- You can quote me
You can try this and see if she likes it:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001BM1QRC/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid= ... obios+powder
Dissolve it in water and offer it by syringe. It smells like reconstituted powdered milk. (?) They either love it or they hate it in my experience, no in-between.
Also without reading back, have her droppings been looked at under a microscope for any bacteria or microbes, or an overgrowth of normally-occurring microbes?
Have you considered metronidazole (Flagyl)? This is an antimicrobial agent that works well on protozoal overgrowths and the like.
I will say it's easier to keep feet and bedding clean with chronic soft stool if you use a loose bedding like CareFresh or kiln-dried pine shavings. If your entire system is set up for fleece, though, that comment is probably less than helpful.
To recap: Hazel has been struggling with diarrhea her whole life. She is about 10 months old. Poop ranges from malformed, slightly soft teardrop poops to softserve textured mush, never entirely liquid. We have tried:
-Introducing veggies slowly
-Eliminating veggies completely from her diet
-Introducing veggies one at a time to see if there's one in particular that's causing the upset
-Fecal and urine exam to check for parasites/flora imbalance, came back clean
-Probiotics: Bene-Bac powder and poop soup from my other pigs
-Restricting pellets so as to force her to eat more hay
-Keeping paper towel roll core in her cage for her to chew on/eat (indigestible fiber source)
The pellets she is being fed right now are Oxbow alfalfa pellets, to be replaced with timothy next time I buy a bag since she's getting older. She is fed timothy hay from a local feed store.
The probiotics, either one, will work for a little while- a few days up to a couple weeks, then her gut will go back to being bad. I've been alternating them since last post per Talishan's suggestion. She had actually been doing really well- she was hovering around 620g (up from 570) pretty constantly for a couple weeks!
***********************(end of recap)
Just last week she crashed a bit, stopped eating well so I had to force feed her. She lost some weight before I noticed and is now 550-580g. I took her to the vet and he told me to try no veggies for a month and a half along with restricted access to pellets and see if the longer period of diet restriction fixes it. He said if she needs something green, grass will do, so now her treat is some wheatgrass I got at the pet store. She doesn't like it as much as peppers, lettuce, apple, or carrot though, and when I give my other piggies their treats she begs so hard and it breaks my heart :( She also gets vitamin C drops in her pellets.
Something interesting he suggested was to keep the pellets in the fridge- though I don't think this has anything to do with her problem, because his reason was for that to slow the vitamin C deterioration in the pellets and he said he didn't see any signs of C deficiency when I asked about it. I think he's just about out of ideas though, he told me not to make another appointment if she's not better after six weeks and to just call him instead and he'd see what he could think up then.
I haven't tried the probios powder you suggested yet, Talishan- I'm thinking I'll try adding that into the rotation next time she gets bad. Her poops are currently teardrop/weird shapes.
Also, something unusual I've noticed over this last week is that her feet are often cold when I pick her up? None of my other pigs' feet ever feel cold so I assume that it's not just that we keep the apartment too cool... has anyone heard of that being a symptom of an underlying problem before? Nothing's come up in my Google searches.
Oh, and as an aside- vet checked her shoulder lump (she had an inexplicable solid lump, produced nothing upon lancing, that started regressing on its own) and says it looks good, nothing to worry about there. So that's nice at least.
Also have not tried Flagyl, since the poop smear/urine test came back clean. Are those usually pretty accurate, or might it be worth trying a round of Flagyl in case they missed something? It also might be worth noting that she's had this issue on and off since September of last year, I kind of assumed that any protozoa/worm/etc they missed would have killed her by now.
I do have fleece set up in their cages, but I've been so tired of trying to keep her hidey area clean that I took your advice and put paper bedding in to line it. It takes longer to clean up, and now she pees in there too instead of just in the litter box, but I do think her feet are generally cleaner for it. Still needs a foot bath every now and again, but less often. Thanks for the suggestion Talishan!
The ingredients listed on the bottle (these are Oasis brand multivitamin Vita-Drops): Water, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin A Palmitate, d-a-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Niacinamide, Choline Chloride, dl-Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Riboflavin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex (MSBC)
No sweeteners that I recognize... but may be a good idea to stop the drops?
- You can quote me
Cold feet can be indicative of heart compromise. That said, sometimes their feet will feel cold on occasion. I'd not worry about it unless 1) it's that way ALL the time, not just occasionally and 2) she has other signs of heart weakness:
Our Heather had a thyroid nodule, and other signs of hyperthyroidism. Do you see anything else (other than soft stool) in Hazel that would suggest that?
When the vet checked her feces, did they just do a float, or did they look at it under a microscope? A float shows the presence of certain parasites and no more. Making a slide will show microbial overgrowth, inappropriate bacteria, etc. I'd want them to do that if they haven't already -- or just try a course of Flagyl as bpatters mentions.
Heather had teardrop shaped/odd/soft feces the whole time we had her. We finally gave up and just kept her feet clean.
Her feet have been normal temperature the last few days, so I guess she just got chilly then. And she doesn't have any of the other signs on the heart page.
As far as signs of hyperthyroid, Hazel has just lost weight this month and hasn't put it back on, but she was also able to gain weight before that too... so it's less that she can't gain weight and more like she has trouble keeping it on maybe? She went from 570g to 620g, back down to 570g. So not a huge difference, but she does still feel pretty thin compared to my other pigs so I'm still worried. Possibly overly so.
That's the only thing that seems like it would indicate hyperthyroid. I can't feel any swelling or nodules from her sternum up to her jaw (not sure exactly where the thyroid is on a pig's neck as compared to on a person). She's not any more or less active than my other pigs, given her recent cold feet I'm guessing she doesn't overheat, it seems she sleeps just fine...
They called it a 'poop smear', but didn't give me any specific results, only that "it came back clean". I assume that they would have called it a float if it was a float, but it'll probably be safer to call and check.
As long as it's just a matter of me keeping her clean I don't mind so much, it's just when she has these episodes when the probiotics don't help and then she drops some weight that I get worried. Also I wish I could give her fresh veggies. She is my cutest pig (don't tell my other pigs) and her little begging face is tough to resist.
- You can quote me
We gave Heather normal amounts of greens. Within reason, they didn't affect her wonky output. Way too much would give her soft(er) stool, of course. But I'm not sure that eliminating all vegetables is going to help.
Today her diarrhea's gotten almost to the liquid point. Her weight's still at about 560g though. Would that change in consistency be cause for alarm, do you think? Or still only if her weight drops more?
edit: Hmm. Also, upon closer inspection, it appears the stool isn't quite liquid, more like... looser soft-serve consistency than normal. I kinda freaked out. :/ I could upload a pic if it would be helpful.
- And got the T-shirt
Without reading back, are you giving probiotics and/or poop soup?