Long time no post! I'm looking for some advice on my boar, Randall. He's approx 4-5 yrs old, short haired, total goofball. We adopted him from a shelter three yrs ago. He hasn't had too many medical issues until recently. Normal diet consists of romaine 2x/daily, unlimited grass hay, & Oxbow Cavy Cuisine on occasion (too many bladder stone experiences w/ past piggies to give it to them daily anymore).
Three weeks ago he had some gastric upset/bloat after adding Spring mix lettuce to their diet. He was having issues pooping but still had an appetite. We nursed him thru the next 24 hrs w/ CC/pumpkin mash, water, belly massages and poop excavations until he started passing more normal looking stool on his own. I switched back to romaine, but decreased the amount so he'd eat more of his grass hay. His belly would go back & forth between seeming normal fat/squishy to bloated harder on and off over the next few days. His diet at this point is hay, leafy parts of romaine, and a bit of simethicone (which wasn't seeming to make much of a difference). His behavior in the cage was typical: running around when I approached, chewing on the bars, and whistling & carrying on. When I got him out, however, he got very snuggly and lethargic-like, which was atypical for him.
I took him to the vet. Randall was a gentleman while being massaged and prodded. He wasn't overly bloated at the appointment but he had been earlier in the morning while I had him out with me. Vet gave us cisapride & instruction to continue with the higher fiber diet.
Cisapride seems to help. The first couple of days he's visually not as bloated and he's more active. After a couple of days I back off the dosage. Bloat returns. He's peeing & pooping fairly normal, though we notice a lull in his frequency when he's more bloated. He carries on like a lunatic in his cage, and also eats all his lettuce with gusto. We've been diligent in keeping his hay stocked. It's his bizarre come-and-go bloat & lethargic behavior while out with us that concerns me. Randall has always been a pig that loves attention & will snuggle in with you for about five minutes or so, but then tears off on his own to waddle around & wheek. Not lately. He's not nearly as vocal & just doesn't seem...well, himself.
So my questions are these. Those of you that have had pigs w/ chronic bloat, is cisapride a drug you can use daily for an extended time? Can guinea pigs develop a tolerance to it? I imagine it's okay to use it for maintenance for when bloat kicks in, but I'm having concerns about whether or not we'll be able to NOT use it.
I'm thinking of calling the vet tomorrow to have him seen again. I'm teetering, though, b/c there isn't anything really different from the last time he was seen. The only thing I'd really be able to note a difference in is his behavior. Am I overreacting? I kind of want an X-ray to see what it looks like in there, but if nothing is wrong I don't want to waste the time, money, or Randall's nerves from traveling.
Thoughts or suggestions?
He seemed good this morning. I'm holding off on another vet visit in hope I can find a diet that works for him along w/ the meds. He drinks a lot more since taking the cisapride. I'm wondering if that's a side effect (which would kind of make sense if the body is using more fluids to move things, I suppose). Anyone else know of any other side effects?
Here's Randall in all his glory
My boy's got some serious edema going on, and we're really not sure why. He hasn't exhibited any other signs or symptoms as a heart pig, and his lungs looked good on the xray. His pooing has been a bit slowed b/c the pressure of the fluid on intestines is causing them to work double time. So the motility drug was still a good call. Now we're going to add lasix to try to manage the fluid retention. The problem is trying to figure out what on earth is causing the retention. There's definitely something wrong somewhere, we're just not sure how to go about figuring it out.
I'm worried about my furbaby, but at least he's still eating and operating fairly normally despite carrying the extra bit of fluid/bloat.
I take it because the xray shows a quite opaque area, this is not gas and that's why the vet diagnosed it as excess fluid?
Let me know if you'd like your xray added permanently to your thread.
When the vet explained the xray to me, he said that the darker areas in the belly are actually gas, which is why we can see the outline of his intestinal track. The grey areas are fluid. I believe his words were, "I have cause for concern." Ha. Yeah, me too, doc! I asked him his opinion about heart concerns, having read so much on GL about heart piggies, and he really didn't feel that was where this was going, despite edema being a common heart problem. There was no sign of fluid around/in his lungs or chest, and his heart sounded strong and steady. Besides, Randall has never exhibited any other symptoms of being a heart pig, i.e. hooting, lethargy, weight loss,URIs, etc. Anyone else w/ fluid bloat experience have a guess at what might be happening, or perhaps ways to help Randall be comfy?
Yes, please add the pic to the thread permanently. If anyone else can benefit from Randall's experience, all the better I say!
Our hearts are broken, but I'm incredibly grateful for the little bit of extra snuggle time we had over the past few weeks as we battled his medical problems. I'm also grateful that there was as little suffering as possible, and that we were able to be with him.
He was an amazing guinea pig. He had such spunk and personality unlike any other pig I've ever had. We were his 3rd owners, having adopted him from our humane league about 3 years ago, and why on earth two people gave this little guy up I'll never know, but I'll be forever indebted to them for it b/c we would never had had him in our family otherwise.
Rest on, lil' Randall Pants. You can have ALL THE PELLETS you want now.
- LS in AK
- Upside-down & Backwards
Another GL member, couchon, has been battling water bloat in a pig recently, too, and it does not seem heart related in that case, either.
Wish we could figure out some of these difficult, mystery illnesses, and keep out piggies around longer.