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Post   » Sat Feb 23, 2002 10:39 pm

I took Shamus into the vet today to have his breathing checked. He was always kind of wheezy, if you had his body close to your ear you could hear him. But lately he has been more vocal, making little grunting sounds every time he exhaled (I think.) This is the first time he has seen a vet who is competent with small animals (I love her!) She said he sounds congested but it doesn´t sound moist, so she isn´t extremely worried. She gave me Sulfatrim to give him twice dailey. I tried to look it up here and didn´t see it in the bad medication or good medication list, and in past posts it was mentioned in situations that seemed different from Shamus´. Does anyone know if this will help him?
I was also surprised to find out, as she gave him a complete going over, that he has a mild case of bumblefoot on his 2 front paws! I thought a pig would only get bumblefoot if it was kept on a wire-bottom cage? What else causes it? She didn´t want to do anything about it yet as he was stressed out as it was from the visit, and I know the next 10 days with the antibiotic will not make him happy. Is there anything I can do to help him out until he goes back to see her? She said to make sure there was an extra layer of shavings or Carefresh in his cage, but he has a lot as it is.
Thanks for any input,

ada and the gang

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Post   » Sat Feb 23, 2002 10:57 pm

Any abrasion can allow the foot to get slightly infected. Bumblefoot is supposedly caused by a staphyococcus aureus. You could also try using a towel in part of the cage to give him something soft to walk on.

I might be wrong, but I thought sulfatrim was bactrim (I´ll go look in a minute). It should be on Louise Czupryna´s safe medication list. If there is a bacterial infection, it should help although some bacteria do not respond to some drugs.


It was not on her list, but a search on Google turned up several sites that indicate it is the same drug.


My alltime favorite search engine!
Last edited by Lynx on Sat Feb 23, 2002 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2002 2:19 am

I have a sow with bumblefoot right now. She also has arthritis. I have d found that pigs who have been ill or inactive can come down with bumblefoot. Bumblefoot in these pigs seesm to be due to circulation problems. Once they are up and active again the feet improve.

See this thread for more info bumblefoot caused by a bacterial infection.

http://www.caviesgalore.com/forums/show ... eadid=5884

I´ve been using the pressure bandage treatment (for about 2 weeks) on Daisy and her bumblefoot is almost gone.

Bumblefoot. If the foot is ulcerated, use a pressure bandage that encloses the
entire foot. This is important. If the claws are hanging out, it doesn´t work. It
takes about 2 weeks for total healing with 3 or 4 (depending how bad the ulcer
is) bandage changes. We have only done this on ulcerated feet. Non ulcerated
bumblefoot cases we ignore. We have noted that bumblefoot comes with
inaction. Once a pig starts getting active (after a long illness) the bumblefoot
tends to go away. However, because the feet of your pig are in such bad shape,
a pressure bandage may help even if the feet aren´t ulcerated.

The second the foot is totally healed. we put on a Band-aid Corn Relief cushion.(
not corn removers) Do not put them on an ulcerated foot, they won´t stay on. The
foot has to be totally clean, dry, healed and trimmed of excess hair or they won´t
stay on. Follow the instructions that come with them. These include telling you to
press them into place with the heat of your hand for 60 seconds. This makes the
adhesive bond to the skin. The pads are waterproof and breathable and will
gently fall off on their own accord 5 to 10, days later. Band-aid Corn Relief
cushions for feet - regular - with Compeed moisture seal technology.

These pads are excellent for any pressure point problems on the foot pad. One of
our pigs lost 2 toes on his hind foot. He started to develop a sore spot on his pad
due to the new pressure point. He developed an ulcerated foot within 5 days.
After the pressure bandage treatment and 6 weeks of wearing these cushions,
he developed a proper new callous and no longer needs the cushions.

