Sagan's Medical Thread

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milosmumma

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:10 pm


Hi all-
It has been a very long time since I've needed to post. We are currently a 4-boar home (housed 2 and 2). We got our pig Sagan in August of 2011 from a local shelter. They believed he was about a year and a half old--we thought maybe a little older. He has always been a very happy guy and our best eater. At his heaviest he has been 3lbs 13oz, and his lightest (currently) is 2lbs 8oz.

We recently had a baby (6 weeks ago) and the pigs have certainly been impacted by this. I think the sound of the crying is distressing to them, but also the decrease in attention. Sagan has clearly been the one "hardest hit" by this.

I started noticing within the past few weeks that Sagan's hair appears to be fluffed up as if he is distressed. We weighed him and did not note a change. He had been eating and active, so we figured it was just our imagination. We weighed him a second time and he was around the same weight (give or take a few ounces) so figured again, it was just our perception. We weighed him this evening and he is down to 2lbs 8 oz (he was 3lbs at last weigh in). I can't say for sure when that weigh in was--since our son was born we haven't been writing the weights down in their folders unfortunately. I would say it has been within 2 weeks. So clearly, this is a major weight loss for this time frame. He continues to have fluffed up hair, but his appetite seems the same. He is also drinking the same amount and begging for treats. The only thing off for him currently is his weight loss, his hair is fluffed up, and for some reason we just feel as though he seems sad. He has had crusty eyes on and off, though nothing major. He has never had health issues before, but was treated for suspected lice as one of our other pigs (not housed with him) had lice. This was a year ago. He has always been a guy with very itchy skin, and this continues. Not sure if it has anything to do with the current situation.

We have realized we also haven't cleaned their cages on the same schedule they are used to. They are housed on fleece and typically get changed twice a week (every 3-4 days) and that is now stretched a few days on occasion.

All other pigs are currently healthy and happy.

Please share your thoughts. We are calling our vet in the morning and hoping to get him in, but really don't have a direction to go in. Thanks for any input.

User avatar
sef1268

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:25 pm


I'm sorry to hear about Sagan. Fluffed up is usually a sign of pain. Have you noticed any unusual lumps? Have you checked for anal impaction? I'd also have teeth checked and x-rays done to rule out anything obvious, for starters.

Good luck at the vet tomorrow. Keep us posted.

User avatar
milosmumma

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:53 pm


Thanks Sef. He doesn't have any lumps but I will check for impaction. Now that you mention teeth, he has gagged or acted as though things were getting stuck in there on and off since we have had him. Upon visual observation the vet has said they're fine, but we haven't checked roots via x ray. Will update tomorrow.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:43 pm


With that kind of weight loss, something is definitely wrong. See also gl/malocclusion.html and gl/handfeeding.html Now that you discovered his weight loss, weigh him once or twice a day and be prepared to hand feed him. Hopefully the vet will be able to figure out what is wrong.

And congratulations on your new human!

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milosmumma

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:06 pm


Thank you, Lynx. It is quite a journey!

We feel horrible about the weight loss. His "normal" is 3lbs, so we are thinking it was an 8oz loss in approximately a 2 week period. Now that we are watching him more closely tonight, it seems like he is eating "treats" (lettuce, baby carrot) just fine, but definitely not his normal amount of hay and pellets.

Diva

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:46 pm


Do you have critical care or can you make a thick pellet mash (maybe mixed with pumpkin)? If you make it on the thicker side, he may just eat that on his own if the pellets are too hard to eat right now.

Poor Sagan!

User avatar
milosmumma

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:10 pm


Hi Beth,
We are a daddy-less house this evening and Tadhg has been upset! It is a zoo here. I'm going to see if Rob can pick up a can of pumpkin at Walmart (I think the local one is 24/7?) on his way home. Poor Sagan is even resisting treats although he is still begging for them. I'm going to try to make a pellet/water solution but I haven't been quite successful in the past. Unfortunately we don't have critical care. I'm going to see if we still have vitamin c I can crush and put in the slurry. A few months ago I was saying we should have CC just in case...of course I never followed through. Hoping Dr. Ann is in this week!

Diva

Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:05 am


I've sent you an email. I can bring some down tomorrow if you can't get to Dr. Ann.

You can grind the pellets up in a coffee grinder or food processor.

Poor Tadhg!

User avatar
LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:55 am


You can also soak pellets directly in water, and they soften right up and expand like crazy. Then you can add all kinds of things: vitamin C powder, probiotics, Pedialyte, pumpkin, veggie baby foods... Seems to work as well as the CC, but is much cheaper.

