney disease, brain tumour, or just unexplained epilepsy. He is happy to do a full blood test if I want him to, but he's not sure if it would be worth the cost. He reckoned that there would only be about a 25% chance of the test indicating where the problem may be, and the only thing he would have much chance of treating would be a liver problem.
With the bloating and the possible fluctuation in glucose levels, a liver problem is a possibility, so we are trying Milly on a new medication to improve liver function. It's called Samylin, and it's more of a complementary product than a medication so I'll see if it has any effect on her.
I'm still keeping her on the metoclopramide. The amount of gas in her is varying at the moment. It seems to depend a lot on what I feed her. I'm still limiting the amount and selection of veggies that she has, while I work out what affects her bloat.
I was going to ask the vet to do another fecal float, as a double-check for parasites, but with her seizure I forgot. I'll have to sort that out when get some more metoclopramide.
She's been on the Entrodex probiotic for about 10 days now, and she does seem a bit brighter, so maybe it is helping.
Maremma, if you can't find Entrodex in the US, and you would like to try some on Sweetpea, email me direct. I should be able to send you enough for a week or so for you to try her on.
But ditto everyone else on a blood test or any other wonderful advice they give.
I did not re-read this thread re: other particulars of your piggy (problems/symptoms other than bloat), but seizures are serious and low-glucose ones can be managed with honey or syrup rubbed on the lips (with a follow-up to ER). And, of course, diet changes to manage the bloat may be causing/worsening underlying glucose problems.
I'm planning on talking to the vet about some more fecal floats next week, as coccidia does seem to one of the main causes of bloat.
I have been concerned that the changes to her diet is causing other problems to show, but everytime I try and feed her anything near what she is used to having, her bloat gets worse.
The vet doesn't seem to set much store to the diabetes diagnosis. He reckons that being a prey animal, adrenalin can cause the glucose level to fluctuate considerably in pigs.
I just wish that I could control the bloating more. She's worse again today, but she's moving around the cage a lot, is constantly nibbling hay, and still seems quite bright.
- You can quote me
I got a combination vibration and heating pad from K-mart. It was called "Homedics" brand and was in with the health care supplies (foot soakers, heating pads etc. etc. etc.), but you can sometimes find them in the automotive section. The one I have came with an adapter for a car's cigarette lighter.
It has three settings each for vibration and heat. We used it on low vibration, no heat, for our megacolon pig. The results were not dramatic but it did seem to help him a little from time to time.
It does help Milly. I put the cushion on my lap, covered with a plastic cloth and a towel, with Milly on top. I can feel her gut contracting along her sides, and she produces a lot of poops! (I bought my Mum one for her stiff neck, and she thinks it's great!).
I've used milk thistle with several pigs and bunnies. They generally love it and eat it right up. The SamE (samilyn stuff has the active ingredient of milk thistle in it, and is a good product to try.)
Sweetpea most often does the exact same thing when she is on the massager. I can feel her sides moving too and then she makes me a nice pile of poops as her bloating drops dramamtically.
This last time though we had a lot of trouble and I am not sure why. When she finally did get poop out I was shocked. They were WAY larger than she usually makes. They looked like one of my bigger boys made them.
Has the size and shape of Milly's poops changed since she has developed boating issues?
I have read in the past that as a guinea ges they are a lot more likely to develope problems if we change their diet. That surely complicates things for Milly too.
I'm sorry if you told me this before but did you have Milly's heart checked? I am going to be taking Sweetpea back in to have her heart rechecked. I took Sweetpea and Darty in after we discovered Lovebugs heart condition because they are all sisters form the same litter. At the time Sweetpea has a slightly irregular shaped heart but the vet didn't want to begin treatment becasue she wasn't displaying any symptoms and it was slight.
I have recently read now that heart conditions can cause bloating too.
I have metoclopramide and prepulsid to give her, and am going to cut out veggies and give grass instead. Will give her probiotic every day too.
She suffered two more lots of colapsing/seizures/convulsions, each one longer than the last, and she never came around after the last one.
Thank you for all your advice and support. I don't think that we prolonged her life, but I think we made the last few months more comfortable for her.
We'd had her since she was 6 weeks old, and she would have been 6 this summer. She was one of the family, and we miss her dreadfully.