Bladder Stone study

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Post   » Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:24 pm

Has anyone heard when the findings of this study will be made available? Someone here had mentioned that their vet requested a preliminary copy. I'd like for my vet to do the same.


Post   » Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:12 pm

I'm having a stone removed this Friday. Is the study still accepting new samples?

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Post   » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:25 am

Not sure. Perhaps you can write them.


Post   » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:13 am

[text removed - Lynx]


Post   » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:35 pm

I don't know if this will help, but I have a theory on a possible cause. It may not cause all stones, but it may help decrease the number of stones. I had two cats from the same litter with cystitis. They had recurrent episodes, multiple stone removals, and one had major surgery. I know cats are different than piggies but bear with me on this one and read it all.
Even on the special diets they had some stones. After all the special diets, and documenting the time of the year of most episodes, I realized most of them occurred when the temperature was higher. The only thing in their world that changed was the water they were drinking. The treatment plant adds more chlorine and probably other chemicals too when the temperature is higher to kill bacteria. After thinking about this, I bought a water purifier and started giving them only filtered water. Knock on wood, but one of the cats is still with me six years later and has not had a single episode. (The other died at the age of ten-cause unknown) I hope this helps in some way. Since talking about this with my vet he agrees it could be a possibility.

GP Lover
My home, ruled by pigs!

Post   » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:05 am

That was always my theory too. I installed a water filter in my home too and so far so good. I have a 3.5yr old and 1.5yr old guinea pig. If they make it to the end of their life without stones than I'll be convinced. All my other pigs got tap water and all but 1 out of 4 had stones. The 1 that didn't suffered from Interstitial Cystitis for 2yrs.

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Post   » Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:44 am

It would be wonderful if this made a difference.

TWP, what kind of water are you using?

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Post   » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:19 pm

I would like to add that I have always used Arrowhead bottled spring water for my pigs. I had switched to Sparkletts and that is when Rupert got his stone. I have never used Sparkletts again to err on the side of caution and have always wondered if that had anything to do with it.

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Post   » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:25 pm

My mom was talking to Piggy's vet at a local animal fundraiser (my mom gossiping with my vet is one of the reasons I hate small towns, but whatever) and he said he'd just gotten back from a "conference about stones in guinea pigs." Makes me wonder if the UC Davis / Oxbow study is finally ready to be released.

My mom doesn't relay information very well so I couldn't ask questions. All she knew of the results was "it's mostly diet, most people aren't as careful as Rachael." Well that's not exactly news to us.

I'll have to ask for more info the next time I'm in. I will say it's not unusual for data to be discussed and presented at a scientific conference months before it's even submitted for publication.

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Post   » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:30 pm

From what I've heard, the UC Davis study was inconclusive. "Too many variables," according to a member here whose boss is a colleague of Dr. Hawkins. I'm hoping to get more details from her; she hadn't actually read the report, but was under the impression that it didn't reveal anything too earth-shattering.

When our Zachary was first diagnosed with stones, we switched to filtered water. In his case, it made absolutely no difference whatsoever. His stones were aggressive, fast-forming and (being in both ureters) inoperable.

I truly hope we can find some answers to this devastating problem.

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:51 pm

Oh, how discouraging. I know I was hoping something constructive would come of the study.

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Post   » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:51 am

Every data point is constructive; it may not give us an answer, but it may get us a step closer.

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Post   » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:41 pm


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Post   » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:22 am

Well, the results are being presented at scientific/veterinary conferences now. Unfortunately, as you'll see below, it's nothing earth shattering to us. I received a newsletter from my old vet in Virginia with a summary of the results. I can only hope that other vets use this as rationale to encourage their clients to subscribe to the care recommendations given here, healthy diet (no alfalfa), lots of fruit and veggies, and large, clean cages. I have received permission from the author, Dr. Peter Fisher, to reproduce the following (I obviously didn't include the subsequent ferret information):

New Insights into Guinea Pig and Ferret Health
Highlights from the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians conference Savannah, GA,
August 2008 attended by Drs. Peter Fisher and Tony Poutous.

Peter G. Fisher, DVM

Bladder stones are a fairly common malady affecting guinea pigs. Guinea pigs with bladder stones will have frequent urinations, many times with blood in the urine. They may be uncomfortable and as a result affected guinea pigs will be less active and hunched up in pain. Bladder stones can be removed surgically but have a strong tendency to recur after removal.

Dr. Michelle Hawkins from the College of Veterinary Medicine at University of California, Davis, presented findings from a bladder stone analysis study performed over a two year period.
In this study, samples of urine and actual bladder stones were submitted from cases from throughout the United States. Information such as patient weight, diet, Vitamin C supplementation was gathered along with the stone and urine analysis. It was determined that in general bladder stones are seen more frequently in middle aged males weighing less than 1300 grams. However there was not a statistically significant difference in overall incidence between males and females. There was no geographic predilection, but it was found that guinea pigs fed lots of free-choice timothy hay along with a good quantity and variety of fruits and green leafy vegetables were less likely to develop stones. Was this because the increased fluid intake associated with the fruits and vegetables flushed the bladder more often and therefore prevented crystal and subsequent stone formation in the bladder? It was also determined that sedentary pigs that spend a lot of time in a hide box or plastic igloo covering within their cage had a higher likelihood of developing stones. It was theorized that maybe these pigs sit in soiled bedding and therefore are more prone to bacterial bladder infections and subsequent bladder stone formation. Unfortunately this study could not accurately analyze many of the submitted urine samples for underlying bacterial infection in the urine as most of these pigs were already on antibiotic therapy prior to obtaining samples, thus giving negative readings on the urine cultures. Bottom line in preventing bladder stones: keep pigs active and at the correct body weight, don’t allow them to hang out all day in hide boxes and add a nice mixture of vegetables (primarily mixed greens) along with a moderate amount of fruit to their hay and pellet diet.

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Post   » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:48 am

I guess nothing earth shattering. Thank you so much for following up on this and getting permission to post the findings.

As we well know, diet alone does not seem to control stones. If it did, TwoWhitePiggies' and TWP_2's guinea pigs would not have had to struggle with this, along with the many other great guinea pig caretakers who do the best they can providing a sound diet.

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Post   » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:40 am

I wonder about the pigloo/stone causation--A pig may spend more time hiding in a shelter because the bladder stone is making them feel blah. Are bladder infections linked to stone formation?

It really is disappointing not to learn more.

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Post   » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:58 pm

I think that hiding in a shelter also correlates with cage size. In a small cage pigs might spend more time sitting in one spot since they have no room to move. All the more reason to promote C&C's.

I have to say I'm a little disappointed too.

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Post   » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:14 pm

Mmeadow, stones ARE linked to bladder infections but the direction of the cause/effect isn't known, just that the 2 are correlated. I'm not sure if I read it in relation to guinea pigs or humans but I believe bacteria can serve as a "nexus" or starting point to allow minerals to drop out of solution and begin forming a stone/crystal.

Knee Deep

Post   » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:27 am

After finding Bayleigh with a honker of a stone and another of my pigs with a pretty bad UTI this weekend, I took out all houses. I'll give them some other stuff to do rather than sit and pee on themselves all day. I hate stones.

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Post   » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:51 am

(accidentally posted under TWP_2 instead of TWP)

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