Swollen belly or fat? Side effects from medicine?

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Ada

Post   » Fri Nov 22, 2002 8:43 pm


My guinea pig, Carbonel, was recently treated for his large teeth (malloclusion?) I never knew they were long, I guess they were his back teeth?
However, while he was being treated for this, the vet checked out some other problems he was having. Because he was not actually ingesting the food I THOUGHT he was eating, he became extremely thin, and he is a tiny pig to start with. The vet gave me Critical Care and some vitamin C. I was so concerned he wouldn't take either, but he loved both! He went in a week later and actually lost weight, but the vet was happy because he was passing normal poops again. This time she gave me..the bottle says Alternagel Alum, Hydrox. He was iffy on that but now accepts it. I am to bring him in in a month, which will be Dec. 4.
The problem is, the last few days I have noticed when picking him up that there is a part under his belly that seemed squishy...I don't know how else to describe it. It was about the size of a quarter. He wasn't upset if I touched it, and the vet had checked him very well before and said she could detect no lumps or anything to indicate tumors. As this lump was in his lower extremity, I wondered if it wasn't a large poop building up in him. He has finally been able to pass the larger poops, so I wasn't too worried,
However, each day since, the squishy part seems to be larger and larger...not in mass (like goiter) but in surface area. It is almost his whole underside now. Again, it doesn't hurt him if I pick him up. I have also noticed that the fur has thinned in these areas, so I can't tell if the squishy feeling is more bloat or just exposed skin? He walks fine.
My vet had also mentioned at the last few appointments that there is evidence of kidney failure. Because I wasn't the one who actually brought Carbonel in on all these occasions, the details I got are sketchy. She said he was in no immediate danger and with him getting proper care now, he can stay a healthy happy pig, but he will not have the lifespan of a regular healthy pig. My mother thought that maybe, if he is suffering from kidney failure, that the squishy feeling may be fluid that isn't being expelled? He drinks his water normal and he definitely is not holding back on piddling whenever and wherever he wants to, so I find it hard to believe too much could be blocked up.
I know I cannot wait until Dec. to find out about this, but it is too late to find out anything from the vets office tonight. Can anyone identify with the above symptoms? Does it sound like anything that may have happened to one of your pigs? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

~ada

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Nov 22, 2002 10:06 pm


From your description, I can see why you are worried. I don't remember reading about a problem ever described this way. Your mom might be right about excess water. I agree with your intention to see the vet sooner.

I wish I could be of some help but I am clueless. Please let us know what the vet thinks.

User avatar
melcvt00

Post   » Fri Nov 22, 2002 10:19 pm


Now why would a vet prescribe a medication that prevents excess phosphorus absorption to a guinea pig?

User avatar
Paravati
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 2:12 am


uuhhh... What?

pinta

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:11 am


My vet had also mentioned at the last few appointments that there is evidence of kidney failure.

Is he receiving weekly or twice weekly hydration subcues to deal with the kidney problem? This is standard procedure for most animals with beginning kidney failure (although there is a type of kidney problem for which hydrating is not recommended).

I am not familiar with Alternagel Alum, Hydrox.

The swelling could be an edema or maybe a hernia? I wouldn't wait to take him in. I think this needs to be looked at immediately.

If you can't speak to the vet directly during the examination, it would be worth talking to him/her by phone so you are clear on the details.

User avatar
melcvt00

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 9:17 am


AlternaGEL, Amphogel, Aluminum Hydroxide....it's all the same thing. It's commonly used in cats and dogs to prevent excess phosphorus absorption in those animals with kidney failure. But then, the high phosphorus levels that usually lead to the AlternaGEL are usually determined by bloodwork, not just blindly prescribed.

So does anyone know (Josephine?) if it's really ok to use it on guinea pigs in possible kidney failure?

User avatar
Ada

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 12:56 pm


I don't think it was blindly prescribed. On his first visit, the vet had trimmed his teeth down as much as she could without overstressing him-he was in bad shape and they wanted him to gain some weight. But I brought him back a week later for her to finish the job. They put him under (I did not even KNOW that was possible!) and trimmed his teeth back further, and my understanding is they took more tests while he was out. The receipt I have just mentions X-ray for Survey view, radiologist report and Additional view? It lists the anesthesia used, the alternagel alum. hydrox, laboratory:chem profile and inmed serv:injection. I am not sure what the injection was for, but I think the chem profile was a urine sample, not blood. But I did speak to the vet before I dropped him off for his surgery, and she said she was taking a blood test, too. So I am sure that is how she determined the phosphorus level was high.

