Heart meds for heart murmer?


Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:22 am

Coincidentally I just received this info from an email from Vicki of JPGPR. She said it was okay to post with the caveat to mention that the article is old and hasn't been updated recently:

From Vicki of JPGPR:

Below is information I wrote regarding Actigall/Ursodiol several years ago. Most of the info. is still valid, however I now use
pretty much just KM Hayloft timothy pellets and various grass hay (such as bluegrass, orchard, timothy) for all but growing,
pregnant, or malnourished cavies.

There is an email list devoted to bladder and kidney stone problems. I suggest you contact this list for further ideas and
Email stones@gpigs-database.org
Web site http://gpigs-database.org/

9/2000 Short Summary of My Experiences With Cavy Bladder Stones/Sludge

I do have quite a bit of experience with stones - we've had dozens of surgeries done to remove them. Many years ago I made it my goal to learn as much about stones (causes, treatments, prevention) as possible. I contacted many cavy experts all over the country, and Vedra Stanley-Spatcher at the Cambridge Cavy Trust in England. At that time Vedra told me about a human drug, Destolite, they were using on cavies with bladder stones. My vet cross-referenced Destolite and found it is the same thing as Actigall here in the states. Actigall is a human drug used to dissolve gall bladder stones, which are made up of cholesterol.

We don't know why the Actigall would work on bladder stones as the composition is different from gall bladder stones. Unfortunately there have been no organized studies done on using Actigall on cavies so we don't know why it does sometimes work, what percentage of stones it actually helps with, or if it works better on certain types of bladder stones than others. All I can say is, it does seem to help break down some stones and it does seem to sometimes help keep sludge broken down enough to pass through.

I do have one instance where a sow was X-rayed, showing a good sized stone in her bladder. I started Actigall immediately as I could not get her in for surgery for a few days. On the day she was to have the stone surgically removed, my vet took another X-ray, the stone was gone. All that was left was a hazy puddle of grit, which the sow was able to pass on her own.

I've used Actigall on countless cavies, for very long periods of time. We have not noticed any bad side affects from it. Actigall is expensive, $3 or more per capsule. If you're only treating one or two cavies it isn't so bad, but at one point I had about half dozen cavies on it as a preventative for reoccurrence of stones. Finally had to discontinue that as I literally couldn't afford it. There is now a generic version, Ursodiol, that is a little cheaper.

About the same time we started using Actigall I also made some diet changes that seem to have helped reduce the instances of bladder stones in my herd. I switched from Cavylets pellets to L'Avian Guinea Pig (See update below, I currently feed Oxbow Cavy Cuisine) and started feeding much much more grass hay. I also started giving a whole food supplement called The Missing Link (www.designinghealth.com). I use the equine formula but the dog/cat vegetarian formula is virtually identical. Apparently some or all of these changes helped, as surgeries to remove bladder stones are now few and far between. KNOCK ON WOOD! We have had more cases of bladder sludge though since the diet chances. But this is generally easier to deal with and usually doesn't require surgery.

The vet that originally helped me with the Actigall has since moved too far away for me to frequent, but we still keep in touch and I do see her once in a while for second opinions. She has asked me to not give out her name and phone number. If your vet is interested in talking with her directly about Actigall or our experiences with bladder stones, please have them get in touch with me. I will see if it's OK to pass the contact information on to your vet. My email address is JPGPR@aol.com.

I have also tried potassium citrate to prevent reformation of stones. It's doubtful potassium citrate will break up stones. My vet is skeptical as to whether it was helpful in prevention either. The idea is to change the urine PH, making it less conducive to forming stones or sludge. I've had several cavies on potassium citrate for months, without a significant change of PH. For now I've discontinued using it, but am willing to try it again if I think it will help in a future case. I have heard from other cavy owners who believe potassium citrate has helped their stone or sludge forming cavies.

It is important that owners realize surgery, done by a veterinarian knowledgeable and experienced with cavies, is usually the best way "and the only immediate way" to remove a bladder stone. There are risks of ongoing irritation, infection, pain, damage to the bladder wall, and even obstruction while waiting to see if the Actigall will be effective. Your veterinarian may be able to decide if your cavy can wait after taking an X-ray and examining your cavy to see how it is doing and feeling with the stone. In cases where a cavy is not a good candidate for surgery the Actigall is certainly worth a try. My current vet has little faith in Actigall working on cavy bladder stones, my previous vet thinks it does work in some cases for stones/sludge.

More Recent Update (3/2002): I fed L'Avian Guinea Pig Food for about 2 + years before switching to Oxbow Hay Co. cavy food a couple years ago. I now use a mixture of half Cavy Cuisine/half Cavy Performance. Cavy Cuisine is a timothy based pellet, Cavy Performance is an alfalfa based pellet.

For a while after making the diet changes we started seeing more cases of bladder sludge than bladder stones. Now we don't see many cases of either. Any cavies that do form stones or sludge are put on the timothy based Cavy Cuisine rather than the half and half mix. I HIGHLY recommend this food for cavies with bladder problems.

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Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:35 am

Interesting. I did a search on Actigall and mostly found references to its use for gall bladder disease. KM found a patch that can administer a continuous amount for her dog. Older discussions included mention of its use in combination with polycitra and not knowing what would help. Comments by Josephine that it will NOT dissolve large stones and you still need surgery. Comments that vets were skeptical about using it.

There are not many people who have used it on their pig in this forum so there is no overwhelming evidence it would help. I think it would be great if it did though.

