early kidney dysfunction diagnosis

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Post   » Mon Mar 31, 2003 11:24 pm

Hi-- I was referred to this site from CritterHobbyist:)

My 4-5yr old male, Scooter, has just been diagnosed with what appears to be early signs of kidney dysfunction. I have had guinea pigs my whole life (my last one lived to the ripe old age of 8-9) and have never had this problem come up. My vet said there's really nothing we can do except keep an eye on him that he's still eating on his own, and appears happy---plenty of water, of course. I know with people and even for my parrot there are certain dietary steps that one can take to at least slow any kind of problem, but GP pellets are pretty one size fits all. Any suggestions? thanks! I did read your care sheets and will stock up on parsley and other Vit. C rich foods---I was disheartened to read that too many carrots is bad-he has been getting 2 baby ones a day for awhile, as did my last one who lived so long. I am handfeeding him OxBow Crit. Care, which he loves, fortunately:)

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Mon Mar 31, 2003 11:43 pm

Hydration is a must for kidney issues. A daily sub-cue treatment of fluids can help. My pig with kidney failure started on twice a week treatment and we eventually ended up doing it daily. Cocoa lived another year after diagnosis of kidney failure.

Your vet can teach you how to do them. It is really helpful to know how with senior pigs.

You really want to moniter his weight. Get a baseline and weigh him daily if possible. A scale is a must.

For a senior pig, timothy pellets and hay are highly recommended . They are much lower in calcium than alfalfa. Calcium can lead to bladder stones. Oxbow sells timothy based pellets ( www.oxbow.com ) and the best timothy and bluegrass ( also low calcium) can be ordered from kleenmama@aol.com. Many of us here swear by her hay.

Unlimited good guality hay for fiber is a must. It helps keep their molars worn down and is good for their gut. I absolutely swear by it as does my vet.

You have been obviously doing a good job if your last pig lived so long. 2 baby carrots is not a huge deal.

My oldest is eight right now and I cherish every day with him. I know I'm living on borrowed time with him but he's still doing great ( touch wood).
Last edited by Julian on Mon Mar 31, 2003 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Mon Mar 31, 2003 11:51 pm

Be careful of giving too much parsley. My vet told me to cut down because of the high content of Oxalates.

Good luck with your Scooter.


Post   » Tue Apr 01, 2003 12:26 am

thanks for all that---my house is full of critters and I am one obsessive mom, so I have a very busy scale in the kitchen! I will definately get the Oxbow pellets, too. Do you think that cranberry juice would be good for him? I'm glad to hear that I might have him for a year, if not more. My vet said the tests did not show that we were at a critical stage yet. Maybe with these changes, we can keep him going for a while:)

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Post   » Tue Apr 01, 2003 7:33 am

Yes, two baby carrots are okay. Some people stick in a giant carrot a day for their bitty pigs. Variety is better with an emphasis on greens.

Check the info on how to administer meds -- there's a link to some good sub cue advice.


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Post   » Tue Apr 01, 2003 8:30 am

Definitely get Oxbow's Cavy Cuisine pellets.

Just out of curiosity, what did your vet use to diagnose the kidney disease? Was it bloodwork?

SQ (subcue) fluids would be awesome, though at least for a while you might be able to get away with syringing extra water/fluids. Make sure your pig is drinking a *minimum* of 60mls daily, or at least 2 ounces. More would be even better.

With kidney disease, UTIs are more common. Keep an eye out for symptoms.

Go easy on the foods with extra calcium. It can potentially calcify in the kidneys, especially diseased kidneys. Extra water can be provided via water-drenched veggies.

Having some Critical Care from Oxbow might be a good idea. Weight loss is inevitable with kidney issues (you might start weighing him more often than once weekly...even daily wouldn't hurt), and you'll be able to help him maintain his weight by supplementing with the Critical Care when needed.

As for the cranberry juice, it wouldn't hurt. Be careful, though, most of the actual juices have a lot of sugar in them. You might consider getting some of the cranberry concentrate from GNC (there's a thread related to it in the Reference forum). It could potentially help prevent UTIs.

Good luck!


Post   » Tue Apr 01, 2003 4:35 pm

What Mel means, I think, is that you need to make sure you buy 100% pure cranberry juice. Cocktails have a boatload of sugar added into them.

I'm curious as to how kidney failure was diagnosed. Can you give us more info for future reference?

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Post   » Wed Apr 02, 2003 1:43 pm

I was recently diagnosed with kidney disease... actually last week. I would assume the diagnosis process would be somewhat similar. I had to give several urine samples, a 24 collection one, as well as have blood draws. They did a scan as well, but I honestly think that was worthless.

I was told that the kidney disease is a result of the diabetes and a blood disorder that I have. What causes kidney disease in piggies?


Post   » Wed Apr 02, 2003 4:11 pm

The only problem is that there doesn't seem to be much data on pigs and kidney. With humans, they have some, so they can tell what's in the normal range and what's not. With pigs, they have virtually nothing to compare with, no norm. That's why I was asking for more info.


Post   » Fri Apr 04, 2003 9:22 pm

Sorry I'm finally checking back in---my vet did a CBC and also urine analysis---apparently the creatine levels in the urine showed that the kidneys weren't functioning as well (also his weight loss and increase in water intake) but that we weren't to a critical stage yet (she said she had just seen a gp that was much further along and the owners waited too long to get him checked out. He is also having gas problems with a rumbling tummy---the xrays showed excess gas but no other issues. He is getting as much Critical Care as he wants, a ton of water, timothy hay and gp. pellets---also, he is getting 1/2 g of Probiocin/day. My vet said the main thing, in addition to the dietary and water issues, to keep an eye on his weight and comfort level. Hopefully, I will have him around for a bit longer:)


Post   » Fri Apr 04, 2003 9:26 pm

I might be totally wrong, but I was under the impression a high creatine level only told you the pig wasn't eating well? I might be thinking of something else. Maybe someone else can comment.

Have teeth been ruled out?

Reglan is excellent for gas and bloat.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Fri Apr 04, 2003 9:41 pm

I didn't know there was a test for urine creatinine... (Creatine is a heart enzyme, creatinine is for kidneys).

A high creatinine combined with a high BUN--usually both obtained through blood chemistries--does generally signal kidney problems. E, you might be thinking of ALT with liver function. It's always elevated in animals that aren't eating well and it not always indicative of liver disease.


Post   » Fri Apr 04, 2003 9:49 pm

See? I knew I was going to mess up. I'm going to bed.

Thanks for clarifying.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Fri Apr 04, 2003 9:59 pm

Creatine... maybe more generalized muscle, too. Of course the heart is a pretty powerful muscle...

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Post   » Fri Apr 04, 2003 10:19 pm

I would rather see bloodwork (not just a CBC, but other chemistries) to diagnose kidney dysfunction. For all we know, increased water consumption could mean a UTI or diabetes. It doesn't necessarily mean kidney dysfunction. It could mean dry air, dry food....and like E. said...diseases like that are hard to truly diagnose in guinea pigs because of lack of info. Believe me...it hasn't been easy to decide if CP has early kidney disease or not. Haven't quite decided if he does or not.

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