I do not know what a hydration subcue is, but he does not go to the vet twice a week and she did not recommend that I do anything different only twice a week, so I would imagine not. She did say to remove his salt lick and increase his veggie supply with high water content veggies. She did advise me not to put vitamin C drops in the water, or to allow a supply of water that does NOT have vitamin C in it, because the vitamin C may prevent them from drinking. (I have read that here too.) But I have noticed with the 2 male pigs that they attack their water bottles more when I put the drops in as opposed to not. As it is, I alternate using the drops, then giving them a fresh bottle. It seems to be okay with them.

The problem with trying to keep in contact with my vet is, my employer does not allow any calls from work, personal or medical related, and I am not exaggerating. I am still involved with a workers comp case for an injury that occurred AT the workplace, and they won't even allow me to speak to those doctors while I am at work, and I believe that is a violation of the law? But that's another story. That is why I have been relying on my poor sister-in-law to make these appointments for me, because she ultimately is the one who brings him in. I was almost fired the morning I dropped him off for the surgery because it made me late for work. And the hours are longer than a typical work day, so usually the vets office is closed before I go to work, and closed after I get out. Stinks. I know it sounds like a poor excuse to not keep better contact with the doctor, but his little surgery was EXPENSIVE, and if I lose the job, I will not be able to keep up with his expenses, let alone my own.

She said his calcium levels are ok and asked me to replace his alfalfa pellets with timothy pellets. He LOVES timothy hay but does not seem interested in the pellets at all. And does anyone know if the high phosphorus levels have anything to do with his teeth? He has had his teeth trimmed all three times I have brought him in, and the note the vet sent back with him indicates that he will probably need them trimmed every month. I have owned a lot of guinea pigs and none of them had such rapidly growing teeth! And it isn't the front two, it is the molars.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 1:15 pm


Sounds like you have a difficult situation. Do they give you breaks? Can you leave the company and make a call?

A hydration subcue is a subcutaneous (under the skin) shot of fluids to help hydrate (increase the amount of fluids in the body) in a dehydrated pig.

User avatar
Ada

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 1:40 pm


It is a serious situation, and I was going to try to stick it out until anything legal involving my comp case is finished, but after yesterday, I don't think it will be possible for me to stay anymore. Of course, that doesn't help me now. I have been making my emergency phone calls from a cell phone in my car at the closest take out place-we aen't even supposed to have cell phones at our building so I guess irt would not be a good idea to be seen using one in the work parking lot!
I think maybe because Carbonel doesn't appear to be dehydrated, the vet may not have thought it necessary to inject more fluid. Even before I brought him in, his appetite and what he was drinking hadn't changed. Of course, now I know he didn't eat everything he was chewing on, but I know he was drinking steadily. He was having difficulty reaching the water bottle for awhile. I lowered the bottle as much as I could without making it impossible for him to drink, and then added a tiny block of wood for him to put his feet on, as he was still reaching for the bottle. When I was present, I even held his paws for him while he drank-what a funny sight that was! But when he got stronger, he didn't need me or the lowered bottle, I just left the block.
He loves Critical Care. He probably doesn't need it anymore but he is so used to getting it first thing in the morning, immediately after I get home from work, and right before I go to bed. I call it his piggy milkshake. That last one is tricky because he usually decides to fall asleep on me then, and God forbid I put him in his cage so I can go to bed! This has-if anything-been a bonding experience.
He can't take carrots very well anymore-I think it still bothers his teeth. But they all get romaine, dandelion greens, apples, and of course their timothy hay and pellets. If I give the others carrots, I try to cut up small pieces for Carbonel, or shave them.
~ada

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 1:51 pm


I think freshly rinsed and lightly shaken off romaine is a good hydrator. Sounds like your pig is fine (hydration wise). I understand one method of checking for dehydration is to pull up on the skin on the back of the neck. If it snaps back, your pig is fine. If it kind of stays slightly pulled up and raised, the pig may be dehydrated.

User avatar
Ada

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 2:26 pm


NOTHING on that pig stays put! (When he is not sick, he is one hyper little pig. He is the one I can't post a good picture of because he will not sit stilllong enough for a good picture...they are always blurry!) I pet his head the whole time we do the Critical Care, and I have tried pulling a little, and it doesn't stay, it goes right back.
I am wondering if he isn't blocked a little. He never had a poop problem. When he started getting weak from not eating right, he wasn't able to clean himself out, so he started getting blocked up. When he got stronger he didn't need help anymore, and he started passing those large poop balls (I feel so bad for male pigs-that must be excruciating!) about one or two a day. Now it is one a day, and I noticed last night that the regular poops are smaller. When he needed help pushing it out, he never gave me a hard time. Now when I try to check his pooper, he gives me a hard time. I gave him a little mineral oil last night to see if it would help. I don't think there has been any change.