I will reformat your post to remove the weird tags.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:17 am

I do have one instance where a sow was X-rayed, showing a good sized stone in her bladder. I started Actigall immediately as I could not get her in for surgery for a few days. On the day she was to have the stone surgically removed, my vet took another X-ray, the stone was gone. All that was left was a hazy puddle of grit, which the sow was able to pass on her own.
About the same time we started using Actigall I also made some diet changes that seem to have helped reduce the instances of bladder stones in my herd
Hmm, interesting. Looks as if we should start our own GL study on this drug! And I'm pretty sure we have enough pigs for a study :-)


Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:20 am

It seemed pretty benign as a treatment and worth mentioning.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:25 am

Pinta, I do think it's worth a try. Quite of a few pigs on this board are not fit for surgery, and at that stage - if this was my pig - I'd definitely give it a try.

In fact I'm about to email somebody who has a 7-year old pig with an inoperable stone to see if she wants to consider this.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:45 pm

Lynx, yes, to answer your question, Chester is on Metacam every other day at 0.15 CC. We were hoping it would alleviate possible pain and reduce inflammation in case the stones could possibly pass but I think they're just too big. Luckily they are not currently near the opening of the bladder to get stuck but we're watching diligently.

Mum, I will give that dosing info for Lotensin to our vet. He was not against trying it but was having trouble finding a recommended dose for GPs.

And Pinta, thank you for sharing the info on Actigall! I'm going to print this out and fax it to our vet. It sounds like there are no bad side effects, and it is definitely worth a try for Chester even if it's not proven. I hope my vet can get some for us.

Chester is at UW vet school with my husband today to check out what happened to his eye with the osseous deposits. I hope it's nothing horrible.

Thanks to all of you!

Supporter in '13

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:12 pm

Chester is home from the vet and luckily the bad looking eye is just infected. They guessed it might be more susceptible to infection because the osseous deposits cause it to bulge. I was so afraid that something really horrible had happened to his eye from those deposits! I've seen eye injuries before and it looks just yuckier in general.

We're to put Triple Antibiotic Ointment and Ciprofloxacin in it 4x daily. I'm not familiar with the Ciprofloxacin, but UW school has always been good about prescribing safe meds so I am assuming it's fine. Is anyone familiar with it?

Glad this wasn't bad news but wish we could figure out the right way to deal with the stones. Our vet researched a non-invasive treatment that uses powerful sound waves to break up stones so they can be passed out in the urine. It would still require anesthesia but for less time, and no surgery. Unfortunately, Purdue University where they can provide this treatment does not have any equipment that can focus on a small enough area to benefit a guinea pig.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:28 pm

Poor boy!

I believe Cipro is the next generation of baytril.

Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:47 am

Sending good thoughts for sweet Chester, and I hope he starts feeling a little better soon.

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Supporter in 2019

Post   » Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:34 am

Interesting that Vicki mentions Cavy Cuisine as being helpful for bladder problems and/or sludge. All of my guinea pigs have always been on it, and yet three have developed stones within the past two years. Not sure what that says about it, but I've recently decided to switch to Kleenmama in the off-chance that there's something in Oxbow's extrusion process that causes their pellets to be a contributing factor.

Is Vicki aware that recent findings have shown that 95% of all guinea pig stones are calcium carbonate in composition? According to Dr. Hawkins, even stones that were previously analyzed and determined to be oxalate in nature were re-analyzed in the UC Davis study and found to be calcium carbonate instead. Apparently many labs are ill-equipped (or too inexperienced?) to properly identify this type of stone. Perhaps there is something about calcium carbonate that responds to the ingredients in ActiGall-?

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:48 am

Interesting stuff, and hard to know what's going on with these stones.

But if I had a pig with inoperable stones which would eventually cause the demise of the pig, I'd give the Actigall at try at this stage - it doesn't seem as if there's a lot to lose here with trying it.

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It started with Louie...

Post   » Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:17 pm

I'm so glad that chester has you guys. You do so much for your pigs and I admire you for that.

I am also very interested in this new Actigall drug. I've lost two pigs to stones already and am always wishing for a breakthough in treating them. I hope we can continue to research this drug.

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:26 am

The correct name for the Actigall in the UK is Destolit also known as Ursodeoxycholic Acid, Ursodiol or Urdox tablets.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:55 pm

Thanks, guys. Our vet ordered some Lotensin for us! I hope we can get some comparisons from our vet to normal limits on the blood test results because I'm kind of afraid that having him on the Enalapril for a month might have affected his kidneys. We were only told that there was no significant change from before the Enalapril, but maybe Chester's kidneys were always not that great and it's affecting the stone production.

Our vet is interested in trying the Actigall as well, but isn't sure how much should be given and how often. Is there any dosing information? The info pinta posted mentions a capsule. Is the whole thing given?


Post   » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:34 pm

This is the dose Vicki's vet came up with:

Mix one 300 mg capsule Actigall/Ursodiol with 2cc liquid.
Give 1/2 cc (.5 cc) once daily for 8 days

Then mix one 300 mg capsule Actigall/Ursodiol with 4cc liquid
Give 1/2 cc (.5 cc) once daily for a 1-2 months or until stone or sludge is confirmed gone by X-ray.

After that administer lower (weaker) dose once every other day indefinitely if it seems to have helped.

Says Vicki: "Although the Actigall did seem to help in some cases, far as I know surgery is still the very best option to quickly
and completely remove bladder stones."

Supporter in '13

Post   » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:12 pm

Thank you Pinta, and if you somehow read this, thank you Vicki!

Also, we do realize that surgery is probably the best way to go because the Actigall isn't really proven, but we are still trying to figure out what is best for Chester since he's a risky surgery candidate. Having been through 2 stone surgeries on Peppi and having giant stones form within weeks after each one, and with the speed these stones have formed in Chester, I don't have high hopes for any "permanent" solution, sadly.


Post   » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:07 pm

Capybara I am having similar issues did you ever give Actigall a try?

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