Petunia's Medical Thread

Macylu

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:50 pm


Petunia is 3 years, 8 months old, a female American pig. I took her to the vet because she is exhibting signs of ovarian cysts. I have noticed thinning hair on her sides, a bit more aggression towards her cage mates, crusty nipples, and though she has maintained her weght, her tummy seems a bit rounder, hips a bit bonier. I took her to see Dr. Carla Christman in Madison WI who felt that it was almost certainly cysts and felt we should do a spay. I have her scheduled in a little over a week, but I feel nervous as I know this is a big deal. She mentioned hormone therapy, but as Tunie is relatively young and in good health, she felt a permanent fix would be better. Also, could she be in pain because of this? She is acting normal as far as I can tell otherwise - eating, drinking, pooping normally. She gets KMS timothy pellets, 2nd and 3rd cut timothy hay, veggies twice a day. Thanks for any advice, I want her to be happy and healthy and hopefully with us for a long time!

Crazy4me

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:03 pm


Macylu may I ask approximatly how much was the vet bill for the exam. The reason why I ask is I am trying to compare prices to see if one vet is a little cheaper then the other.

I have heard nothing but good things about Dr. Christman, I am sure your Peunia will be in good hands.

Macylu

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:58 pm


The visit was $49.75. The quote for the spay was $175. I think that seems reasonable, though I have not ever dealt with this before thankfully.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:22 pm


A permanent fix would indeed be better. It is unlikely she is in pain (see signs of pain here: gl/pain.html ).

Do read gl/postop.html and gl/surgery.html

Those prices are VERY reasonable. VERY.

Crazy4me

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:37 pm


Wow that is really reasonable, I think for my next wellness check I shall go to Dr. Christman. Being that she is young and healthy otherwise, surgery would be the route to go if it were me; I am sure it will be nerve-racking but with a good vet like you have the chances are even greater that things will go well.

Macylu

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:10 pm


Thank you for your input, I appreciate the positive comments! Now I just need to get the supplies together to make sure I can properly care for her when she gets home. I'll look over those threads and make a list. I feel better about things when I am well organized and prepared. There may be more questions as the date gets closer.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:48 pm


Do make sure you have some pain medication for her. It will make a great deal of difference. gl/pain.html

Macylu

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:52 pm


Yes, how many days worth of pain meds should I expect to get?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:01 pm


I'd say 4 or 5 days at a minimum. Maybe enough for a week though you might not need it all. See gl/analgesics.html If you use an opiate, it would be for less time not so much that it knocks your guinea pig out. Just controls the pain. Talishan has good advice on the use of pain control (hopefully she will read this).

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Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:25 am


Currently, she's probably not in any pain. A little edgy and nervous, maybe (does that ever happen to you right before your period?), but that's about all.

A spay is very invasive surgery. You have an excellent and experienced vet; that, and an otherwise healthy pig, are your best chances for a good outcome.

Be thoroughly prepared for some very intensive aftercare. Arrange to take a couple of days off work right after surgery if you can manage it.

Petunia will likely come home from the vet chipper, bright, and eating. This is good. This will not stay that way. She may very well go straight downhill after that, and scare you halfway to death.

Somewhere between about 24 and 60 hours postop they hit bottom, then begin to do better.

Be prepared to:

1. Forcefeed. Read the handfeeding links carefully, get some Critical Care in now, and make about 3 or 4 1cc syringes with the tips cut off **now**.

2. Have every med on hand you can think of. a. Reglan (metoclopramide) is a must!! It's a mild motility agent and you will probably want to give it to her **even if she is defecating**, because what she's defecating is what was in her preop. Then the pipeline will be empty! b. 4 or 5 day's worth of a narcotic: buprenorphine, perhaps Tramadol, perhaps butorphanol, depends on what the vet prefers. c. An NSAID, probably Metacam, possibly Rimadyl (depends on what the vet prefers).

You want to use the NSAID from the get-go to reduce swelling and inflammation as much as possible as soon as possible. You want to use the narcotic as little as possible, BUT AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO KEEP HER COMFORTABLE!!

Consider asking the vet for a children's steroid (Pediapred, prednisolone) to have on hand. You CANNOT use this along with an NSAID, but you can use it INSTEAD of one at the beginning. Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatories and painkillers. She may need it at the start.

