Ginger's Medical Thread

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Post   » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:28 pm


I am so sorry. I can only imagine how exhausted and frustrated you must be. I have only been through one minor surgery so I hope more experienced members can help you.

I am sending good wishes your way and I hope after all the wonderful care you are giving Ginger she will take a turn for the better.

Hang in there!

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Post   » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:56 pm

Thanks Talishan. Our vet said to stop the tramadol. Only gave her the one dose last night. I misspoke when I said torb. Should I continue or not? She is just a rag doll.

Thanks Crazy4me. We are giving her simethicone and put her on a vibrating pillow.

Thanks Delaine. We appreciate the good wishes!

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Post   » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:45 am

You're doing everything you can do. The vibrating pillow may help.

If the food is going somewhere when you feed her, don't give up yet. The subcue fluids may help a great deal.

Tramadol is not as zonking as other narcotics. Rather than stop it altogether, I think if it were me I'd give her a very low dose. Then again, it may be contributing to her lethargy. Without reading back, is she still on Metacam as well?

Were you given any Reglan to use at home? (It can be given either orally or injectably -- that is, you can give it to her yourself orally if you're not comfortable doing injections.) She needs to keep stuff moving.

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Post   » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:29 pm

We didn't think she'd make it through the night. In fact, she was on her side starting to "run across the rainbow bridge" this morning. But we came up with a game plan that seems to be working and we ran it by our vet for his blessing. She is far from being out of the woods and is still very weak but we are finally seeing poop after a 23 hour drought.

Sub Q every 12 hours
Meloxicam every 12 hours
Cisapride every 8 hours
Reglan every 8 hours
Tramadol every 8 hours

Stopped all ABX

Feeding 12 ml of CC every 2-3 hours on average.

Lots of pedialyte.

Placing her on a massaging pillow after every feeding for about 15 minutes. That's when it seems the most poop comes out.

We also discovered that her bloat/stasis was not entirely caused by the surgery itself but related to having it done. She crashed 72 hours after the surgery, 36 after leaving the emergency vet's.

We've had pigs for 13 years now and had to deal with severe stasis before but now we're right on top of it. This one caught us off guard because of other circumstances and we had to remember what we did way back then.

Wish us luck!

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Post   » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:14 am

I do wish you luck. It has been quite the journey but you seem to have a plan in place.

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Post   » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:49 am

"We also discovered that her bloat/stasis was not entirely caused by the surgery itself but related to having it done."

This is the better way to put it. Surgery itself does not cause stasis. Shock, anaesthesia, pain, all of these things tip them into stasis.

Guinea pigs are prey animals in the wild and shut down much more easily than carnivores (and omnivores) do when injured.

All that said, you're doing an absolutely fantastic job. You are saving this little pig's life. Keep going. Keep us posted.

Lynx/Tracis, is there a place Sosumi's treatment post above can be preserved for future reference?

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Post   » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:23 pm

Talishan, I encourage you to do a Records forum post (if you have time). Can just grab the pertinent facts and point to this thread.

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Post   » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:46 pm

Thank you Delaine!

And thanks for the vote of confidence in our approach, Talishan and Lynx, by suggesting it be made a fixture on the site!

My husband's theory is that, since they are prey, animals the have a flight or shut down response. When they have the surgery and when they come home they are in flight mode and the adrenalin is still keeping them going. Then they run out of adrenalin and go into this crash and shut down. I haven't looked to see if there were any other theories on this.

She is starting to crawl now and trying to eat hay and drink water. But not successful. And when I said "run across the rainbow bridge," it was THAT run that they do, you know? Still not out of the woods and have a long way to go...

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Post   » Sat Jul 05, 2014 5:55 pm

You and your husband have worked a miracle here. Really. Once they get to 'that run' I've never known of one to come back.

Carry on and keep us posted. You're doing just a wonderful job.

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Post   » Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:48 am

Sosumi and Lynx -- I did a short Records forum post for Ginger. Let me know if you want anything changed:

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Post   » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Looks good!

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Post   » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:31 am

Hi Folks, this Sosumi’s husband.

I started to write this after Talishan’s July 5th post so it isn’t a commentary on the records post. Just an update. We think the records post looks great.

Thanks Talishan, but the credit goes to Ginger. The night before, we were feeding her and she was just so bad that the food sat in her mouth and had to be removed. Any water would be exhaled out her nose along with whatever food was left in her mouth. We were lucky she didn’t aspirate. Once we saw that, we stopped and put her in her recovery cage and we decided that Ginger would tell us what she wanted in the morning. She hadn’t defecated in 23 hours. We awoke to find her on her side probably just starting that run. So we pet her while she laid there and were going to let her go.

Then we notice two small stools in her cage. She told us what she wanted! So we went into action. We snatched her up and Sosumi was forcing fluids while I drove to our regular vet’s for a sub q and to get the equipment to do the sub qs ourselves and have motility meds and pain meds injected. We told him of the game plan we came up with. He didn’t think she was going to make it. My only explanation is that all of that commotion snapped her out of it. She was a healthy pig, considering what happened, and this isn’t something that needs to be fatal. I probably should explain the “other circumstances” mentioned above that caused this dire situation. The emergency vet kept her for two days because she wasn’t eating on her own. We were told she would be syringe fed all of that time. We asked for her records when we picked her up. According to her records, she was not syringe fed at all! For two days!! I don’t want anyone to think that we let her get this bad on our own. We had a lot of help!

