Baxter's med thread

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zazzified

Post   » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:14 pm


I just heard Baxter's nose whistling a moment ago, quickly followed up with a couple tiny hoots. He hasn't had any decrease in weight, appetite, activity, etc. He's always been a little less active than Jeeves, but Jeeves is so hyper that he regularly hurts himself doing something insane so he isn't really a good comparison. He is, however, a big pig - 1500+ grams.

The whistling is only occurring when Baxter is actively trying to smell something. When he's going about his regular business, no whistle. It also isn't happening 100% of the time - maybe 50%.

I have only heard a few hoots, and this is the first time I've ever noticed either symptom in him. My desk is right next to the cage so chances are excellent that I would have heard it previously if it was an ongoing thing.

He is 2 years old.

So my questions are whether you think I should monitor him for a couple days and see if it was a one time thing, or if these symptoms are so standard for heart problems that I need to get him in ASAP. None of the other symptoms stood out to me on the heart page.

My pigs have had terrible luck with health lately - I'm hoping that I'm just being overly paranoid and that he ate too fast or something.

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zazzified

Post   » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:37 pm


I should also mention that he has no discharge from his nose or eyes.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:05 pm


I would monitor him. Watch for any other signs. You can also weigh daily if you are worried.

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zazzified

Post   » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:24 am


Thanks Lynx. He seemed fine this morning but I didn't get to spend much time with the pigs before going to work so my boyfriend is on pig duty today. Will get an update from him later.

I will start weighing him daily tonight as well.

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Brenda B

Post   » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:46 am


Poor Baxter. I hope it is not heart issues.

My Guinness had noisy breathing that sounded sort of clicky like something was stuck in her nose. It went on for months and turns out it was a sinus infection that never got really bad. But it did seem to progress in noise so I took her to the vet. But after one week on baytril it came back so she is now on a longer regimen and is finally silent.

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zazzified

Post   » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:02 am


Yeah, I hope it isn't. :( Unfortunately twice now, I've taken a pet to the vet for something minor and found out it was major - we took our dog in for a cough and found out she was dying of cancer (this was several years ago), and then I took Jeeves in for a limp and found out he actually tore a ligament and his kneecap was cruising around on its own. So I'm hoping I don't end up with a pattern.

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zazzified

Post   » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:03 pm


So far so good this morning, according to my boyfriend, so that is promising.

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zazzified

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:17 pm


Ok, I've heard several hoots this afternoon. :( A couple louder ones too. No nose whistling lately though, and no weight loss. What do you think?

ETA: A lot more hoots already. I think it's time he goes to the vet. Will exotic vets generally try a heart medication without an xray? I know that there are types of heart problems that don't appear as an enlarged heart, and so I imagine even if nothing shows up, he'll need meds. I'm wondering if it's possible to avoid the cost of an xray unless it's deemed necessary after trying some meds. Thoughts here? Will vets usually be ok with that? I take my pigs to Stahl Exotics in northern VA.

It looks like Lasix and Lotensin are the meds I'm finding references to on here... ugh, I have so many questions! I am still searching, but are these both lifetime meds? Are they very expensive? I'll obviously get him what he needs, I just need to brace myself!

If he does have heart problems, what is the follow up care routine in terms of vet visits? I know my vet will have a recommendation but I want to go in knowing what you guys think.

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zazzified

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:29 pm


BTW, I'm reading Mum's heart pig thread right now. I've already ready the GL page on it.

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zazzified

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:22 pm



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Brenda B

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:37 pm


I know nothing about heart pigs. And never heart a hoot until your video. BUT, I wish you and Baxter the best at the vet.

Bugsmom had a heart pig and I bet she would be happy to answer questions for you too. She is a sweetheart.

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zazzified

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:40 pm


Thanks! I'm going to try to get him in on Tuesday, unless people here think I need to try to get him in as soon as I can tomorrow. I know that he does need to see a vet with that hoot, but if anyone can weigh in on how urgently that needs to happen, please do. I can try to get them to squeeze him in tomorrow if people here think I need to.

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Brenda B

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:36 pm


If no one responds, and you are very worried, email bugsmom offline. She is a very nice lady. Tell her I told you to bother her! :)

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:51 pm


"Will exotic vets generally try a heart medication without an xray?"

How good a negotiator are you? ;-) If you ever thought you might have liked to be an attorney -- or did moot court in school -- now's the time to brush up. If you explain the situation clearly, concisely, and objectively (with backup from some of the material on GL), the chances should be fairly good of yes.

