Today we had a Pigsgiving with Henry and Sanford. 'Ferd managed to behave for about 10 whole minutes until she decided to terrorize. I've giving lots of extra love to the both of them.
While I don't ever plan on "replacing" PC, I hope to maybe adopt a few new friends right before Christmas. That way Henry (and maybe 'Ferd if we can find anyone she gets along with) will have a nice present, and I can give some other homeless pigges a presest - a new forever home.
It's just still very hard because it's still very new.
Intussusception was the official cause of death. Probably went into shock from the pain. This can be caused by bacteria, so we're thinking the Coccidia actually led to this. The tissues showed swelling and hemorraging of the intestines - the connective tissues that holds intestines in place. There was inflammation of the omentum and an infection of the abdomen. Inside there was also bacteria found which might have been clostridium, but she couldn't tell for sure. So all of this bacteria, infections, etc. most likely lead to the telescoping of her intestines.
But why couldn't PC get rid of the Coccicia? The weird thing they found was that her pancreas has lesions which resembled a pancreas with the onset of diabetes. PC's glucose levels were always normal (81) and she never displayed signs of diabetes. So that's odd. Either she had diabetes towards the end and we didn't see it because there would be no reason to suspect this OR there's something else going on in the pancreas that lesions would cause that just happens to resemble diabetes. Either way, they said her pancreas looked weird.
They think this *might* have had something to do with her lowered immune system leading to her not being able to fight the infections, and ultimately her passing.
There was no real good answer though. The doc was even hoping for a "well we see THIS which caused THIS and lead to THAT" but there isn't any of that. We know the intussusception did her in, but we still don't *really* know why.
I can't remember if I posted about this here before or not, but I once saw a case of a dog that was having diarrhea for a long time and had a bloated tummy and the owner spent a fortune trying to figure out what was wrong, but when they came to the clinic I was working at for a second opinion and the doctor looked through all the extensive records, he found that a simple basic fecal parasite exam was never done, so he did one and it was positive for ALOT of Coccidia. This dog was in really bad shape, and we started the Albon, but it was really too late. The dog died shortly thereafter. If a basic fecal test had been done in the beginning on this dog, she might not have had to die.
I haven't done fecals on all my pigs, and I know most people don't do them, although I have heard on here that certain areas are known for having Coccidia, it really isn't something that everyone just checks for in guinea pigs, so I don't think you are to blame, like I said, I haven't tested all of mine either.
I think this does tell you that there wasn't anything else to do. The intussusception might have been fixed with surgery, but you didn't feel that she was strong enough for surgery, and it isn't an easy one in dogs, I can't imagine how tiny and tricky it must be to do in little guinea pigs. But she also had the other issues of bacteria and the pancreas thing.
This is such a tragic story, but I don't see how you could have done anything better knowing what you knew when you knew it.
But, yeah, I don't know. It's still a shame.
Again, don't know that much, but I'd suspect that the overgrowth of coccidia really had more to do with a compromised immune system. In other words, it was as much a symptom of something else going on as it was a cause.
I always cremate my animals. I now have four pig boxes in the pig room. I find it comforting. I also always open the box and put in a bit of hay and a few poos as a little offering to their little guinea spirits.
Right, sounds like she had congenital abnormalities to me. I *really* believe that PC was suffering from megacolon. Some of these findings are consistent with the syndrome, and I believe maybe a necropsy in a University setting would have found more indicators of the disease. (Most folks don't have easy access to this kind of necropsy--don't beat yourself up again!)
Also, some funky things can happen to a critter's liver, pancreas, and such at peri-mortem, so I'm not sure you can really conclude anything about her pancreas. I will say megacolon rabbits under stress, like a vet visit, tend to shoot really high glucoses, then return to normal without intervention once calm and recovered a day or two at home.
At least you do see now you did all you could, and you wouldn't have wanted PC to continue on this Earth if she had to be here in pain. Be at peace, healing thoughts to you.
Awwww! Seriously, that is so sweet.I always cremate my animals. I now have four pig boxes in the pig room. I find it comforting. I also always open the box and put in a bit of hay and a few poos as a little offering to their little guinea spirits.
I have at least 30 little boxes that I have collected through the years (dogs and cats and 1 ferret). I have to figure out where to scatter them before I die.
And of course I wouldn't want her to exist in a state of pain. I just wonder that if it was the coccidia, if I had caught it sooner, maybe it wouldn't have gotten so out of control. It still seems odd to me that she wasn't able to get rid of it no matter what we did. There seem to be pigs in worse condition on the medical board that bounce back.
I've read a bunch on intussuseption in humans and dogs since finding out about this. I did read that in humans it's an infant-thing and in dogs you could still have a small window of time to fix it with surgery. It seems in pigs, since it's so painful and so sudden, there isn't time to fix it since the pain would be too much for the pig to handle and then it would go into shock.
I also guess pain-related shock in pigs is deadly, while in humans you can recover. I feel bad she was in such pain at the end. Terribly sad. I just can't wait to get her back from the lab so I can tuck her little box away.
The coccidia is always there. Some other condition/situation just presented it with an opportunity to thrive.
You really did do an excellent job. And she's doing a real service to the guinea pig world in that lab. Make sure you tell her that when you get her back.
I will call the vet today to maybe shoot down tomorrow and pick her up.
There is a two-month history of chronic Coccidia with intermittent severe cecal distention. An intussuseption of the small intestine was noted on gross examination. There are areas of tissue hemmorhage.
Submitted are 10 sections of gastrointestinal tract.
Pancreas: There is mild cytoplasmic vacuolization noted in the isles of Langerhans. This is multiple variable discrete cytoplasmic vacuoles within the islet cells.
Lymph node: Examined are sections of lymph node. No lesion is recognized
Intestines: Examined are multiple sections of intestines at various levels. There are intestinal sections in which the omentum is supporting extensive lesions, degeneration, edema, and inflammation with areas of hemmorhage. The inflammation is a mixture of lymphocytes, plasma cells, and large numbers of neutrophils. There is also a mixture of lymphocytes and plasma cells, and there are neutrophils in the lamina propria of the intestinal sections. Many of the intestinal sections have variable loss of the mucosa, primarily die to autolysis. In areas where the mucosa is intact, there are moderate numbers of large rod-shaped bacteria, some with a hairpin shape, that are accumulating along the surface.
Stomach: Examined is a section of glandular stomach. No lesion is recognized.
1) Intestines: focally extensive severe transmural subacute enteritis with focal peritonitis
2) Pancreas: Islet cell vacuolization
This guinea pig does have a significant enteritis that is a focally extensive area of the intestines. This inflammation is extending out into the attached omentum. There are, in these sections of intestines, large rod-shaped bacteria associated with the less autolyzed mucosa. These organisms are suggestive of a possible Clostridium. The pancreas has an interesting change in the isles of Langerhans. There is vacuolation of the islet cells, which can be a histologic lesion associated with diabetes mellitus.