Stella's Medical Thread

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Post   » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:39 pm

Okay, I have a thread on Stella, but it was started before I really knew the rules, and the subject is no longer relevant. Here is the link if anyone is interested, but I will summarize:

-Stella is an approx. 7mo old American female, bought at a pet store before I knew any better. I don't know her exact age, this is an estimate based on her being about 1month old when I got her.

-She is housed with Shasta, my other female who is about 1 month younger, and they had some minor issues, but they are doing good now.

-She had a shedding problem just shortly after I got her, she was treated for mites by me with pour-on Ivermectin for at least 4 weeks, and 7 days between doses, but she continued to shed.

The girls are fed unlimited timothy hay (and we just got a shipment of bluegrass today to try!) from KM's hayloft, about 1/4 cup of Oxbow pellets every other day or so (I basically just fill it when it's empty, which is about every 2 or 3 days), and fresh veggies every morning and evening (red and green leaf lettuce always, cucumber, kale, belgian endive, carrots, cilantro switched out during the week).

Now, on to the problem. The last few posts in the last thread were about this ear problem that she's been having. It started out as a small spot on one ear, and has now spread.

This is how it started
I know they're not good pictures, this was before I got my new camera, but you can see that there's just a spot on her ear that looks almost like a sore of some kind. Also, it was just on this one ear. I thought it was fungus at first. These pictures were taken on a Friday evening. By Monday it had spread all over her one ear, and started on the other (I don't have pictures of this).

I took her to the vet that Wednesday (earliest I could get in) and the vet wasn't sure, but she wanted to treat for mites just in case, so Stella got a shot of Ivermectin. By the following Monday she was getting worse, so I called the vet and we scheduled a biopsy to try and see what the problem was. The biopsy was done that Thursday (which was last thursday 6/7/07).

There is more, but I think I should split up the posts... Continued in a minute.

(I'm sorry for starting another thread, I hope it won't be a problem. If it is I can continue on the other one, I just thought this way the subject would be more universal for any future problems we may have)

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Post   » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:57 pm


Allright, these pictures were taken the weekend after the biopsy (so about a week ago)

The purple spot in the pics is the stitches from the biopsy, and I have more pics if you want to see, but I think these give a good overview of how it looks now. You can see on her right ear where they shaved to do the biopsy, it has spread to some of the top of her head, and you can't see it in the pics but by her left ear it has spread to the skin around her eye.

We got the biopsy results back and this is exactly what the vet told me:

The skin condition does not appear to be caused by mites or fungi. No bacteria are seen, but
staph. dermatitis can cause the crusting (the pathologist names the types of cells seen), pain
and ulceration w/o much additional pathology. A transient vasculitis is also a possibility, and
could result in death of the upper layer of skin, and pain.

Consider lack of vitamin C, strongly consider contact irritant/contact allergy or sunburn.

Now for options:

Supplement with vitamin C at 50 mg/day
Begin lime sulfur dip (we have some here: dose is every 7 days at 1:40 dilution). Lime sulfur is
traditionally used to treat fungal dermatitis, but is used also in 3rd world countries for severe
acne in humans (incorporated into a face mask). Additionally, juvenile mice have been found to
be affected with a necrotizing dermatitis of the ear pinnae; historically lime sulfur has been used
to treat dermatophyte, sarcoptic and chorioptic infection in dogs, cats, poultry and exotic pets.
Antiobiotic trial
Continued cleaning of environment
Continued metacam, butorphenol for pain/discomfort
Consider addition of antihistamines

Additional diagnositics would be culture of the skin. Given that no bacteria were seen on biopsy,
the effecitiveness of this is open.

Please call if you want to start lime sulfur and/or antiobiotics.
Please let me know how Stella is doing, and if this has spread to Shasta. I would definately
supplement with Vitamin C, and if on pine shavings, go to aspen or paper/untreated.

As you can probably see, they seem to have no clue what it is! I bed on fleece, and the hayloft is carefresh so I don't see how it could be allergies, unless she's allergic to hay. The vet is closed for the weekend, but I'm going to call on Monday to talk about treatment, and I wanted to see if anyone here had seen anything like this, and see if you had any ideas on what I should do. I'm completely lost.