Then, as she improves, stop the steroid (if you needed it); ramp down the narcotic and ramp up the NSAID. Then, as she further improves, ramp down the NSAID.

You will likely be given a pre-emptive antibiotic. Try to get Bactrim. If they insist on Baytril, be sure you have probiotics as well to give her.

She probably won't want to drink. Get some unflavored Pedialyte and ask the vet for a 6 or 10cc oral syringe. Be prepared to offer this to her (don't force it like the food). Most pigs like it and will readily hydrate with it.

That's all I can think of offhand. Let us know how she's doing and any specific problems you encounter.

http://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html

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Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:35 am


Then again, with any luck Petunia will heal as smoothly as this piggie.

Your actual experience will probably be somewhere in-between. Meg was highly unusual.

Macylu

Post   » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:20 am


That is my biggest fear, that she will come through the surgery great and then I'll do something wrong post op and will lose her that way. I only work part time, 2 hours over lunch during the week, so I am home a lot, but I also have 3 kids. However, I have a VERY supportive husband with a flexible schedule so hopefully he can help pick up my slack that week while I hang out more with the pigs.

Thanks Talishan for all that great info, I plan to call the vet next week and ask some questions so I'll know a little more what to expect before we arrive.

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:44 pm


Talishan, that is the best How To Prepare For A Piggy Spay summary I've ever seen. Wish I'd had that to look at a year ago.

Macylu, I think it is healthy to fear the post-op recovery - I lost 2 sows by making mistakes during that critical period - but that was before I knew there was help and advice available on these forums. Come here, post updates and questions on Petunia's thread, and somebody will magically appear to guide you through whatever happens, guaranteed.

Crazy4me

Post   » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:50 pm


Ditto on what LS in AK said; please update us and if you have questions don't be afraid to ask, we are here to support you and answer any questions that you have.

I have always thought that it is better to be prepared in advance then to not be prepared which adds to the stress that you already have caring for a post-op pig. You are doing the right thing by asking questions.


Crazy4me

Post   » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:37 pm


Petunia is adorable!

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dellybean

Post   » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:16 am


Talishan, what an amazing post. Everyone who goes through a spay should have that information. I've only ever had boars, so I haven't ready any of the spay links, but I think it would be great to have that information preserved in a permalink.

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Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:50 am


The cyst on the left is particularly large. Don't be freaked if the vet has to drain it before removing the ovary.

My med-and-care post is the result of lots of experience with too many surgeries. Every single surgery is different and every single surgery will teach you something new. Sometimes the hard way. If anything any of our pigs has gone through helps another pig, so much the better. The "mixed-ramping" of the pain meds has helped us the most. The couple of vets I've mentioned it to have thoroughly agreed with my approach. It is tricky because you have to remember what you've given, when, how much, what's going up and what's going down. Write it down on a clipboard in the pig room if that helps, especially if you have help from another person; that way, they won't overmedicate or undermedicate.

Flexible, supportive husbands are a priceless gift from the Lord. To the pigs and to their primary caretakers. :-)

The pain/prep stuff goes for virtually any surgery, except perhaps for dental; they don't (well, shouldn't) go too far under for that. If a male has a tumor or abscess removed, my advice goes for them too.

Macylu, do read the postop thread carefully too. Be sure to keep her in a restricted-movement area ... a 1x2 C&C, a crappy petstore cage (this is the one thing they're good for ;-). Bed her on light-colored fleece or towels (towels preferable IME) and change at least the top one at least twice daily if you can manage it.

There's a bunch more good advice from several long-term GL'ers on Meg's thread.

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Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:04 am


Also, ditto everyone who has mentioned coming on here, any time, day or night, for help if you need it.

Do so QUICKLY. It is far better to panic over nothing than to let a postop pig decline too far. It's fast and you can't turn it around.

You are in a good location, actually. If something happens at, say, 11 p.m. your time, our California folks are still up. If it's 3 a.m., me and a handful of the other night owls and a few of our Australians will probably see your post. If it's 6 or 7 a.m., the Brits will be with you and then the continental Europeans will pick up. You're pretty well covered.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:23 am


Macylu, let me know if you'd like your photos added permanently to your post (I can display them with image tags then).

Talishan, let me know if it's okay if I add your advice to the postop page. I think it is valuable too!!

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