Fluffy- heart,URI?

ottosmom

Post   » Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:15 pm


Fluffy is my 2.5 year old abby boar who was a former classroom pet and my first piggy. When I got him he had a URI and a swollen toe (he was limping). We got AB's from the vet (Panmycin) and he got over the URI and has been fine. I had not yet discovered the wealth of info on this Forum back then.
Anyways, I noticed in late September of this year he was making a snuffling sound through his nose (no runny nose, crusty eyes, lethargy, etc.). I took him to an exotics vet in early October and she looked him over and checked his lungs and said he was fine. She gave me an Rx of TMS (which I think is Bactrim) as a preventative medicine just in case. He stopped making that sound so I didn't give him the meds as I was concerned about disturbing his gut bacteria. He periodically makes the snuffling sound and then it goes away. Yesterday I noticed he seemed to take a lot of rests in his cage, where he stops in place,closes his eyes and seems to breathe slower and deeper than the other pigs. And he looks kind of puffed up. And, he was making the snuffling sound the day before yesterday. Today he stayed in his sleeping bag more than usual resting. He's eating and drinking fine, but I'm worried about him. He's my delicate pig and I'm wondering if he might have a heart condition. I've been reading all the info and old forums about heart pigs, and my gut feeling says to have him checked. I'm wondering if I should go ahead and treat him with the Bactrim I have as a preventative to see if he does improve first. The Rx I have is TMS 1/2 oz / 1 units - give 0.4cc per day for 10 days. Fluffy is 990 g. Is a chest xray the only way to tell if there is a heart condition?
Sorry for the long post. Any advice (criticism) is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Lisa

Evangeline

Post   » Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:27 pm


Unfortunately, there isn't a real protocol to diagnose heart problems in pigs. Some show up on x-rays, others don't. Sometimes, the vet can hear a murmur, other times they can't. Sometimes, an ultrasound will help you find the problem, other times it doesn't. Sometimes, a pig shows many symptoms, other times he suddently collapses from heart failure. Basically, it's quite tricky to identify.

Most of the time, the owner suspects something is wrong with the heart and meds are tried. If things improve, you have yourself a diagnosis. It's kind of a trial and error thing.

From what you say, it could certainly be possible. I'll email Pinta and ask her to take a look at your post.

ottosmom

Post   » Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:40 am


Thank you E. I don't know if I'm just being overly cautious or not. It's just that whole "gut feeling", "mom's instinct" kind of thing that bugs me. If I lost him to something that could have been prevented, I'd feel terrible. It's like sometimes he looks winded and most of the time he seems fine. I'm think I'm paranoid!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jan 21, 2004 9:06 am


He may have fluid in the lungs. It sounds like he is ill and may at least need aggressive antibiotic treatment. Read other heart symptoms following a link on this thread:

http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4444

Evangeline

Post   » Wed Jan 21, 2004 7:30 pm


Pinta can't post, right now, but here are some of the thinsg she mentionned.

She says her vet doesn't like using Bactrim for URIs anymore. She prefers Baytril or Doxycycline. I'll add that my own pigs have done very well on Chloramphenicol, but Pinta doesn't seem to have any luck with it. Doxy seems to be better tolerated than Baytril in many pigs.

Your vet should listen to his heart very carefully. Pinta has a pig with murmur and another with an hyperactive heart (280-300 beats a second). I believe both problems have been picked up by listening to the heart. However, liek I said before, tthere is no guarante the vet will hear something wrong ever if there is a problem.

Also, an x-ray will tell you if he has fluids in his lungs. It that case, your pig will need Lasix, which helps evacuate such fluids. Unexperienced vets usually go for a very conservative dosage. However, you need to be very aggressive with this drug, or it will have little effect. Note that pigs on high Lasix doses need daily hydration subcues to make up for the diuretic effects of the med.

For both listening to the heart and x-ray, bring in a healthy pig so your vet can use it as comparison. You should also print the relevant information (threads, med dosages, etc) and take them to your vet. Your vet will more than likely suggest ABs again. If the pig isn't a lot better after 4 days, it's a safe bet to say he needs to be on ACE inhibotors (Enacard, Fortekor)

I hope I didn't mess up while passing on Pinta's message to you. Just know that her vet is great, that she has a lot of experience in heart pigs and that she is always willing to consult with vets who are less experienced.

You know your pig. If something seems odd, chances are you're right about this.

ottosmom

Post   » Sat Jan 24, 2004 1:17 pm


Thanks E. for the info. I am trying to get Fluffy into the vet today. This morning when I picked him up I noticed a little blood around one of his teats and while I was holding him I saw a small drop of blood drip out of the area. The area around the teat appears swollen and a little darker in color than the other one. He has been eating and drinking and eliminating just fine and seems his normal active self. I picked him up a little later and the blood is dried up now and I'm not sure if the blood had come from the teat itself or from right next to it. Maybe a piece of hay poked him and caused an irritation? I don't want to take any chances.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Jan 24, 2004 3:27 pm


I hope it is something minor. Let us know what the vet says.

ottosmom

Post   » Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:49 pm


Fluffy is on Baytril (0.2mL 2x per day). She said his lungs sound a little noisy; I brought a healthy pig to use as a comparison. The blood was coming from the nipple and she is concerned about it being a tumor. She is consulting with some other exotic vets regarding the next course of action and will get back to me Monday. One of the vets she consults with is an exotics specialist in Roseville whom I've taken piggies to before and feel very confident about. Roseville is a bit of a drive, but Iwill take Fluffy out there next week if my vet in Davis isn't comfortable with the next step.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Jan 24, 2004 8:03 pm


I was wondering about a tumor but thought it would be a lump, not just bleeding. A couple people here have had mammary tumours removed from their boars.