(Since this was written we have used the pressure bandages to reduce the swelling on unulcerated bumblefoot with great success)

That said, I really think you should get your vet to do an xray of the chest. The symptoms you describe could also signify a heart problem. Heart disease is far more common in pigs than people realise. URIs and congested hearts sound the same. Beijing, a past pig with heart disease also suffered from Bumblefoot. In fact she was the one we developed the pressure bandage treatment for. Her Bumblefoot was due to circulation problems and flared up when she was inactive. The swollen feet combined with obvious breathing sound when he exhales and congested lungs really fits into a heart disease profile.

Having had 5 pigs (out of 19 adults)_on heart meds - 2 suspected of heart
disease and 3 confirmed - I would get the heart checked out. Get an xray, a
really good one. Look for air in the stomach, enlarged liver, fluid in the lungs.
Zag, who we thought was suffering from chronic URIs was very sedentary. Since
she got on on Lasix she became more active. Some pigs with bad hearts tire
easily and sleep a lot. Bloom just never ran anywhere. Walked deliberately and
carefully. Then one day she had trouble raising her head. Lasix saved her. She
had a bad heart and was going into heart failure.

Our two pigs with suspected heart problems have already lost 2 in their family to
heart failure. They´re on ace inhibitors as a precaution.

Our vet thinks heart disease in pigs is more common than thought and believes
mnany of the unexplained mystery deaths one hears about may be heart failure.
Symptoms: exhaustion, inactivity, sudden loss of muscle tone and difficulty
keeping head up, rattling from the lungs (combined with loss of muscle tone,
silent lungs could be a sign they are full up with fluid), chronic URIs that
don´t seem to compromise the pig.

Sudden loss of muscle tone requires an emergency vet visit for Lasix. When they
get to that state they can die within hours. We lost Nougat within 12 hours of
the URI symptom of clicks in the lungs. Put her on Baytril immediately. Took her
to the vet at 10am, she died at 4pm. Autopsy revealed heart disease. Prior to
loss of muscle tone - she was the picture of health. She was 18 months old.

Since this was written we lost Zag and Willie. Willie lived a quality life for 18 months after his diagnosis. He died at 5. Zag lived a year after her diagnosis. She was about 6. He necropsy confirmed heart disease. Bloom is on daily Lasix and is doing very well. She is also on meds for hyperthyroidism. The pigs on ace inhibitors are doing great.

Heart problems can be easily managed with Lasix and ace inhibitors like Fortekor or Enacard. Usually the hard part is convincing the vet that heart could be the cause of the problems.

Seansfamily had a heart pig (Sean), Josephine has at least one heart pig and Cornwes has had 3 with heart problems.

I believe many pigs who die from URIs, may have actually died from undiagnosed heart disease. We have never lost a pig to a URI. This we know because we have unexplained deaths autopsied as a precaution to the rest of the herd. The last "URI death" we had was not a URI, it was congestive heart failure.

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Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2002 10:20 pm

Ada emailed me and I also suggested that Shamus may have a heart condition.

Sean was never diagnosed with bumblefoot, but his two front feet were always a bit on the swollen side in comparison to the front feet of my other pigs.

For Ada or anyone else reading this, don´t panic if your pig may have a heart condition. With proper diagnosis, a good vet and your devotion to administering his meds properly plus careful monitoring on your part for any changes in condition, your pig can lead a good, long life. Sean was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at 9 months old and lived to be 5-1/2 years old.

EDIT: I don´t know where else to write this, so I will just add this here. I miss Sean so much. While doing the dishes today, I found myself singing a song I had made up about him. It is a dumb song. Just "Oh, Seanathon. Oh, Seanathon." sung to the tune of "Oh, Tannenbaum". He liked it. I was singing it loud so that he could hear me in the next room. Then I remembered that he wasn´t in the next room. But, for a minute or so, he was here in spirit with me today.
Last edited by Seansfamily on Sun Feb 24, 2002 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Sun Feb 24, 2002 11:30 pm

