Soft poop: what the vet said

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Post   » Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:09 pm

I know I shouldn't beat myself up, and in time, I won't. It's just very new right now and it hurts very much. Around the holidays and all. Most of me knows I really did do everything. After all, there literally weren't any tests left to run. But there's still that little part that thinks, well what if I did X sooner, or I did Y instead of X, that sort of thing. When the report comes back, I'll post back.

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.

Who's your Branni?

Post   » Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:13 pm

It does not ever get any easier, my friend. Love to yall from us. Its never easy, even when its the best option.

This is what is true. No love is ever wasted. Not ever.

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3 Little Pigs

Post   » Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:26 pm

I'm so sorry. You did absolutely everything you could for her. Please don't beat yourself up. Only a few rare, wonderful people like you would have done so much to save their pet's life. If PC had had a different owner, she probably wouldn't have made it as far as she did. Even though she had such a short time on earth, you gave her the best life that any pig could dream of. You loved her and did everything you could for her. It was just her time, even if it didn't seem like it was long enough. You are the best slave PC could have ever had, and this was not your fault.


Post   » Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:43 pm

Saving other little lives and giving them a wonderful home is the best way to honor PC.

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Post   » Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:56 pm

Necropsy came in today. She's sending it in the mail and I can probably do a better job of talking about it once it's in my hands because she used a lot of big words and I took terrible notes. I'll try to sum up though.

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.

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Post   » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:13 pm

Sending hugs.

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Post   » Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:27 pm

Yes. You're getting some information. I know you must still miss her terribly.


Post   » Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:36 am

Actually like you said, it could have been all from the coccidia.

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.

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Post   » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:28 am

Well since the intussuseption was apparently so painful that it caused her passing, I don't think surgery was even an option. It happened so fast and then that was it. I did do fecals on PC and coccidia didn't show up until a month later when the new doc ran a new fecal. It's possible it was already too late at that point, but I still find it odd that she wasn't able to ever get rid of the Coccidia.

But, yeah, I don't know. It's still a shame.

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Supporter in '11

Post   » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:53 am

I'm sorry too, somechick. You went through the wringer with that pig. My thoughts are with you.

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Post   » Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:23 pm

Thanks guys. Henry and Sanford tested negative for Coccidia last week and when I get my new little guys I'll bring in more poo for a retest. I'm getting Piggie cremated and she should arrive soon I hope. I don't plan to display it because that's morbid, but I have a little box that I put some of her things in.

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Post   » Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:55 pm

I really don't know all that much about this, but intussuseption in humans almost always happens in infants and sometimes is due to a defect in the intestines. Don't know how or if that translates to guinea pigs, but I believe that's the case with dogs/cats.

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.


Post   » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:27 am

"intussuseption in humans almost always happens in infants and sometimes is due to a defect in the intestines."

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.


Post   » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:41 am

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.
Awwww! Seriously, that is so sweet.

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.

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Post   » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:52 am

Well we did send the tissue out to a pathology lab in CA. My vet did her own necropsy but then sent the tissues out for a more thorough evaluation. I don't know that it was a university though. Anyway, once I get the report in the mail, I'll read through it and see if there's anything else I notice.

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.

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Post   » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:11 pm

Don't feel too badly. I have had pigs that, upon necropsy, were in seriously bad condition and I'd never have known it. I think they have a different threshhold for pain than other creatures.

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.

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Post   » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:04 am

Got the report in and I'd gladly type it up here if anyone really wants, but it's a lot of big words and medical-type. I read it and it meant nothing to me really. The only words I understood were "intestines" "hemorrhage" and "pancreas".

I will call the vet today to maybe shoot down tomorrow and pick her up.

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Post   » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:18 am

Is it long? Up to you if you feel it would be helpful.

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Post   » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:40 am

Clinical information
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.

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Post   » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:52 am

I wish I had more time to help you translate all this but for now, all the comments on plasma cells and various kinds of while bood cells indicate extensive infection of the intestine. I don't know what a loss of intestional mucosa (lining) means but it can't be good. Autolysis makes me think her intestines were just so infected and irriated they were almost dissolving. Peritonitis I think means the infection had moved out of her intestines and into the abdominal cavity as well. Islet of Langerhans are specialized pancreas cells that make insulin. Tonight, when I have more time, I'm going to dig through my medical dicitionary and get you some better information. My general impression is that her intestional infection was so bad that she had decompensated to the point where not much would have helped. I too wonder about congenital malformation of the GI tract but like I said, I'm going to have to look it up later.

((big hugs))

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