My poor girl is very uncomfortable and her ears are very sensitive, if I even brush them she freaks out. She is on 0.1cc Metacam every day, as well as 0.01cc of torb twice a day to try and help deal with the pain, and it does seem to help a bit, but she still seems miserable.

She is eating fine, and still gaining weight (currently around 873g up from 860 last week), so I'm not worried about that yet, but I want to get her better and going through a bunch of treatments that may not work just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Can anyone help me with this?

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Post   » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:06 pm

Wow, that poor pig! I would have guessed a fungal infection or yeast infection, possibly bacterial skin infection. In all my years here I have not seen this happen to a guinea pig.

I understand how worried you are.

Have you tried applying any fungal treatments in a small area to see if there is any positive response? Something like Monistat? My concern with the lime sulfer dip is that I didn't think you could or should dip the head of a guinea pig. It will get in the ears. Maybe your vet has some ideas on how to safely use the lime sulfur dip. I do think the general treatment suggestions look good and it appears he's trying to cover everything. See if they looked for yeast.

Let me know if I can copy your pics to the board. They may be helpful to someone else in the future.

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Post   » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:23 pm

Yeah, you can copy any of my pics that will be helpful!

That was my thought about the lime sulfer dip as well, I wondered how they would do it since it's on her ears.

I did get some Monistat when we first noticed this, and was able to use it for a couple days, but it didn't get any better, and it continued to spread. Now she won't let me touch her ears anyway, so I can't get any cream on them anymore.

I'm going to call my vet monday and see what she thinks the best bet will be.

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Post   » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:29 pm

Read the page on cheilitis. There are many causes -- maybe one might be the key?

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Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:12 am

Thanks Lynx, I will ask the vet when I talk to her, they said there didn't appear to be bacteria, but the other couple causes may be something to look into.

I just took a picture of her left eye, it has gotten much worse just since yesterday!

I think she cannot see at all out of her left eye. She jumps when I pet her on that side, and she doesn't like sitting with her left side facing me, she will spin circles whenever I put her that way, to get turned to her other side, if that makes any sense.

I just wish there was something I could do for her, she seems so miserable!

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Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:54 am

Your poor little pig! I can't help but wonder if this isn't bacterial somehow. They mention staff. Can you put some tripple antibiotic ointment carefully on the skin? If you had an opthalmic triple antibiotic ointment, it would be safer for the eyes (this is very close to the eyes). I would call your vet and describe this.

I wish I could say something to help. I wrote Josephine (one of our vet techs) to see if she has ever seen anything like this before.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:05 am

I think what the vet told you and the plan outlined is a good one. I have not seen anything this severe. I would expect there to be some immune component due to the severity. If the other pig gets it, that may change diagnoses a bit (make it more likely mites, bacterial, etc.). Could be a couple of things going on, also.

I definitely think allergies can be a rule out. While limiting exposure to dust from bedding is a good thing (often present with wood beddings), an allergy to the carbonized pulp in the carefresh or even the laundry detergent used to launder the fleece may exist. Additionally, pets can be allergic to pollens, plain dust, dust mites, etc. (inhaled allergens) that could also be a problem here. So, although I'm not 100% convinced that is dead-on, it IS a rule-out.

I think at this point doing the lime sulfur is a good idea with antibiotics and pain managment if Stella seems uncomfortable. The problem does look ouchy to me. Vitamin C will help the immune system cope with whatever this is. A lot depends on what happens when you start treatment. If the lime sulfur doesn't help, you need to move on to the next step. I suppose, a dermatology consult may also be an option in the future.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:13 pm

Poor Stella! I'm sorry that I don' t have any advice. I hope you can find out what's wrong.

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Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:15 pm

Thank you so much!

I have oxbow vitamin C tablets that I give them as a treat every now and then, so I'll start giving her one every day until we get through this. I am still giving her metacam and torb every day, which I think helps her a bit.

It has been almost 3 weeks now and Shasta still has no signs of anything (I check her ears compulsively every day, she's not very happy about it). I'm starting to wonder if this isn't something congenital, although I don't know what it could be, but she's always had a hard time with her left side. In her first thread I mentioned where she would bite if you brushed her left side at all, and she would attack me every time I had to clip her nails on her back left paw, and now this is much worse on the left side.