~ada

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 2:44 pm


Read the page on impaction and perhaps get some help examining and cleaning him.

www.guinealynx.info/impaction.html

pinta

Post   » Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:31 pm


Hydration for kidney pigs is not because they are dehydrated - it's to keep the kidneys flushed(I think? - Josephine?).

Pigs can have problems indicated by enlarged kidneys or "shrunken" (for lack of a better word)kidneys. One of these conditions needs hydration - the othe one shouldn't get hydration. I forget which is which. There was a thread on CG about a kidney pig that had this information. But since I am banned and cannot search the site(as far as I know this has not changed)I can't access that info, which ironically came from me.

I suspect the back molars are rapidly overgrowing because the jaw muscles have weakened(TMJ) and he can no longer grind his teeth down himself. See info on TMJ at: http://www.guinealynx.info/chinsling.html

I'm sorry you have such a bad work situation. There really ought to be a law.

User avatar
Ada

Post   » Thu Nov 28, 2002 1:12 am


Well, I took Carbonel in tonight, and I guess things aren't looking too good for him. The vet believes he does have edema. She also said it could be something like a tumor starting up in his chest (most of the swelling is up front, not near his back legs.) But she said she doubted that as his breathing and heartbeat were unaltered. She gave him a shot which I assume was a liquid form of the lasix she gave me. She warned me about keeping his fluid intake up especially now that he will be losing the fluid. My poor little guy. He has so much life in him, and every bad thing is happening to him. He also had his teeth trimmed again. His weight was up but I would imagine most of that was the fluid buildup. But I can tell that he has gained weight...his back and butt are filling in nicely.
Is there a difference between kidney failure and kidney disease?

~ada

pinta

Post   » Thu Nov 28, 2002 4:33 am


The kidneys fail due to kidney disease. An ultrasound is probably the best diagnostic (that I know of). In my experience blood tests to show kidney function haven't been reliable.

Lasix is usually contraindicated with kidney problems. Hydration is usually recommended but it depends on whether or not the *kidneys are enlarged or reduced in size. Our vet will usually give a hydration subcue when giving a Lasix injection.

If he appears to be in discomfort pain relief in the form of NSAIDs could help(Rimadyl or Meloxicam).

*The thread at CG on kidney problems was from doe2 about her pig, Nickles. I hope you can search over there and Dinomom is not denying you access to information that could help Carbonel. I wish I could remember the details but I can't and am unable to access my own information due to Dinomom's pettiness.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Thu Nov 28, 2002 1:06 pm


I have never heard of the aluminum hydroxide used in cavies. I do find bloodwork useful, but it does not show renal problems until the kidneys are in renal failure (most healthy tissue compromised). It would, however, also be helpful in diagnosing cancers and cavian leukemia.

I'm not sure by the history really what is even going on. An ultrasound would certainly be helpful for checking kidneys and looking for tumors.

I was going to suggest SQ fluids anyway if it was really kidneys, since it is not hydration that determines fluid therapy in kidney patients. It does keep the kidneys flushed, as pinta suggested. I would even personally go as far as to give SQ fluids daily in a kidney patient.

Since there is edema, SQ fluids are likely contraindicated. What is causing the edema? Perhaps the heart should be examined more closely?

Kidney disease is beginning stages of the acute kidney failure. When an animal is in kidney failure something like 95% or more of the kidneys are shot.

User avatar
Ada

Post   » Fri Nov 29, 2002 1:25 am


I did find the thread at CG...I am surprised my name and password still work over there...it has been a long time. Does anyone know whatever happened to Nickles? It kust kind of stopped. It was erie reading it and seeing exactly everything that has been happening to Carbonel happening to Nickles too, although Doe2 didn't mention anything about Nickles swelling up.
The swelling has actually gone down some. I was alarmed this morning when he didn't pounce on his romaine leaf as usual. But he was full of Critical Care, and when I eventually returned him to his cage, he made short work of that leaf!
My original appointment with this vet was for 12/4. I still have the appt. of course, as she still wants to check up on his progress. I am happy with the vet (for once!) I don't think she is ignorant and I also think she is surprised that I have already invested so much time and effort and MONEY into helping him get better. I am sure if there is no change with him she will consider a hydration subcue if I ask. But I am not sure I understand why it is so important that he have one. He is drinking plenty and aside from this morning, his appetite has not dwindled at all. I think after reading Doe2s post I will run out and get some Pedialyte, just in case something happens. But so far he doesn't seem to have a problem with keeping hydrated, and I know firsthand that he isn't retaining as much, either so his kidneys must be "flushing".
She never said if his kidneys were enlarged or smaller. I will ask about the ultrasound (another thing I didn't know was possible for a guinea pig!) I know in the past when I mentioned the possibility of x-rays, she didn't think it was a good idea. But when I brought him in for this problem, she went ahead and took them. So I know she listens (thank God!)
What are some causes for edema? I know she said that the blood sample they took from him yesterday showed that his protein level is up, and I thought she said something to the extent of...with the lasix, his protein levels may be kept down and that may be counterproductive too? Don't quote me on that last one. But I know she was concerned about his protein. There was more fluid and puffiness around the front and his chin. The vet believed there was no buildup in his back area because that area is more active and the activity would encourage fluid dissapation. (Not sure I understand that one, either, but I know the swelling in my knee goes down more if I work it, as opposed to just sitting around on it.) But I am surprised that she said the rear area gets more activity than the front. On my HEALTHY pigs, the butt just kind of stays in one place and the front area seems to do the wandering! But in Carbonel, since I brought him in over a month ago, his back paws do not seem to have the control they used to, and his rear really stays in one place. I don't think his activity is keeping that swelling down, I just don't think it started there. Hopefully by tomorrow it will be down even more.
~ada