I think Stahl has experience with heart pigs. Not sure on that. Email JudiL and see if she knows.

Lasix is not necessarily lifetime. Lotensin, if needed and efficacious, is. Lasix is fairly cheap. Benazepril (Lotensin) is all over the map. It can be ridiculously expensive, or quite reasonable. It'll need to be compounded, so if you have (or know of) a good compounding pharmacy that will work with you, so much the better.

Human Lotensin is cheap. It is my understanding it dissolves in water. You may be able to compound it yourself. I take lisinopril (also an ACE inhibitor). It's one of the $4.00/month ones at Walmart.

As you describe I think Tuesday will be okay. Watch him very carefully in the meantime (which I know you will anyway).

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zazzified

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:59 pm


Thanks so much. I really know nothing about compounding so I'm not familiar with what pharmacies would do that. I feel very out of my league here! Do exotic vets normally just call it into a pharmacy that they are accustomed to working with? Is this relatively common for pet medications in general? I've only ever gotten meds directly from the vet but I'm not sure how unusual this is for vets (and therefore how streamlined/easy it'll be to accomplish).

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:26 pm


Sorry, just saw this. Talishan is giving you good info as far as the meds go but compounding the Benazapril is easy. If you do a search under my name I think I have a thread on compounding Benazapril yourself.

My druggist is not a compounding pharmacy but used to do it for me anyway with water, pills and a suspension agent.

Lotinsen (Benazapril) is forever, sadly, but piggys seem to do well for a long time on it. You may be lucky and not have to use the Lasix for very long (depends on what's wrong and far along it is). Unfortunately mine was on it every day.

My recommendation is to get at least an x-ray if not an ultra-sound. It's true, they won't always show anything but they will give you a base-line for any further changes that might occur.

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Brenda B

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:57 pm


zazz, you got two of the sweetest experts on your thread now, Talishan and Bugsmom. I am sure they will both be very helpful and informative :)

My best to you and Baxter. Keep us posted.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:02 pm


"Do exotic vets normally just call it into a pharmacy that they are accustomed to working with? Is this relatively common for pet medications in general?"

Yes and yes.

BM has a very good point -- if at all possible, an x-ray is a very good baseline for future changes. Cardiac ultrasound or echo would be very valuable as well, but depending on your vet, area, and capabilities accessible to you may be 1) very expensive and 2) not worth it if they can't read it properly.

Lasix (a/k/a furosemide) is a loop diuretic. It relieves stress on the heart by clearing away any excess fluid that may be in the lungs or around the heart. Once that is cleared and the heart is supported by use of an ACE inhibitor like benazepril, or even a Ca-channel blocker like Vetmedin (see http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21897 ), the fluid shouldn't return. If, however, the pig's heart just can't keep up, period, he or she may be on Lasix as well for good.

Point: many vets are completely familiar with Lasix (it's used on lots of animals, human included) and think that's all the "heart med" you need. It's not a heart med, per se, and addresses a symptom, not the cause (although it does a superb job on fluid).

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zazzified

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:32 pm


Thanks Bugs Mom, I just found that thread. I will print it out and add it to my growing stack of heart pig information along with a print out of this thread. Was really hoping I wouldn't have a pig ready to join the heart pig club but I'm pretty convinced that's what's going to happen. :(

Talishan, you mentioned that many vets think that Lasix is all that's needed. If the vet wants to give him just that initially, should I protest? Is it ok if it IS the only med? Or is lotinsen what treats the cause more and lasix treats a symptom?

Thank you all again. I am very overwhelmed but I honestly don't know what I'd do without GL. If it weren't for the fact that I frequent GL, I wouldn't have even known that hooting was a sign of something this serious. Instead, as soon as I heard it I knew exactly what I look up here. Phew. Better to have information overload than none available at all.

Edit: Ahhh, I just discovered that my vet has been removed from the staff list at Stahl Exotics! That's ok, I liked her but I'm fine with using one of the other vets. Was actually hoping to see Stahl or Crum this time since they're the ones I hear about most.

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:01 pm


This is just what I would do you understand-I would, politely but forcefully, tell the vet that in addition to the Lasix, I wanted to start my pig on a trial of Lotinsen. If necessary, politely, remind the vet this is your animal. A trial of Lotinsen won't harm the pig. If the heart is not the problem you won't see any improvement and can discontinue the Lotinsen. I suspect that with a trial of heart meds you will see an improvement though.

Lotinsen treats the heart - Lasix treats the fluid around the heart - two different things.

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