It wasn't until the day I found the two stones in the cage that I realized I had indeed noticed that the day before, he was drinking more water than usual, and was not as interested in pellets, but I didn't associate it with a problem.
But that's all the warning I got. One day.
The day after he passed the stones it was time for his weigh-in, and he did lose two ounces, but when a pig weighs 3 lbs 2 1/2 oz normally, this is hard to see. (I can usually spot a two-ounce weight loss on our smaller pigs.)
This morning he piddled a slightly bloody urine (such a small spot, I wouldn't have noticed if his fleece were any color but white). I took him to the vet, and she x-rayed him. He has one stone left, the same size as the two he already passed.
He's drinking like water is going out of style, and his eating is fine. He's active and doesn't seem to be in pain. He's still on TMS, which we started after he passed the first two stones.
I'm thinking if he doesn't pass this one within a week, I'll contact K-state and see what they think. I just HATE the idea of putting another pig through stone surgery. HATE it.
What's baffling me is that Widget drinks between 1/2 and 2/3 of a big bottle of water a day. I have to have two bottles in his cage because he will occasionally finish one off in a day. I have to change his towels every other day to keep him dry because he's such a serious urinator. How on earth did anything sit in there long enough to turn into a stone, much less three of them? Could they have been kidney stones that just ended up in the bladder?
I'll be glad when that report from UC Davis comes out. Not that I think it'll yield some miracle cure that will end stones forever, but *maybe* it can shed a little more light on what's causing these damn things.
Sending good, hopeful thoughts your way.
- I GAVE, dammit!
Did you happen to read Pinta's post on Actigall
I wish I knew more. I wish I knew how to stop them and we could tell the world.
There must be some magic hormonal transformation that makes guinea pigs susceptible to producing them right around that time.
No passed stone in the cage yet - but Widget is drinking and happy and perky, so that's good at least.
I am going to call K-State on Tuesday and see about having our water analyzed, though.
I am also wondering about geographically mapping locations of pigs that develop stones. Maybe all of the ones here in Kansas originated from a 4-H litter years ago, whereas the guinea pigs in Wyoming are a heartier bunch.
5 1/2 year intact female. X-rays and ultrasounds taken at UC Davis as well as her vets a few months ago show no signs of either sludge or stones. She stopped drinking water after her 4th birthday and gets her hydration from lettuce etc. When she did still drink she got Brita filtered water.
I wonder why some don't seem to develop this problem.
If this data is available there are lots of things I can look at as to why the calcium might be precipitating (saturation indices, mineral precipitation, etc). No guarantee I'll find anything, but this is the kind of stuff I do at work all the time (ie, why is iron precipitating here and not there sort of stuff).
It's why I'm considering taking a couple of our non-pet store pigs in for x-rays, just to see if they are forming stones, too. If not, it make a stronger case for genetics vs. environment where my guys are concerned.
Hydrohoki -- I have our latest water quality report, as well as the one from last year. Would you want me to email one or both to you on Monday to see if you spot anything unusual? We use a Brita filter on our tap.