Request for heart pig stories

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Post   » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:12 am

Tropica, 7-8 years old (I've had her over 5 years-she was a rescue and was at least 2, possibly 3 when I adopted her).

Just 'not right', sluggish almost. Not excited about veggie time and would not voluntarily go to them. Once in front of them though, she would eat, but had early sateity. Small amount of weight loss but so slow it in itself did not concern me with her age and all.

Took her to the vet with another guinea pig just to get checked out. Ultrasound revealed large abdominal vessels. Heart enlarged, EKG/echo showed a heart rate of 328 and cardiac function of 20%. No fluid in lungs or abdomen. She also had thickened bladder walls so we started Septra.

On Enalapril (1/4 of a 2.5 mg tab daily) since Saturday. No change in behavior yet (3 doses so far). We go back on Friday for a recheck.


Post   » Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:54 pm

Get Vetmedin added in and switch to Fortekor if possible.

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Post   » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:28 pm

Still no change in behavior, I thought I'd see something by now. What are the generic names for Vetmedin and Fortekor? He did talk about switching her to digoxin if the enalapril didn't work.


Post   » Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:52 am

Pimobendan for vetmedin

benazepril is the name for fortekor or Lotensin[/list]

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:13 pm

What is the difference between the two, pinta? The Enalipril and Fortekor.


Post   » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:28 pm

Fortekor is a newer version of the Enalipril and is more benign. For instance: no evidence of kidney issues with Fortekor while there has been some concern with the Enalipril.

Canada started using Fortekor before the U.S so my experience has been pretty much exclusively with Fortekor. I know my vet was happy when it became available.

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:29 pm

Thank you. Mr. Piggy is going to be starting a course of heart meds and I wanted to be more informed so I can push for the best drug for him.

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Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:09 pm

According to Tropica's cardiac ultrasound her heart function is almost normal after 1 week on enalapril, couldn't much argue for a change in meds with those results. Unfortunately, I still see no change in behavior. Wonder what is up with that?


Post   » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:54 am

Fortekor will do the same thing with less future risk to other organs.

You can quote me

Post   » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:51 pm

Ditto Pinta, but give the med (any med) more than one week to show behavioral benefits.

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:14 pm

Mr. Piggy has been on benazapril and furosemide for a couple of weeks now. We started .2 ml of furosemide first then added the benazapril.

I want to ask about the dosage of benazapril. It is compounded at 4mg/ml and he is getting .25 ml twice daily. Is this high?

Also, I have cut the furosemide back to .15 ml. He still seems to be doing well. His breathing isn't as labored and the scary hooty sounds have disappeared. He is so much more active right now and prefers to be free range rather than in his cage. He can get in and out of it on his own so I let him do his thing!

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Post   » Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:06 pm

Ginger (Pumpkin)

1 - Female short-hair, 3 years

2 - brief description of symptoms
* sudden onset of very laboured breathing
* off food, sitting depressed in one corner
* always a very heavy-set guinea pig, she slowly lost about 220g over a period of 8 months (we did not notice first as we were told by our vet that she was a bit to heavy and should loose a bit weight for her health. She weighted 1'380g at her peak)

3 - diagnostics done and the results
* vet listened to nose, throat and lungs with stethoscope
* x-ray showed fluid in chest cavity, heart invisible

4 - treatment, med and dosage
* intially Baytril (suspected URI) 2.5% oral solution, 0.3ml twice a day
* after x-ray she got Frumeside 20mg, 0.25 tables twice a day

5 - other med issues
* from little on she had an allergy to certain hay and wood shavings (don't use it anymore)
* pea-eyed

6 - other observations
* Ginger had a very (!) healthy appetite and could not rest until she finished all the fresh food in the cage - even the left-overs from the others and even when it looked like that she was really not hungry anymore (that's why I called her also Pumkin, she was round and orange)
* she was not a laid-back lap-guinea. Ginger was actually very lively and would jump around - especially for her food
* She was a great singer. Sometimes it was triggered by being nervous or stressed (too much house-cleaning for example) and sometimes I don't know what started it but we would here her about once a week doing her guinea-song.

