Reba: Satin w/arthritis, bone loss, & teeth issues

User avatar
Becky

Post   » Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:33 pm


This is the article we were looking at. I couldn't find any other incidence where it was used on guinea pigs and my vet, who posted on VIN, I believe, also found no information.

It's not a treatment to be taken lightly, but it certainly might be an alternative. I'd print this out and take it to your vet.

http://www.exoticpetvet.net/dvms/mbd2.html

I recently consulted for a vet treating a male (intact), 17 month old guinea pig with pathologic fractures of the left and right humerus bones. The guinea pig was on an appropriate diet (according to the owner), but it developed fractures with normal ambulation. Lab results were as follows: WBC 7,700 (n 5.5-11.0 x 103/ul), PCV 35 % (n 33-50%), MCV 77 (n 60-70 fL), differential: neutrophils 76% (5852) high, lymphocytes 8% (616) low, monocytes 11% (847) high, eosinophils 5% (385) high, platelets increased at 804 x103/ul. The chemistries that were abnormal included: alkaline phosphatase 246 (elevated) (n15-45 IU/L), total protein 4.4 (low) (4.5-6.5 g/dL), calcium 7.9 (low) (n 8-12mg/dL), phosphorus 8.4 (n 4.2-8.5 mg/dL). Radiographs, evaluated by a board certified radiologist, confirmed metabolic bone disease in this patient. Any time there is osteoclast activity, the alkaline phosphatase will be elevated. Unfortunately, this patient died before calcitonin could be administered.

As to the weight, I managed to get Elvis' weight up to a certain point, then keep it stable for quite a while before it started tapering off again.

User avatar
Wheekers3

Post   » Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:23 pm


Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium. That is why our milk is supplemented with it. I'd look into how to bump up the D in her diet.

Poor Reba, I hope she feels better soon.

User avatar
Mum
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:01 pm


I was giving Heddwyn 75mg calcium lactate once daily to help with his severe bone loss. I also have a light over his cage:

Image

After 4 months his bone loss had at least halted, and I've just increased his dose to 75mg twice a day in the hopes that it will actually improve.

As it's been so cold recently I have that light on most of the time, but when it's warmer I make sure it's on for about 30 mins twice a day.

Without some form of VitD or sunlight I think the extra calcium would be useless.

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:46 am


Wow! Thanks for the info! Reba has an appointment on Saturday for a recheck, unless I feel she needs to go in sooner. I am aiming for this appointment tho because Brianna will be going with me for an appointment for Abby, Reba's sister. Abby has just started hopping when she runs. The joint appointment is so that the vet can see them both side by side too. Six months ago Reba and Abby were pretty much identical in size, weight, etc.

The vet planed Reba's teeth 3 weeks ago but she is still unable to eat right on her own, so I have been handfeeding her pellet mash and Critical Care. It takes me 1 to 2 hours to get enough food down her to barely maintain her current weight (which is WAY too low; 640 - 650 in the a.m.). I am still feeding her 3 or 4 times a day. Last week I was feeding her at the same time that I was eating a burger and she came over and stole a bite of my bun. She got so excited at being able to eat it successfully that she almost mauled me for more. I know bread is not nutritious for guinea pigs, but I also know she needs calories and she also needs any encouragement she can to try to eat on her own, so it left me in a weird spot - let her be successful and encouraged and have the extra calories that she so desperately needs, or be "politically correct" about what is good and bad.

Well, W, one of my closest friends has been over a few times while I have been feeding Reba and we have been throwing ideas around. Today she took a bunch of Kleenmama's pellets, soaked them in water until they were soft, added canned pumpkin and some fresh green beans, then added enough Bisquick and water to make it work, and spent the evening making Reba her own batch of piggy pancakes! Reba went nuts! She absolutely loved them! They still may not be the most nutritious food, but at this point I am beyond being "politically correct" and more interested in getting Reba to gain some weight and to not give up on eating on her own, which she had pretty much done. I will continue to hand feed the mash, but I am hoping these will help turn things around. At least they have some nutritious value to them.

One of my other neighbors was evidently present during the pancake cookoff and asked why anybody would go through so much effort for such a small animal. W said she turned and looked at her and said, "If Lacey (the lady's dog) were to shrink down to the size of a piggy, would you love her any less and refuse to try to help her if she was sick? I would do the same thing for Lacey as I am for Reba."

