Zoe's Medical Thread

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Delaine
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Post   » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:56 pm


I just got back from the vet's and Zoe my 2 1/2 year old American sow has two very small bladder stones.

She has been slowly losing weight over the past 3 months so I took her for a wellness check last month. The vet could find nothing obvious and was not concerned about the weight loss. She was only a few grams lighter than she was the year before when the vet weighed her.

She is eating tons of hay, veggies, a few pellets (Oxbow Adult) and gets double washed grass this time of year.

I noticed she was having some blood in her urine so took her back for an X-ray which showed the two small stones.

Her vet suggested monitoring her for now because the stones were so small and I will start trying to get more water into her. Hopefully she will pass them.

My two sows do not have access to sun and eat very few pellets. I was wondering if any studies have been done on lack of Vitamin D and improper calcium absorption causing bladder stones? I know in humans Vitamin D is very important for proper calcium absorption.

Also, besides the limestone used as the calcium source in Oxbow pellets, could the pellets change the pH in the urine encouraging stone formation?

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Lynx
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Post   » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:46 pm


Read over gl/stones.html I don't know the answer to your last question. Do weigh regularly, perhaps even daily right now. If there is pain, you may see weight loss.

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Delaine
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Post   » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:14 pm


Thanks Lynx:

I have read over the stone information several times. It says Vitamin D in required for proper absorption of calcium. What are the symptoms if calcium is not being absorbed properly (other than bone and teeth problems) and can it have an impact on stone formation?

I read on this forum that some members have removed pellets from their pig's diet. Are those members adding any supplements such as Vitamin D to replace the nutrients lost from the pellets?

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Lynx
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Post   » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:03 am


Vitamin D supplementation might be wise if they aren't getting any. I have a page of questions myself on stone formation. We don't have as much info as we need.

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Delaine
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Post   » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:46 am


Lynx:

Do you know how much Vitamin D a guinea pig requires?

I would be able to calculate approximately how much Vit. D Zoe is getting from her pellets. It would be hard to know for sure because I think her chubby sister eats a good portion of them.

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Lynx
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Post   » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:23 pm


It is discussed on the stones page.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:16 pm


I have very good news.

Seven months ago two small stones showed up on Zoe's X-ray. I have made changes to her diet, increased floor time to 4 or 5 hours daily and added two more water bottles to the girls' cage.

Yesterday I took her in for another X-ray and her bladder is totally CLEAR of stones. Her vet was very surprised but pleased.

I had her show me the two X-rays side by side because I needed to see for myself. I am so happy and relieved.

In January I saw Zoe pass some very gritty urine with two very small stones in it. I am assuming they were the ones.

I have taken a picture of them but had some trouble trying to attach it. I am going to try again.

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zazzified

Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:21 pm


That's great news. Have you asked your vet about polycitra? Jeeves had two stones back to back that had to be surgically removed a few years ago, and nightly polycitra in addition to diet changes (veggie changes, and I banned Oxbow pellets in favor of Kleenmama) have kept him stone free (with a couple short scares that I think were sludge early on) for a few years since. (Knock on wood!!) It's dirt cheap, too. My current vet ordered a whole human-sized bottle from Costco and I think it cost me $14. It'll expire before I ever get through it. Even when my old vets only called in a one month supply at a time I never paid more than $12 a month. I'm not sure if polycitra is available where you are but you might want to see about it because it's a cheap way to know you're doing all you can.

Shilintong is another thing to look into. We don't use it regularly but I keep it around for scares.
Last edited by zazzified on Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:22 pm


Here is the picture of her small stones.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:24 pm


I am doing something wrong. I will try again.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:29 pm


I haven't asked about polycitra yet. The next time I take the girls in to their vet I will ask her about it. Compared to the cost of vet bills polycitra is a bargain.

I think the extra exercise has really helped and changing from Oxbow pellets to only 1 tsp. KMS pellets am and pm.