User avatar
sef1268

Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:50 am


Yep. I have a small, inexpensive coffee grinder (less than $20) that I use for grinding pellets to a fine powder for my own handfeeding formula. I'm not a huge fan of Critical Care these days, after they dropped the probiotics and raised the price.

There's a thread on here somewhere with ingredients that some of us use in our own "blend." A little canned pumpkin (plain; no other ingredients) helps give it a smoother texture and most pigs like the taste. Plus it's high in fiber.

Do you have any 1cc syringes to use?

User avatar
milosmumma

Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:17 am


Thanks again, Beth!

& thank you for the tips on making my own slurry. We tried to use the pill grinder we have (I know, not very efficient!!) and slowly added water. It worked okay, but not great...so next time we'll know. We did pick up some CC at the vet as soon as it opened this morning. I had no idea they changed the formula. We no longer have probiotics or vitamin C in our "stash". Back when we had Milo, he was often very sick (heart pig) and had all of those things "just in case"...but haven't had any sick pigs for a year and a half since we lost him. Luckily we do have lots of syringes and we boiled them before we used them for Sagan.

Sagan has an appointment at 2pm with a vet who doesn't know him...our vet must be on vacation. Hoping we can get him feeling better. When we woke up this morning and weighed him he hadn't lost anymore. He also ate half a carrot (by bed time he had been refusing all food) and some lettuce. We gave him critical care as well. He is still begging for treats and my husband said he ate a little bit of hay. His spirits are better today, too. We appreciate everyone's good thoughts for him!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:57 am


I am guessing the probiotics are difficult to guarantee present - that they degrade easily, especially with exposure to air. So it could be they did testing and found they weren't holding up (just guessing).

User avatar
milosmumma

Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:42 pm


Hi everyone,
Sagan saw a not so cavy savvy vet today (but she did her best). Our vet was there but busy...but she did check him out when they brought him out back. They couldn't find anything wrong. I had them give him fluids and we are going back tomorrow for a full body xray. I declined blood work for now but we may change our minds if it continues to be a mystery. He is eating lettuce like a champ, but nothing else. We are continuing CC but he is quite the resistant little guy. Thanks for your continued positive thoughts for him. Will update when we know more.

User avatar
milosmumma

Post   » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:11 pm


Sagan had his x-rays. I have posted the images below. He has two stones that are symmetrical so the vet believes they are in the ureters. A urine sample confirmed excess calcium. He appears to have failing kidneys. We are giving him fluids, pain meds (Buprenex) to see if he improves. He is still peeing and hasn't lost any more weight. He is still willingly eating lettuce and often green pepper and carrots...but we are force feeding CC.

The vet says we have no options if this doesn't help. She suggests euthanizing if he doesn't improve within 48 hours because he believes he won't improve from anything else. Please, someone tell us there are other options for treatment. He just made happy noises when he got back to his cage mate, and seeing him still able to eat and still strong is so hard for me to believe he is at the point of euthanizing.

Image

Image

User avatar
milosmumma

Post   » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:26 pm


His Buprenex is 0.3mg/ml 1 ml vials....0.15mls every 12 hours. Does this sound right? Also, if this gives a sedative effect, won't it appear that he isn't doing better regardless?

User avatar
sef1268

Post   » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:53 pm


Hmm. I'll see if I can find my images of the stones in Zachary's ureters to compare against, but the placement of those stones does suggest ureteral to me.

I don't have my drug list here at work, so hopefully someone else will come along with dosing info.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:10 pm


I'm sorry your pig is having these problems. I don't want to be a downer, but I think I'd euthanize in that case. Stone removal from ureters doesn't have a high success rate, and I don't think I'd put a pig through that kind of surgery for a stone in both ureters.

User avatar
sef1268

Post   » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:38 pm


Here is that photo I was trying to find:
Image

Zachary started out with a couple of small stones in one ureter, and it quickly progressed to multiple stones in both (as seen above) and acute kidney failure. The problem with ureters is that they are so narrow, and surgery is incredibly tricky.

I think there are a couple of people here whose guinea pigs had ureteral stones and the owners opted for surgery, but I honestly can't remember the outcome being very good. You might do a search, though. One (might have been ElvisTCB?) had a vet who *I think* was able to flush a small stone from the ureter into the bladder via the kidney. Sagan's stones look pretty large to me, though.

A lot would also depend on the skill level of the vet, too.

Darn. I really wish I had something more encouraging to offer you.

User avatar
milosmumma

Post   » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:30 pm


Thanks for your responses. Sagan is now congested and trembling now and then. Could this be something not related to kidneys?

C Cole-Chakotay

Post   » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:47 pm


I hate to hear Sagan is doing poorly. Poor baby. :(

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