I did e-mail the vet this picture of her eye, since it is a new development since the last time she was seen, so maybe she'll have some ideas when I talk to her on Monday.

I wish I could try some triple antibiotic ointment, or something, on her ears, but how do I get it on there when she will not let me touch them? Whenver I start to get anywhere near her ears she shakes her head like crazy, so I think even if I could get something on there she would just fling it off anyway. For now I guess I'll just wait to talk to my vet Monday and see what she recommends. It sounds to me like we may be doing the lime sulfur, and maybe some antibiotics as well.

Thanks for all the input, it makes me nervous that we can't figure out what this is, but hopefully we can get her better soon!

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Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:05 pm

It might not hurt to continue with the ivermectin treatments (you certainly want to get it cured as soon as possible).

And weigh daily. If she is in pain, you need to weigh to be sure she's eating enough and eating good food to help her heal.

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Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:30 pm

Poor Stella! Sorry I don't have any words of wisdom, but I hope she feels better soon.

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Got Pigs?

Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:23 pm

Poor Stella. Gosh that looks awful. She must be miserable. I sure hope you can find some help for her soon. Ahhh poor girl. It is so nice you are not giving up.

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Post   » Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:57 pm

Well I got the lime sulfur dip, and some baytril to start her on tonight. Has anybody ever had to do a lime sulfur dip before? It reeks of sulfur, and I have to keep it on her, so I'm wondering if there are any tricks to doing this.

From what the nurse at the vet's office told me, I just have to give her a bath and then cover her in this stuff and leave her be.

Any help or ideas?

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Post   » Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:20 pm

Mum has used it. Does smell quite a bit from what I hear. I was always told to keep water out of their ears so I don't know what to say. Do the best you can. Your little pig needs all the help it can get! (I know how hard you are working to get this sorted out)

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Post   » Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:27 am

What I'm most worried about is her flinging her head around when I touch her ears and flinging the stuff everywhere, but I think I'll just do it in the bathtub so it'll be easy to clean up. I'm also worried about it getting in her eyes, or about her grooming herself and ingesting it (although I'm assuming they take this into consideration with small animals so maybe it isn't an issue).

The biggest problem I'm having now is trying to get her to take her meds. She doesn't like the torb or the baytril, so she fights me with everything she has, and it kills me to force her to take it while she's squealing at me! I was nearly in tears trying to get her to take everything tonight. I wish there was some way to get her to understand that I'm trying to make her better, because I'm sure she thinks I'm torturing her.

I didn't try the sulfur dip tonight because I had a softball game, but I'm going to stop by the pet store tomorrow and pick up some regular shampoo (says I need to bathe her before I do the dip) and then I'm going to make an attempt tomorrow after work. Maybe I'll e-mail Mum and see if she has any pointers.

Thanks to everyone for the support through this, I never knew it would be this hard!

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Post   » Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:06 am

Sorry, little to late to edit, and I just wanted to add that I did a search in the forum and I did find some info on the sulfur dip, I always forget to do a search BEFORE asking a question...

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:26 am

Yes, I've used lymdyp on a pig - that stuff stinks, but it's effective for certain conditions.

You're going to sponge it on. Stella may be a different pig in a kitchen sink - some pigs actually seem to enjoy being bathed. Avoid the eyes - I put puralube in both eyes just in case (this is like vaseline and protects the eyes).

If you take a full, small sponge you should be able to squeeze it over the ear without getting the stuff inside the ear or in the eyes (which will be protected in any event from the puralube).

I recommend doing it outside if the weather is warm enough, otherwise your house will stink for days!

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Post   » Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:07 am

Thanks Mum, that will help a bunch! It has been warm here lately, so maybe I'll be able to try that. I could even set up in the garage if I have to. I'll look for some puralube at the pet store today on my way home from work.

My only other question is that the bottle says I have to bathe her before I do the lymdyp, will it be necessary to bathe her every week before we do this, or will one bath every couple time work?

We have decided to set up the quarantine cage in the office to keep Stella in after we do this, which hopefully will help a bit with the smell, and will keep Shasta away from this whole mess.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:11 am

will it be necessary to bathe her every week before we do this, or will one bath every couple time work?
Sorry, don't know. I'd follow the instructions on the bottle though.

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