Hazel's medical thread

Post Reply
User avatar
Zaphy

Post   » Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:02 am


Yeah, she's been on poop soup daily (Violet is an exceptional donor, she's always ducking under for cecal poops when I hold her) for the last couple weeks. It firmed up her stools really nicely at first, and now she's kind of back to her old ways even though she's still getting poop soup. It's the same way she reacted to the Bene-Bac.

Maddy_harper

Post   » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:27 am


aww poor thing.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:03 pm


Vary it. Keep her feet clean (yes, this is a mess and a lot of work. :-/). Then give her Bene-bac. Then keep her feet clean. Then use poop soup. Then keep her feet clean. Etc. Rotate between trying to treat the problem with different probiotics, and just letting it go (as long as she's doing fine otherwise, of course) and keeping her as clean as possible.

You can try this and see if she likes it:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001BM1QRC/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid= ... obios+powder

Dissolve it in water and offer it by syringe. It smells like reconstituted powdered milk. (?) They either love it or they hate it in my experience, no in-between.

Also without reading back, have her droppings been looked at under a microscope for any bacteria or microbes, or an overgrowth of normally-occurring microbes?

Have you considered metronidazole (Flagyl)? This is an antimicrobial agent that works well on protozoal overgrowths and the like.

I will say it's easier to keep feet and bedding clean with chronic soft stool if you use a loose bedding like CareFresh or kiln-dried pine shavings. If your entire system is set up for fleece, though, that comment is probably less than helpful.

:-/

User avatar
Zaphy

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:56 pm


Mmm. So Hazel's been... interesting, and I am still worried about her especially over the last week.

To recap: Hazel has been struggling with diarrhea her whole life. She is about 10 months old. Poop ranges from malformed, slightly soft teardrop poops to softserve textured mush, never entirely liquid. We have tried:

-Introducing veggies slowly

-Eliminating veggies completely from her diet

-Introducing veggies one at a time to see if there's one in particular that's causing the upset

-Fecal and urine exam to check for parasites/flora imbalance, came back clean

-Probiotics: Bene-Bac powder and poop soup from my other pigs

-Restricting pellets so as to force her to eat more hay

-Keeping paper towel roll core in her cage for her to chew on/eat (indigestible fiber source)


The pellets she is being fed right now are Oxbow alfalfa pellets, to be replaced with timothy next time I buy a bag since she's getting older. She is fed timothy hay from a local feed store.

The probiotics, either one, will work for a little while- a few days up to a couple weeks, then her gut will go back to being bad. I've been alternating them since last post per Talishan's suggestion. She had actually been doing really well- she was hovering around 620g (up from 570) pretty constantly for a couple weeks!

***********************(end of recap)

Just last week she crashed a bit, stopped eating well so I had to force feed her. She lost some weight before I noticed and is now 550-580g. I took her to the vet and he told me to try no veggies for a month and a half along with restricted access to pellets and see if the longer period of diet restriction fixes it. He said if she needs something green, grass will do, so now her treat is some wheatgrass I got at the pet store. She doesn't like it as much as peppers, lettuce, apple, or carrot though, and when I give my other piggies their treats she begs so hard and it breaks my heart :( She also gets vitamin C drops in her pellets.

Something interesting he suggested was to keep the pellets in the fridge- though I don't think this has anything to do with her problem, because his reason was for that to slow the vitamin C deterioration in the pellets and he said he didn't see any signs of C deficiency when I asked about it. I think he's just about out of ideas though, he told me not to make another appointment if she's not better after six weeks and to just call him instead and he'd see what he could think up then.

I haven't tried the probios powder you suggested yet, Talishan- I'm thinking I'll try adding that into the rotation next time she gets bad. Her poops are currently teardrop/weird shapes.

Also, something unusual I've noticed over this last week is that her feet are often cold when I pick her up? None of my other pigs' feet ever feel cold so I assume that it's not just that we keep the apartment too cool... has anyone heard of that being a symptom of an underlying problem before? Nothing's come up in my Google searches.

Oh, and as an aside- vet checked her shoulder lump (she had an inexplicable solid lump, produced nothing upon lancing, that started regressing on its own) and says it looks good, nothing to worry about there. So that's nice at least.

Also have not tried Flagyl, since the poop smear/urine test came back clean. Are those usually pretty accurate, or might it be worth trying a round of Flagyl in case they missed something? It also might be worth noting that she's had this issue on and off since September of last year, I kind of assumed that any protozoa/worm/etc they missed would have killed her by now.

I do have fleece set up in their cages, but I've been so tired of trying to keep her hidey area clean that I took your advice and put paper bedding in to line it. It takes longer to clean up, and now she pees in there too instead of just in the litter box, but I do think her feet are generally cleaner for it. Still needs a foot bath every now and again, but less often. Thanks for the suggestion Talishan!

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:59 pm


I'd try the Flagyl, if it were me.

User avatar
Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:11 pm


I am sorry Hazel is having such a hard time. I was wondering what the ingredients in her Vitamin C drops were.
Last edited by Delaine on Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:16 pm


How much vitamin C does she get? It can cause diarrhea.

User avatar
Delaine
Supporter in '14

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:20 pm


I was also wondering about that bpatters. I was concerned about the sweetener used. Any number of artificial sweeteners are added to Vitamin C supplements, especially liquid and chewable vitamins. One deadly sweetener is Xylitol.

