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.
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.
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.
- You can quote me
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).
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.
- You can quote me
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).
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.
Lotinsen treats the heart - Lasix treats the fluid around the heart - two different things.