Image

Now I gotta go individually bag all those suckers so I can freeze them!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:34 am


Cute! I understand your concern. The primary potential problem with the Bisquik ingredients is the added carbs that could throw off her intestinal bacteria, possibly allowing an overgrowth of bad bacteria.

If this does not happen, she should be okay. I sure hope she can eat regular guinea pig food at some point and pass on the carbs and refined flour.

p.s. I make pancakes with 100% whole wheat flour. This would be an improvement if you continue with the pancakes.

User avatar
lisam

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:03 am


or be "politically correct" about what is good and bad.

I want to stress that it's not about being politically correct but about doing what's the best for your pig's health.

Definitely be on the lookout for any intestinal distress.

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:49 pm


I realize I need to do what is best for Reba's health, but at this point what I feel is best is to find some way - ANY way - to encourage her to try eating on her own. She has to be able to eat in order to live.

She is already getting acidopholus and poop soup just to help keep things in line since she is not on a normal diet, and I will definitely watch for any issues. I am not just giving her free range of these, and I didn't know my friend was going to make enough to feed a horse.

Last nite I fed her five 12cc syringes of her mash, plus several smaller syringes of water. With what she spits out, and based on weight changes (I weigh her before and after each meal), I figure she actually consumed about 40cc of the 60cc that I gave her. After she ate that I let her have a piece of pancake that was about the size of a quarter. She worked on it for about 15 minutes and got less than half of it down. Half of a quarter isn't much. My healthy pigs could have consumed that in less than 30 seconds. But the fact that she TRIED, and continued to try for so long, makes me hopeful. If nothing else, it is keeping those jaws and teeth moving.

What I have to look at here is the fact that she has been so unsuccessful at eating on her own, and she has gotten so frustrated at trying, that she had given up on even trying anymore. After she stole a couple bites of my hamburger bun, she actually tried to eat some lettuce and cilantro. That was the first time she had even attampted to eat veggies in several days. So, if that little piece of pancake, even with the unhealthy aspects of it, will encourage Reba to try to eat her healthy foods, then I feel it is worth a shot. I am making sure her tummy is full of healthy food first, so that it counterbalances it.

If it seems to help her want to eat then I will go buy wheat flour and remake them. I don't think these are really that bad tho. She said she basically used a 2:1 ratio of the pellets and pumpkin, and then added in bits of the batter until she had the bare minimum to hold it all together. Then she cooked them on a nonstick griddle with no grease. She estimates the end results to be about 1/2 pellets, 1/4 pumpkin, and 1/4 Bisquick.

User avatar
Mum
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:17 pm


You might consider tempting her with wheatgrass. Most animals go nuts for it!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:40 pm


I know how worried you are. You're doing your best to get her to eat. I do second the wheat grass. Fresh grass from outside is good too. If you know how to identify Johnsongrass, my guinea pigs always liked it.

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:02 pm


I have already tried wheatgrass, yard grass, and all of her favorite foods. She can't eat it. And she won't let me shove food into her mouth so that it is on her molars. She will eat out of a syringe, but even then she gets full before I feel she has had enough to maintain, so we fight over the last of it.

When she does try to eat veggies, she stands on them and then rips them with her front teeth. Then she manages to get bits and pieces off of it that she can actually eat. By the time she is done, you will have a pile of quarter-sized pieces of lettuce that have a couple tiny bites out of each of them. They are too small to stand on anymore so she won't touch them.

The problem was not the lack of desire to eat at first, it was the lack of ability to eat. The inability caused a lack of desire to even try. She would still eagerly eat from the syringe but would try nothing on her own. She has always been a carb addict and has always tried to steal bread and tortillas from us. I guess my hamburger bun was too much temptation and she actually went after it. I watched to see what would happen simply because it had been several days since I had seen her try to eat anything on her own. When she was successful at getting a bite you could see the excitement in her. She went nuts. She then later DID try to eat some veggies.

That is what started all of this. When I saw that the bread actually made a difference in her desire to attempt to eat, I started looking at other options I had to give her something resembling bread that has some nutritional value for her. She cannot "suck" food into her mouth the way a healthy pig can. She rips and tears and if she is lucky she ends up with a piece in the back of her mouth that she can chew. Most of it falls right back out.

