Diagnosed cases of mega-colon in guinea pigs?

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Lynx
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Post   » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:04 pm


Wenton5 ran across an online page claiming guinea pigs can get mega-colon. I do not recall any diagnosed cases of mega-colon in guinea pigs. So it's my belief this would be pretty rare or does not happen.

Anyone here know of a diagnosed case of mega-colon in guinea pigs by an experienced vet? If so, do you know any details of the treatment? (outcome, diagnosis, etc.)
Last edited by Lynx on Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bpatters
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Post   » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:43 pm


I wonder if what they're calling megacolon is the same thing that's called impaction in older boars. Many posters will write of a "clump" of poop that has to be expressed or dug out. An enlarged colon is really what megacolon is, whether it's congenital or because of the backup of feces in the colon. Seems to me like it could be two words for the same phenomenon in guinea pigs.

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Lynx
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Post   » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:12 pm


I don't really think so. Perhaps JudiL can comment on mega-colon in rabbits. The article on gps claimed:

"Guinea pigs sometimes develop what vets will call a 'mega-colon', an overly enlarged intestinal track that will overwhelm the ability of the anal sphincter to control feces production. The sphincter will lose muscle tone, which will cause a buildup of fecal matter in the large intestine. In time, the pressure of the buildup may cause the walls of the intestine to burst, creating a nearly-always fatal case of peritonitis to form. Veterinarians will put your pig on a program of digestive medications and laxatives, and you will be shown how to stimulate the anal opening to encourage defecation."

For one thing, the above confuses me as the sphincter controls the elimination of poops. If it loses muscle tone, one would think they'd pass out more easily. And I don't ever remember impaction causing the intestine to burst (implies in the middle of the tract, not the end).

Then there is the complication that there are two kinds of poops - one that is soft and reingested and the other that is just passed.

wenton5

Post   » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:11 pm


Thanks Lynx for posting this, I am so curious what they are talking about if anything. I will see if I can find any viable information. Lara aka Wenton5

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Lynx
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Post   » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:06 pm


Back to bpatters' idea - perhaps it is possible an impaction could completely block passage of poops (this would, of course, be an emergency)?

I thought in rabbits this came on slowly, not suddenly.

wenton5

Post   » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:43 pm


Wouldn't one think it to be rare if there isn't much information out there? I would think it would be an emergency as well.

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Lynx
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Post   » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:38 am


I'm making this a sticky, hoping for more feedback from people who have lots of pigs. Would still like to know if any pig has been diagnosed with this.

wenton5

Post   » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:06 pm


This looks pretty good and sound for at least a reference :)

http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/Differential/mega_differential.htm

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:12 pm


Thanks for the link, wenton5. It looks pretty comprehensive. The causes seem to be quite varied which partly makes me wonder if the term megacolon is sometimes wrongly used.

wenton5

Post   » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:12 pm


Yeah, it looks to me like megacolon is a "generic" term for certain colon conditions. Dosn't help much but at least maybe explains why it is being used sometimes.
:)
Thank you Lynx.
L

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Lynx
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Post   » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:58 pm


Yes, "generic" is a good description. Not particularly helpful.

Talishan
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Post   » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:53 am


I've had one.

Our very first pig, Sir Barnabas Jerome of Furry Face, was diagnosed by a cavy-knowledgeable vet with a condition called acquired megacolon. This is probably most similar to the same kind of condition in rats. A "stretched out" colon, where waste material can accumulate, is probably a rough and simple description.

He defecated in cycles -- that is, large, soft clumps; then something fairly normal, then very very tiny, then none at all until I worked a large compacted mass of tiny feces out of his perianal sac. Then the process began again.

He liked hay but it gave him fits. He couldn't digest or pass it. We gave him unlimited (and I do mean unlimited; we went through two heads of lettuce a DAY, and no, that is not a typo) greens; some fruits, some Critical Care, and pellet stew.

He lived for four (4) years with this condition. He felt lousy when he felt lousy, and felt good when he didn't. He had a very strong personality and character, without which I doubt he would have made it as long, or as well, as he did.

We gave him Reglan on occasion. We tried Cisapride and it very nearly caused him seizures. Cisapride works on the lower GI and may help this condition, but use it with **extreme** caution.

wenton5

Post   » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:39 pm


Talishan, thank you so much for posting, this is really great info. and I appreciate the knowledge being passed on. Thanks so much. RIP Sir Barnabas Jarome... L

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JamiesAnimal
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Post   » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:50 pm


Every male guinea pig that I have had except for Adam (successfully neutered) had the large clumps. It was the weirdest thing, but all of them had it except for the only neutered male. Samson, Elvis, Oscar, Cory, Ben, are names off the top of my head so that is five boys.

Laxatives? That sounds creepy.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:44 pm


Just saw this and thought it would be NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE in a guinea pig. Usually, megacolon is a result of chronic constipation and occurs in omnivorous (or mostly carnivorous) mammals. Just bizarre that someone would diagnose it in a guinea pig. It is not stasis. I agree it could be a result of an impacted boar and resulting "pile up" of feces, but this would take some time to stretch out the colon to the point it is this damaged. So, aquired, maybe. Otherwise, I just don't see it as a hugely common thing to worry about. It can be a huge problem in domestic cats.

Talishan
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Post   » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:24 am


We have another with a much milder variant of the condition, and another who seemed to develop it during his last couple of weeks of life.

In all cases it seemed to develop or initiate from being overfed greens. Rather than the normal loose stool that firms up once greens are eliminated for a while or reduced, these animals seemed to retain a sensitivity to certain types of foods and when fed those foods, would pack up (for lack of a better way to put it), eliminate a smelly glob or globs of stuff, then normalize for a bit, then pack back up.

In our experience the best way to handle it was to severely limit, or eliminate, the trigger foods. The vet that initially explained this to us gave me the impression it compared somewhat to a balloon with a weak spot or spots, so in blowing it up you'd get a place where the balloon hyperexpanded and thus trapped the air blown in (if that makes any sense) until fully deflated. With digestive material, the trapped material will begin to go into ileus (soft, overfermented, smelly).

JamieNov -- "laxatives" is creepy to me too. If you substitute "judicious use of motility agent appropriate for a cavy" (i.e., Reglan), then okay IMO.

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