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Nov 29, 2002 8:07 am


Keep in mind an ultrasound is only as good as the technician reading it. If you have a spare pig, you might bring it along for comparison if needed.

It does sound like your pig is well hydrated.

pinta

Post   » Sat Nov 30, 2002 3:53 am


Vicki of JPGPR had a very poorly off rescue that had been left for dead she was nursing. http://www.JPGPR.com/ (Hit articles and scroll to Twain: The Story of a "River Rat".)

He also had swelling in the front area. I asked one of my vets for his opinion and these is exerpts from my emails to Vicki, for what it's worth.

....Other than that he suggested if the edema is hanging
around the hind quarters to suspect lymph and circulatory problems. For
all-over edema, he said to do the lasix thing. He was not surprised at
cracking feet. He said it is to be expected with fluid pressure buildup.

________

Okay, my vet has seen your info. Unfortunately, he doesn't think it
looks too good. He suspects kidney disease. He said something about a
"nephrotic syndrome" ????? and that Twain was losing protein thru the
gut (which you already knew). One good thing - he doesn't think a
problem with the liver is indicated. He spoke to some specialists up
here and the consensus is to try a course of steroids (prednizone) to
try to turn him around.



Twain was suffering from malnutrition and didn't make it in the end. But feelings were if he had not been in such poor shape to start, he might have had a chance.

doe2's Nickles didn't make it. There was probably another thread started that continued updates. Try searching under Nickles at CG.

Pigs with kidney conditions can often be maintained through hydration. Kidney disease like heart disease, doesn't seem curable just treatable. Although the life span will be shortened by kidney disease, the pig can often have a good quality of life thru maintenance.

User avatar
Ada

Post   » Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:11 am


I can't believe it took me so long to get to your reply, Pinta. Carbonel had a follow up tonight. At first the swelling had seemed to go down, but it seems to have moved. (Vet noticed it more than I did.) Whereas before it was mostly the front two legs and chin, now it is evenly swollen all under his belly. I asked her tonight, because I knew I would be asked, about the hydration subcues. She explained it to me (like you and Lynx did) and said that it was to keep him hydrated so that he could flush our his kidneys. But she said keeping him hydrated isn't the problem, he can't flush it out. And she wrote down some info for me because at this point I told her there would be questions here and I wouldn't know how to answer them. She said his condition is Nephrotic Syndrome, and that he is losing protein (I was mistaken before-I thought she said his protein was up, but it isn't.)
He has had a major drop in appetite. Well maybe major is a bit excessive. He was going at the Critical Care like there was no tomorrow, now he only takes the little bit that his lasix is crushed up in. He won't eat anymore. Sometimes when I give him a lettuce leaf he will just nibble at the edge, other times he will rip it to pieces and inhale it if he doesn't slow down! He won't eat the timothy hay anymore. He hadn't been eating the timothy pellets I bought for him, so I had mixed it with his alfalfa pellets. Now he isn't touching it again, but I found he really has a yen for oats. So I have been mixing his oats with his pellets, and he seems to be eating all three. She also gave me Baytril for him (a generic form, I think). I didn't think Baytril was good for guinea pigs, but it has been so long since I read up on it, maybe I am wrong. But he sure did like it! We got home from the doctors office and he had his lasix, baytril and alternagel and he even ate more of the Critical Care. Which actually brings up another question...is there a danger with guinea pigs (like with humans) taking too many medications at the same time? If I could I would space it a few hours apart, but everything is "twice a day" and if I dose him up before I go to work and then again right after I get home, that is a good rounded off 12 hours. Is there any danger in having the three meds all together??
He is drinking his water now-I am glad because he has been slacking off on that too. I think his front paws are so swollen now that he can't reach the bottle. So I hold it for him, and I was finally able to adjust the cage so I could lower the bottle. The is the first time I have seen him in two days hit the bottle on his own and not wait for me to bring it to him. : )
~ada

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