User avatar
Zaphy

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:09 pm


She's not getting any veggies right now, so the C drops are her only source (plus what's in the pellets I guess, and a few blades of wheatgrass when she'll take it). To clarify, I only have been using the drops when she isn't getting veggies. I use them according to the package directions, 2-3 drops on her pellets daily.

The ingredients listed on the bottle (these are Oasis brand multivitamin Vita-Drops): Water, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin A Palmitate, d-a-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Niacinamide, Choline Chloride, dl-Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Riboflavin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex (MSBC)

No sweeteners that I recognize... but may be a good idea to stop the drops?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:38 pm


Those are multivitamin drops, and they aren't recommended for guinea pigs except in a few situations.

Oasis also makes a plain vitamin C drop, which is probably what you should be using if you're going to use one at all.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:36 pm


Yes, the multivitamins can cause problems due to the accumulation of fat soluble vitamins. Extra C is just urinated out of the system.

Have you tried Oxbow digestive health tabs? They seem to have helped some guinea pigs.

User avatar
daisymay
Supporter 2016-2018

Post   » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:18 am


Hoping Hazel feels better soon. I hve never given my pigs any supplements. I don't think they are needed. Sending hugs and healing vibes.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:16 pm


We had one little girl like this. We don't know what initially messed her gut up, but she was like you describe most of the time she was with us.

Cold feet can be indicative of heart compromise. That said, sometimes their feet will feel cold on occasion. I'd not worry about it unless 1) it's that way ALL the time, not just occasionally and 2) she has other signs of heart weakness:

http://www.guinealynx.info/heart.html

Our Heather had a thyroid nodule, and other signs of hyperthyroidism. Do you see anything else (other than soft stool) in Hazel that would suggest that?

When the vet checked her feces, did they just do a float, or did they look at it under a microscope? A float shows the presence of certain parasites and no more. Making a slide will show microbial overgrowth, inappropriate bacteria, etc. I'd want them to do that if they haven't already -- or just try a course of Flagyl as bpatters mentions.

Heather had teardrop shaped/odd/soft feces the whole time we had her. We finally gave up and just kept her feet clean.

User avatar
Zaphy

Post   » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:35 am


Definitely stopping the drops then. And I will check out those digestive tabs for sure! Thank you!

Her feet have been normal temperature the last few days, so I guess she just got chilly then. And she doesn't have any of the other signs on the heart page.

As far as signs of hyperthyroid, Hazel has just lost weight this month and hasn't put it back on, but she was also able to gain weight before that too... so it's less that she can't gain weight and more like she has trouble keeping it on maybe? She went from 570g to 620g, back down to 570g. So not a huge difference, but she does still feel pretty thin compared to my other pigs so I'm still worried. Possibly overly so.

That's the only thing that seems like it would indicate hyperthyroid. I can't feel any swelling or nodules from her sternum up to her jaw (not sure exactly where the thyroid is on a pig's neck as compared to on a person). She's not any more or less active than my other pigs, given her recent cold feet I'm guessing she doesn't overheat, it seems she sleeps just fine...

They called it a 'poop smear', but didn't give me any specific results, only that "it came back clean". I assume that they would have called it a float if it was a float, but it'll probably be safer to call and check.

As long as it's just a matter of me keeping her clean I don't mind so much, it's just when she has these episodes when the probiotics don't help and then she drops some weight that I get worried. Also I wish I could give her fresh veggies. She is my cutest pig (don't tell my other pigs) and her little begging face is tough to resist.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:10 pm


This doesn't sound like hyperthyroid to me. It sounds much more like her body isn't properly utilizing or processing all of her food.

We gave Heather normal amounts of greens. Within reason, they didn't affect her wonky output. Way too much would give her soft(er) stool, of course. But I'm not sure that eliminating all vegetables is going to help.

User avatar
Zaphy

Post   » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:39 pm


Yeah, from what I've read and from her behavior, it seems that way. And I feel like if veggies were the problem we'd see more issues immediately when we reintroduce them to her diet.

Today her diarrhea's gotten almost to the liquid point. Her weight's still at about 560g though. Would that change in consistency be cause for alarm, do you think? Or still only if her weight drops more?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:15 pm


If it's liquid diarrhea, cut out all veggies immediately if you haven't already done so. I wouldn't feed anything other than hay/pellets and/or Critical Care.

Did you ever try Flagyl?

User avatar
Zaphy

Post   » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:06 pm


Yeah, she's been off veggies since the 18th. I haven't tried Flagyl yet, when it was just soft stool I figured it could wait a week till my parents weren't in town visiting but if this change in consistency is more concerning maybe I should give the vet a call when they open tomorrow, yeah?

edit: Hmm. Also, upon closer inspection, it appears the stool isn't quite liquid, more like... looser soft-serve consistency than normal. I kinda freaked out. :/ I could upload a pic if it would be helpful.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:29 pm


If the stool is very loose, I'd go ahead and get the Flagyl. It may not help, but a pig with a digestive problem can go downhill in a hurry, and you may not be able to get it turned around. Since you haven't tried Flagyl yet, I think it would be worth it.

Without reading back, are you giving probiotics and/or poop soup?

User avatar
Zaphy

Post   » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:28 am


Yup, I'm alternating her on Bene-Bac powder that she was prescribed in December and poop soup from my other healthy pigs- she'll improve for a few days, then while still on the probiotic she'll decline again at which point I'll switch, and this most recent bout (started about a week ago) neither has helped. Talishan and Lynx have suggested a couple additional probiotics and tablets I can also try, I've got an order in for em on Amazon.

Post Reply
142 posts