So the update… Ginger continues to improve. She is getting stronger. Passing a lot of stools. First large then very small and tonight getting near normal. She walks around MUCH better. Still not drinking on her own. But will eat some greens. We caught her munching a blade of hay. Her back legs still seem to be weak. We are attributing this to the surgery pain on top of the general weakness and gut pain.

When we first got her back, her cecum was large and very hard. Now it is not palpable at all. I am assuming the large stools were ones that were stuck in the cecum and the small ones were what was filling her back up and were tiny because of gas pockets.

We split their normal 2 x 4 C&C pen in half and put Ginger in there so she could be with her cage mate. They were very excited to be (almost) together again! It’s a 24/7 job for the two of us. Anyone else in this position needs to be aware of the work YOU HAVE TO DO to get to this point along with the emotional highs and lows.

I was looking at our Sara’s medical thread yesterday and came across this info and believe it should be repeated for those dealing with stasis. This is very valuable information on stasis and probably where we got most of our information embedded into our subconscious to come up with Ginger’s game plan:

And Sara’s thread where we got a lot of help and knowledge from forum members:

An important note! We took Ginger to our regular vet on Sunday because she sounded congested and were worried about possible pneumonia due to being non-ambulatory. The x-rays showed her lungs were clear, however, they did show sludge in her bladder! We looked at the Critical Care ingredients and there is an awful lot of calcium in it!!! So if you have a pig that is prone to stones, proper hydration is extremely important when using Critical Care in order to keep the bladder flushed out and not form another stone. Once we are done using Critical Care on Ginger, our girls will be going on a hay only diet and adding Shi Lin Tong and probably Polycitra-K for Ginger.

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Post   » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:19 am

"I am assuming the large stools were ones that were stuck in the cecum and the small ones were what was filling her back up and were tiny because of gas pockets."

This is mostly correct. The tiny ones could have been due to gas pockets, but more likely were simply because she had been eating so little in the meantime. Getting back to normal size means you're doing a great job getting into her what she needs.

Carry on. Again, you both have done a phenomenal job helping her to live through this.

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Post   » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:02 am

I am so happy to see continued improvement. And I cannot believe the vet did not feed your guinea pig! That is unconscionable!

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Post   » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:58 am

Talishan, thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot that the folks on this board understand these struggles and are here to support and help us.

Yes, Lynx, it is horrible, especially since we talked about syring feeding with two different vets at that clinic that were caring for her.

At work now, so just a quick update. Yesterday and this morning, she seems less interested in her favorite treats. It isn't like she was eating a lot of them, but she was munching and tasting.

Her favorite treats (not all at the same time, but throughout the day they are offered): mixed baby greens, 1/2 baby carrot, strip of corn husk, and blueberries.

It seems like we are in a holding pattern and don't see any improvements the past couple days, maybe even a backslide. Yesterday morning she still had some blood in her urine.

A couple of days ago, her poop was getting more normal sized. That changed on Sunday after her vet appt and now they are mostly small again. And she is still straining, grunting, and rising up on her tippy toes when she poops.

So, Sunday evening, we increased the amount of critical care we feed at each feeding. She gets 18 mL of CC five times a day. She is mostly fiesty during the feeding but sometimes is ok. Mostly she fights the feeding. Her weight is stable.

We are still giving 35 mL subQs twice a day. We hate it because she crys, but we know it is helping her greatly.

Not sure what to do to shake things up and get her to at least munch on her favorite treats as a step to munching on hay or pellets and toward eating on her own.

ETA: changed my avatar to Ginger's picture.

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Post   » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:39 pm

She is a sweet girl. I hope she starts showing some interest in her treats. Did she ever like tomatoes? Mine enjoyed tomatoes and green peppers.


Post   » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:46 pm

Just wanted to say she is so lucky to have you, and your determination/stamina to get her well! Keep up the good care!

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Post   » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:14 pm

Thanks Lynx, yes, she liked tomatoes, but not now!

Thank you Crazy4me it is good to have your support!

Ginger is doing something strange with her mouth when she tries to eat greens, and even while we are syringe feeding.

The best way I can describe it, is that it looks like she is trying to get peanut butter off the roof of her mouth and she stretches her mouth open and kinda sticks out her tongue. She has been syringe fed for almost 2 weeks.

We wonder if it is either:
1. problems with her teeth since she hasn't been grinding them by eating hay
2. problems with the tissue in her mouth from us shoving syringes in her mouth; sometimes the ends get rough from her chewing on them.

Could her teeth be a problem already? Really don't want to subject her to anesthesia and another procedure while she is in such fragile health. She is still on meloxicam and tramadol for pain relief.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:42 pm

Certainly sounds like teeth to me.

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Post   » Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:51 am

Are you using 1cc syringes with the tip cut off to handfeed her?

What I do when we've had to do this is make about a dozen of them. I cut the tips off, then pass them quickly through a flame (gas stove eye, cigarette lighter) to round the edges.

As soon as the syringe is either chewed up or doesn't push smoothly from repeated use (Critical Care chews up the inside of syringes), I toss it and get a new one. This 1) makes the "force" part of forcefeeding a little more gentle and smooth, and 2) reduces the chance of irritating her mouth when this has to be done for extended periods of time.

Any of the sharper tips (like on a 10cc, 6cc, 3cc or even 1cc without the tip cut off) will irritate their mouths over time.

In theory grinding up the Critical Care (which has hay bits and silica in it) should protect her teeth. She still has to grind it. That's no guarantee, though.

Without reading back, is she still on a postop AB and if so, what is it?

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