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.
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.
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.
- Little Jo Wheek
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.
- Little Jo Wheek
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.
- Little Jo Wheek