The vet has a lot of experience in these surgeries and is pretty confident in this being successful. My major concern, however, is his age. If he were years younger, I'd have no reservations at all moving forward with this. But at 7.5...is he at any more risk than a younger pig? He's also been on Critical Care for the last week to keep weight on as we've worked towards a diagnosis. He hasn't gained much of anything, according to my scale at home.
Has anyone else had a pig at this age go through this surgery?
I'm off to pick him up now from the vet - I'll see if they have any additional advice/thoughts. As of now, we have a surgery appointment being held for us on Friday.
My stone pigs have always lost weight, but regained it after surgery. Stones are painful, so that may be affecting his appetite. I would hand feed with critical care to keep him strong for the upcoming surgery and recovery.
I've been hand-feeding him with Critical Care every 12 hours on advice of the vet. He's always looking for more after the recommended amount though...I'll talk to them about upping the amount and see what they say.
The biggest risk for older pigs with this type of surgery that typically doesn't affect younger pigs is the older ones can potentially be prone to complications from waking up from the anesthesia after surgery. The presence of the stone suggests the kidneys are less than 100% to begin with, and an older pig is susceptible to renal failure. From what I understand, the kidneys shut down a bit when the pig is put under, which is normal, but then they don't restart properly when the pig wakes up after surgery, and fluid buildup begins all throughout the body shortly thereafter. This is probably not all that common, but it's a possibility you should be aware of. The weaker the kidneys are going in, the higher the risk. If it happens, the pig will go downhill rather fast.
Feed him all that he can eat.
Does Chewy seem to be in a lot of discomfort? What prompted you to have him checked out by the vet?
Weight loss can also be part of the normal aging process and not necessarily anything to do with the stone.
I don't want to tell you not to have the surgery...you know your guy better than any of us. But I guess I'd have to weigh his quality of life right now vs. risks of surgery for a guinea pig his age.
I would feed him as much critical care as he'd like.
If he is in pain and uncomfortable, I would be getting him the surgery if you think he is strong enough. If the stone is making him go down hill, really it will be either surgery or being PTS. If you opt out of surgery make sure he has pain management and isn't suffering daily.
In the end...it turned out to be a fairly easy decision for my boyfriend and I. Chewy is having his stone removal surgery tomorrow. As Lynx mentioned, he is otherwise healthy and I trust all of the vets at this hospital completely. We've been going here for years and exotics is all they do. The only other option was to manage his pain. I didn't think that was fair to any of us in our little family...so we're going to do what we can for him.
I'm already nervous - I'm sure I'll be a total wreck tomorrow!!
I have to get him off tap water. I had a light bulb moments reading through the medical guides when I realized we have hard water where we live.
Is water from a Brita pitcher filtered enough? Or would Deer Park (or similar) be a better option?
I give mine Poland Spring, which doesn't seem too bad (but my piggies both have sludge, so I am wondering if that's caused by Poland Spring - I don't know)... I have looked into filters, but every time I find one there seems to be an issue with it I don't like.
I think you are making a great decision for your piggy! Good luck :)
I heard from the vet a little while ago...she said it went very quickly since it was just one large stone rather than several smaller ones. She said it was the size of a pea - the team was referring to it as a dinosaur egg. :)
He's resting comfortably in an incubator and is off oxygen. He'll be staying with them until Sunday, or possibly Monday. The day can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned...can't wait!