Evangeline

Post   » Sat Jan 24, 2004 8:17 pm


Pigpal has a mammary tumor removed on one of her boars. You might want to email her and ask her details.

So no x-ray was taken? If you happen to take one for the tumor, make sure they get the lungs as well, to see if there is fluid in or around them.

ottosmom

Post   » Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:20 am


I will definitely get a chest x-ray as well. We are going back during the week to do x-rays, biopsy, or whatever else is needed.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sun Jan 25, 2004 11:52 pm


I had a mammary tumor removed from one of my boars this year. It did a similar thing (bleeding out the teat) and you could certainly palpate a small, firm mass. I had it completely removed (tumor and teat) and the biopsy sent out. It was benign (non-cancerous). I had xrays done of the chest during surgery (while he was still sleepy and still), which were normal.
I was predominantly concerned about cancer spreading to the lungs if the tumor was malignant. In any case, the mass should be removed. Then, you can figure out if it's cancer or not. The problem if you left it, even if it is not cancerous, is that it may rupture and/or abscess out eventually. That's not fun for anyone.

You need to make sure he doesn't have any URI stuff before the surgery. A chest xray is helpful if you are checking out URI and heart disease and you can do it prior to any potential surgery. If he does have heart problems, he can be safely anesthetized with the proper anesthetics and monitoring.

ottosmom

Post   » Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:09 am


Thank you J. I hope my little guy's lump doesn't turn out to be cancerous. The vet here in Davis is not very familiar with mammary tumors in guinea pigs; she told me she would consult with some other exotic vets, including one over at the Bird & Pet Clinic in Roseville who does have a lot of experience with piggies. Did you have your boar's surgery done by a vet in the area?

Julian
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:11 am


If you are in Davis, can you use the vet school?

Maybe Jo has a recommendation for the exotics department?

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Mon Jan 26, 2004 3:02 am


My boar's sx was done in Oroville. A great gp surgeon and vet, but about 2 hours away from you. I'd offer a referral, if you're interested.

Are you talking about Acorn? If they have done any tumor surgeries on cavies, that should be fine. I have no idea how large you're talking, but my pig's mass was about marble-sized and fairly easy to dissect out.

I sweated the whole week it took the results to come back. I was so sure that it was cancer. It wasn't. I'm just a worrywort, but I'm so glad I had it removed early on and it wasn't as involved as it could have been had I left it longer.

I don't know how good the surgeons are at UCD. I know they treat a lot of malocclusion cases, but I have yet to see many cavy cases here, period. I would prefer a private vet myself, since I think that the general client service can be wonderful.

ottosmom

Post   » Mon Jan 26, 2004 1:14 pm


Fluffy goes in to the vet tomorrow for x-rays and aspiration of the lump. I hope he doesn't get too traumatized. I'm supplementing with Critical Care because his appetite has decreased a bit. He's not losing any weight but I don't want to take any chances.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:34 pm


Why are they doing an aspiration of the lump? If it is for a biopsy, it is probably better to get it removed altogether. The composition is sometimes difficult to get with just a needle aspiration and the results of such biopsies are general and can be more unreliable than punch, wedge, or complete excision biopsies.

ottosmom

Post   » Tue Jan 27, 2004 1:32 am


I will print out this forum and take it with me tomorrow Josephine. I agree with you. The lump has to come out anyway. Will definitely do x-rays to check heart and lungs.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Jan 27, 2004 3:12 am


If you're going to take it out anyway, I prefer one biopsy to two! Sending out the histo will be adequate unless you want to know if it's simply an abscess. From the way you describe it, I'm thinking that isn't the feeling of the DVM.

ottosmom

Post   » Wed Jan 28, 2004 6:27 pm


Fluffy went to vet's yesterday and had x-rays and a fine needle aspiration of the lump. His heart appears ok and there is no indication that there is any spread of the tumor, if it is malignant, into the lungs. They said the lump is very vascular and bled easily when they did the aspiration. They looked at the slide and can see cells, but in order to determine if cancer cells are present they need to send it to a lab. I've decided to have the lump removed when Fluffy's URI clears up anyway and did not feel it was necessary to pay for the slide to be sent to a pathology lab when there is a good chance it would not give accurate results. Now it's just a matter of waiting until he's healthy before scheduling surgery. He's seems to be doing ok, eating, drinking, pooping, peeing just fine and not in any discomfort.

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