ATTENTION: Heart pig/molar pig owners...

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Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:14 am

I have a few questions. I've been thinking way too much about the recent higher incidences of heart problems in cavies. We still haven't recognized a real cause other than the obvious possible genetic connections. My heart pig has been on treatment for three years (enalapril/Enacard only) with no improvement and a recent slide (weight loss of 5 ounces!). I had never x-rayed his jaw before and did so yesterday. It isn't the worst case I've seen, but it definitely looks like he has molar issues. The pic is in the reference forum in the "Importance of X-rays for Diagnosing Malocclusion" thanks to Lynx who posted it last night.

In other animals (like dogs, cats, and humans), the heart can be affected by tooth infections--especially abscesses like we see in wave jaw w/root elongation.

So I have a few questions of those of you who have heart +/- molar pigs:

1. How many of your heart pigs also have molar problems? If the molars have not been x-rayed, why not? It would probably be a good idea to at least rule it out. Of the pigs with both problems, when was each condition diagnosed? Have antibiotics been considered? It seems antibiotics would be indicated at least for an initial course, but do we have anything that has been shown to help wave jaw/elongated root pigs?

2. Have the heart pigs been on long-term antibiotics? Has the vet considered bacterial causes (endocarditis)? Were the heart pigs x-rayed AND ultrasounded, or only one of the two?

I'm sure I'll have more questions later, but I would really appreciate it if people had time to post their pig's info here. I have to work today and will be home this evening (after 7 P.M.) to check on the thread.

Thanks in advance!

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Post   » Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:51 am

I hope you can encourage Pinta to post on this thread. I'm sure she would have information to add.

By the way, in humans people who take good care of their teeth, clean regularly, floss, etc. are less likely to have some kinds of heart problems. I would imagine with tooth issues, even the presence of food that is not well masticated and tends to sit in the mouth could promote bacteria.

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Post   » Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:14 am

Zipper has had her teeth filed twice in the 7 months that she's been diagnosed with heart disease. Her molars weren't x-rayed but she was put under for the vet to examine them. I believe he only files the incisors and not the molars but I'll ask on Monday when I take Lilly in. She never had the teeth troubles until the heart disease. My thought is that sometimes she can't graze as much as she should b/c her breathing is labored.

Zipper hasn't been on antibioctics except for when she had pnemonia. She is on Enalapril (0.1cc twice daily) and Lasix (0.15 twice daily). She was only x-rayed. There isn't an ultrasound machine available to my vets. My vet never mentioned anything related to bacteria. Probably b/c he suspects Zipper's enlarged heart to be a congential problem and just surfacing as she gets older.

Hope my info is a bit helpful, no molar troubles at this point but if it's something to be cautious of, it's good to be aware.

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For the love of my girls!

Post   » Sat Jul 12, 2003 5:26 pm

1. How many of your heart pigs also have molar problems? If the molars have not been x-rayed, why not? It would probably be a good idea to at least rule it out. Have antibiotics been considered?

Tubbit has not had her teeth x-rayed but now you have me thinking! When I took her to N in the fall for "blocked tear ducts" he mnentioned elongated roots. We didn't know, at that time, about her heart condition. She eats fine and is holding her weight BUT her eyes continue to tear and tear and tear. And the crust is so hard to get oo. It is like super glue. she was on antibiotics for several URI's before we detected her heart problem, but never for any teeth issues. Maybe her molars are elongated causing the tearing! Can anything be done about elongated roots?

2. Have the heart pigs been on long-term antibiotics? Has the vet considered bacterial causes (endocarditis)? Were the heart pigs x-rayed AND ultrasounded, or only one of the two?

No bacterial causes were discussed. Her heart did not have fluid around it. She was x-rayed only.

I will be interested to hear what you find out Josephine. I really wonder about Tub's teeth and eyes now!


Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:54 pm

Dr. Legendre did not see root issues in the scan I sent. He replied within 24 hours to my email! What a guy! He did say that the crowns (above the gumline) could be elongated. Another good oral exam will be in order to check for spurs. We didn't get a great look since he was stressing out.

I'm thinking the teeth (which can have abcesses under them), CAUSED the heart problems. We know that tooth bacteria spills into the bloodstream after some time. That can attach to the heart and cause "vegetation" on valves and consequent malfunction/murmurs. This would probably be visible on an ultrasound but not on an x-ray. Maybe I'm just stressing out myself. The gears are in motion in my brain. It could also be the other way around--the cavy is making more effort to breathe and live and not eating (or excercising the jaw) which grinds the continually erupting teeth. I wish I knew!

It looks interesting, definitely. It seems heart and teeth go hand in hand for sure. My pig is surely getting more diagnostics.

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Post   » Sun Jul 13, 2003 2:51 pm

I have a pig with a heart condition and so far no problem with his teeth. Interesting connection though. I will keep an eye on it.


Post   » Thu Nov 06, 2003 8:31 pm

Bloom - elongated roots and heart problems - xrays both heart and molars. Heart problem showed up first.

Nigel - wave jaw and heart problems diagnosed on autopsy. molar xray. Bad pea eye.

Apatche - suspected heart problems (bad genetics) and molar problems. Slight Pea eye.

Willie - molar problems and heart problems. Heart problems showed up years before molar problems - xrays of both

Shiraz - molar problems and heart disease(diagnosed on autopsy) also Paget's disease. Pea eye since a baby

Peony - heart problems and a bit of molar problems but both most likely age related. Pea eye later in life.

Zag - heart problems and slight molar problems - Pea eye.

Offhand that's all I remember right now. Can't remember AB details. I'm of the opinion because the animal is labouring to breathe it doesn't self-grind the molars enough to keep them from overgrowing. We often find out there may be a heart problem when the pig has trouble dealing with sedation while getting the molars filed. That's why we are pretty much positive Apatche has heart problems.

Bloom and Willie etc. may have had pea eye but I don't remember right now. I'd have to ferret out records. I'm thinking they did but should really confirm.

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Post   » Thu Nov 06, 2003 9:21 pm

So did you have any pigs with teeth problems but no heart problems? Or heart problems but no teeth problems? Or have they all gone hand-in-hand for your pigs, Pinta?


Post   » Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:12 am

Nougat died of a heart attack and had no teeth problems that we knew of. Abigail is on blood pressure meds(fortekor) due to repeated URIs, age and Pea eye. No sign of teeth problems. Quinn has just had a bout of her jaw dislocating causing diagonal incisors and is on heart meds because that family has a history. But other than her jaw going out prob due to TMJ - no other molar problems. Oscar at the vets has severer malocclusion but his heart appears to be great. Undergoes sedation at least once a month with no problems.

Hard to remember all of them offhand.

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