Ginger fell very suddenly ill when I noticed her sitting very quietly in corner with her fur fluffed up. They day before she had still been literally jumping around and enjoying her food (and that of the others). As this was on a Sunday (2nd August 2009) we went to the emergency services of our vet where Ginger was diagnosed with possible pneumonia and prescribed Baytril. This did not show any effect and we took her to see our vet again the next day.
I don't know why but I had the suspicion that the issue is not an URI but that there was something else causing these symptons and researched as much as possible on heart problems. Although I took plenty of print outs with me to the vet, they decided to continue her on the Baytril. However, after Ginger showed no signs of improvement the next day, the vet agreed that her heart could be the underlying cause and took x-rays. These showed so much fluid in her chest that her hear was not visible on the picture. Poor Ginger's lungs had to struggle against all that water. She was immediately put on Frumeside to first clear the fluid. The vet also ordered an ACE inhibitor (I think Fortekor but I am not sure anymore) to start Ginger on the next day.
Ginger seemed to struggle a tiny bit less during that evening and night. She even went to sit close to our guinea-boy Teddy when I checked how she was doing during the night. But she seemed also like drifting and not really there. When we went to her early in the morning she was just dying. It was so terrible to stay calm to give her strength and peace but she did not seem to suffer anymore. It was so quick. Just 4 days.

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Post   » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:09 pm

Well after a 6 week battle with Pneumonia and changing antibiotics after 3 weeks, Ginsing was diagnosed yesterday with an enlarged heart. The x-rays show it pushing on the trachea and lungs. While always a 900 gram piggie she started a rapid weight loss about 2 months ago and started a wet crackling wheezing.

She was quarentined and has been on meds and and CC since. SHe seems to eat and drink well and gets around fine we just cannot get her weight back up.
She is now on Baytril, Furosemide and Aminophylloine. She has been with us for about a year or so and we think her age is about 3.5 years give or take.

We have out fingers crossed that she will show a little improvement with the new meds, I don't think she will go back with her 8 cage mates at this time but if she is feeling better I would really like to see her back with her herd if possible.


Post   » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:26 pm

Why is she on Baytril? Sounds tlike the pneumonia is misdiagnosed heart problems.

I'm not familiar with Aminophylloine but believe she should be on Fortekor and possibly also vetmedin.

I don't see any reason to keep her quarantined if she doesn't have pneumonia. Pigs with pneumonia do not eat and drink well or move around much. Also pneumonia that does not respond to treatment tends to kill them within days.

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Post   » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:37 am

The antibiotic was for her pneumonia which has fianally cleared up, I am going to let her finish the course to ensure she is OK.

She is responding well to the medications now, the catch in her breathing seems to be gone and she is eating like a pig.

Her x-rays showed that the lung field was clear but, the heart had been pressing on her lungs so she could not get a deep breath. She will go back in a couple days for a new x-ray to see how the meds are doing.

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Post   » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:11 pm

Well there seems to be no complications to the medications and Ginsing has gained about 30 grams this week. SHe is moving around more and seems altogether happier. We are all very happy here we were so worried about her.
Ginsing eating her CC this morning. 714 grams today!


Post   » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:07 pm

1 - Charlie, female, 4.5 years old. American shorthair.

2 - What I thought was a URI did not respond to Baytril or Bactrim treatments after 2 weeks. Also had a sore on her foot which indicated poor circulation.

3 - X-ray showed fluid buildup in lungs and chest cavity.

4 - Lasix (.30 ccs) and Enalapril (.25 ccs) twice daily. Continuing the Baytril for a few days longer.

5 - Diagnosed today, so that remains to be seen. She's been out and about in her cage and is eating.

6 - She's had skin tumors, removed twice, and an abscess, drained.


Post   » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:31 am

The aforementioned Charlie passed away tonight. Didn't respond to URI meds or heart meds, so I suspect something else was going on.


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Post   » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:22 pm

Elvis, intact male, Peruvian/abby mix, 4.5 years old

He had unexplained weight loss, URI's and was always somewhat calmer, almost lethargic.

Starting at approx. 1 year of age, we had routine x-rays, ECHO's, and vet exams. All chest/heart diagnostics were unremarkable.

No treatment for heart disease.

He had what we believe was a stroke around 1 year old, URI's, severe malocclusion, and various benign cysts.

His heart disease was confirmed/diagnosed by way of necropsy. I'm not sure if it's relevant enough to post here but his mother also had heart disease.


Post   » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:26 pm

His heart disease was confirmed/diagnosed by way of necropsy.

Which is why with pigs it is imperative to treat the symptoms. Often you won't get a diagnosis until death. The benefits of a heart med trial totally outweigh the extremely remote chance of a reaction to heart meds in an "undiagnosed" pig.

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