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zazzified

Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:03 pm


Yeah, we were on Oxbow before too. It's a good brand in general but it seems like stone pigs often have trouble on them and KM has been good for us. Plus they're such nice pellets anyway!

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:12 pm


Here is a picture of the stones Zoe passed in January.

Image

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:20 pm


zazzified

How many pellets are you feeding? I am giving the girls such a small amount now but I still see some sludge every once in awhile. I find the KMS deposits more like a flour and water mix, like a thick paste where the Oxbow deposits were very gritty.

I still don't like to see any deposits.

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zazzified

Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:42 pm


Ouch!

I don't see sludge these days so I don't measure precisely, but when I did measure I was sticking to about 1.5 tablespoons a day per pig. They don't ever really finish them, though, and his lady friend is a fatty and eats more than he ever has. It could be that I'd be seeing sludge if I didn't have him on the polycitra, though.

Another thing to check is that you have a good calcium:phosphorus ratio. There's the veggie chart here http://www.guinealynx.info/chart_CaP.html and if you scroll down a bit here http://www.guinealynx.info/stones.html#treatment you can see how the ratio works. You may have checked that out already. I don't religiously calculate it out, instead just generally being aware of where each veggie falls, but you may want to do that for a while. I did for a bit when Jeeves got his stones. The spreadsheet that can do it for you is on there.

You could also experiment with upping her fluid intake with unflavored pedialyte. I've done that after surgeries in the past but that could also help. Despite being unflavored they seem to think it's delicious so it's usually an easy sell.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:24 pm


Thanks for the suggestions zazzified. I have looked at Becky's Stone Diet and I have printed off all of Guinea Lynx Vegetable charts.

My girls are into anything leafy. I finally got them eating yellow pepper. Zoe, my girls with the stones, had a bowel issue a couple of years back which I was able to resolve through careful documenting.

Since then I have kept their diet pretty consistent. They are not fond of carrots, zucchini, or any type of squash. Many of the leafy veggies are high in calcium so I have eliminated those. They get green and red leaf lettuce, escarole (good Ca:P ratio) and yellow pepper. I buy my 2nd cut Timothy by the bale so I end up composting more soiled hay than they eat every day.

Putting two water bottles beside their pellets and hay rack and two more in their hay pile has really helped.

It sounds like you have done a very good job on balancing Jeeves diet. I am glad he has done so well since his surgeries.

I have learned so much from members such as you who are willing to share their experiences and successes. Thank you.

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zazzified

Post   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:33 pm


You're welcome, I've learned everything I know here so I try to be helpful when I can be. Especially with stones, because unfortunately Jeeves is experienced with them!

Red and green leaf are the staples here too for the leafy greens. Jeeves has done very well on those as the main dish for a few years, so I hope you find success with them as well.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:15 am


What other veggies besides red and green leaf lettuce and peppers would you suggest?

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zazzified

Post   » Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:35 am


Chard is one that goes over well and has a similar Ca:P ratio as red and green leaf lettuce. Baby spinach goes over well, but that's higher in calcium so I give them considerably less than I do with red/green leaf to balance that out. They get cucumber sometimes, which isn't very useful nutritionally but I figure the water content is nice for them. Corn husks and silk are a big hit as well. For other treats that are low on the Ca:P range to balance out other higher options (like some kale, for example, which I give sometimes but they aren't huge fans of) I'll do a small piece of apple or banana. And then carrots are another good treat, which hits around the red/green leaf ratio also.

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Delaine
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Post   » Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:08 pm


I forgot about corn husks. My girls really like them but in Canada we can only get them certain times of the year. I noticed they are just starting to come into the stores. They are pretty nasty looking so far so I think I will wait until they look a little fresher.

I stopped giving them chard and I can't remember why now. I thought it had something to do with the oxalic acid content but I can't see it on the Guinea Lynx chart. I grow it in my garden so maybe I will introduce a small amount this year. I know they will like it.

Do you feed any grass?

You have given me some new ideas. Thanks.

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