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:39 pm


I realized a minute ago that I had been hearing a water bottle rattle for several minutes, and even Momma does not drink for THAT long. I looked over and it is Reba drinking from the hamster bottle I had put in the cage a while back. She doesn't seem to be able to use the bigger spouts right now.

This is the first time I have seen her at a water bottle in 2 weeks!

She is still at it.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:47 pm


Sometimes pigs that are hungry, in pain, or that have teeth problems drink more.

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:54 pm


Oh, I know, Lynx. With it being a hamster spout, it took a long time to get a decent sized drink.

What I was trying to say tho is that she actually drank on her own for the first time in 2 weeks! I know she is hungry because she just came to me asking for food. I am just excited to see her drink on her own!

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:14 am


Reba had a follow-up appointment with the vet yesterday. We did another full body x-ray. There was evidence of calcification in some of her bones, especially the "thigh" bones of her rear legs. The vet seemed shocked at the speed in which this showed up, since her last x-rays were 3/31 and that is when we upped the calcium. Some of the bones in her body are absorbing calcium too much and others not enough.

There seems to be a very slight improvement with her teeth since she has been chewing a little more on her own. She feels there is nothing she can do with the overgrown roots, which is the consensus I seem to get here. She said she could file them a little more but that even that would be difficult considering how small her jaws are and the limited ability to open them.

Pinta, aren't you the one who has the chin slings? Would this be an option that might help her some? If you think it would then please tell me how to buy one.

Abby, Reba's sister who is owned by Brianna, also saw the vet yesterday. Bri noticed a few weeks ago that Abby was starting to hop when she ran. The vet did a full body x-ray on her too. She has "hip dysplasia and severe arthritis" in her hips, knees, and feet of her back legs. Poor baby. She hides it VERY well. Other than the hopping at a full run, she looks and acts like the picture of piggy health. It was sad to see Reba next to her, knowing that they were the exact same size and looked so similar less than a year ago, and now there is about a 500 gram difference.

I don't know if Bri will start a thread for Abby or leave the sisters connected here for future reference, but since there is a connection between them, I thought it should be at least mentioned on this thread. The findings in Abby convinced the vet even more that we are looking at "bad genetics due to ignorant breeders" (vet's words). She is critterluv02's vet also and knows the history of these two pigs.

pinta

Post   » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:15 am


Email me for details on how to order a Chin-Sling. As long as her jawbones are still strong it should be okay for her. Ask your vet if the jaws are strong enough for a device that causes resistance when she chews. You can print out the info on the Chin-Sling in the Care Guide and show your vet.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Apr 17, 2006 9:15 am


"Some of the bones in her body are absorbing calcium too much and others not enough."

I forget, what was the condition your pig had where the jaw became very thick? Paget's disease?

User avatar
Becky

Post   » Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:08 pm


Yes, Paget's. Here's the link to Shiraz' history.

http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8754

Knock wood, Elvis' calcium absorption has been even, rather than random. He does, however, have awful arthritis that has gotten worse.

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:40 am


I am afraid I am losing Reba. I will be very shocked if she makes it thru the next day or two. I have been hand feeding her 99% of her intake since March now. The timing really stinks because I was finally actually getting a little weight put back ON her instead of the steady, slow losing of the last 4 months.

She doesn't want to eat or drink at all. She shows no signs of discomfort but refuses even her favorites, other than maybe an initial bite or two. Overall she is very lethargic and just wants to cuddle on my chest. I am getting absolutely nothing done other than sitting here holding her and trying to get her to eat and drink a bit at a time.

Please send out any and all prayers and good vibes that you may have for this little girl. Even thru all of her troubles, she has still showed such an interest and joy in life. She has repeatedly amazed her vet and my family that she has made it this long and done as well as she has and always maintained that diva attitude and spark in her eyes. I am torn between wanting her to rally and continue to do well for a while longer and wanting her to pass peacefully before she is suffering.

This really sucks.

Tracis
Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:12 am


I just read Reba's story. She is a beautiful girl, and I love the pancake picture!

My family is sending our best hopes for you and Reba. She sounds like a very special pig.

mammabear66
With a Touch of Insanity

Post   » Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:52 am


Thanks tracis.

She's gone. My husband got up and came down to hold her and love on her with me while she passed.

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