I am glad I am not the only one who sings to her pets...Shamus has his own song, too. Call Me Mr. Shamus sung to the tune of Mr. Vain! It seems appropriate.
Shamus has always had a gentle wheezing, since I got him from the SPCA. I had always wondered if it might be a heart problem, too, especially after e-mailing Seansfamily a lot about our Irish piggies! But I always figured if that were the case, he would have gone downhill real fast, way before this. As it is, I don´t know how to tell about muscle tone, but he is a very active boy. I haven´t noticed a change in behaviour or appetite, thank goodness. I brought him in only about the breathing, but the minute the vet said bumblefoot, I started panicking, and I am sure I probably missed a lot of what she said. I know she didn´t mention the heart aspect of it, but I do have to bring him in in 10 days to see how he is reacting, and she said we would re-evaluate from there. I will ask. I trust her better then some of the other places we have been to.
His paws do not have any openings on them. The vet said we would probably bandage them when I bring him back, depending on how they are doing. I think they already look a lot better, but one paw is definitely bigger then the other. I did as Lynx said and put a towel is his cage to rest in. He loves it. It was very difficult geting him to take the sulfatrim...the doctor said after he had it a few times he might realize he likes it and make it easier for me! I don´t see that happening, but it has definitely been quality bonding time...I know I am not hurting him but he has that gleam in his eye that says he is trying to make me mad! Finally, I did what I had always hoped I would never have to do - wrap the bugger up in a towel and hold his mouth open! It breaks my heart, but at least he isn´t miffed with me when it´s over anymore!
At any rate, thank you so much for all the input. I was wondering about the possibility of congestive heart failure, too, but I know so little about it that I thought my opinion didn´t amount too much. If this is the case, is he allright until I bring him back in 10 days? (Will the sulfatrim help him at all?) And is there anything else I should be looking out for that might be helpful?

ada and the gang


Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2002 12:03 am

Zag had chronic "URIs". Every 6 weeks or so we´d put her on antibiotics. She´d get better and then the symptoms would return. A xray specialist diagnosed her with walking pneumonia at one point, so it was obvious from the xray her lungs had fluid in them.

She never was a very active pig. We got her at 3 1/2 years old as a rescue. She had a crippled front paw from a break that was never looked after. She did gradually start cutting out activities as time went on. She used to put herself to bed by walking into the room with the cage and climbing the steps to get in. She also used to be the first pig out when the cage was opened in the morning. By about 4 1/2, in between all the "URIs" she became more and more sedentary. Finally at one point it dawned on me that if she did have URIs she would be dead. Because I had another pig with a heart condition, I suggested that possibility to my vet. We tried her on Lasix and bingo - no more URIs.

Willie never slowed down at all until he collapsed from heart failure brought on by a URI. He´d been diagnosed with asthma as a 2-month-old so we didn´t think twice about his freight train breathing noises. Then one night he seemed to lose muscle tone and couldn´t hold his head up. Lasix saved him but it was a long haul. He did have a URI which wiped him out due to this heart. But prior to that night he was an aggressive, lively streetfighter pig.

So I would say it depends on the pig(and level of heart disease) as to whether or not they slow down. You´re probably are safe to wait 10 days, but I would phone your vet and tell them your suspicions. If he has a URI the sulfatrim will help.

Sometimes the only way to "diagnose" heart problems masquerading as URIs is by trying Lasix. If the URI goes away with Lasix then it´s a good assumption the URI is a heart problem.

Willie had an xray, and an ultrasound that revealed an enlarged heart. We got the ultrasound done because it almost looked like a tumour on the Xray. The ultrasound confirmed (as much as possible)that there wasn´t a tumour which gave us some hope of bringing the problem under control. Zag´s xray wasn´t as conclusive. But her autopsy was.


Post   » Mon Feb 25, 2002 10:07 am

I lost three pigs last year to heart problems. All had their own unique heart issue. Two of them showed fairly classic URI symptoms - lethargy, labored breathing, loss of interest in food. Although they are on the pricy side, I would highly recommend an ultrasound. X-rays CANNOT always conclude a heart problem. They can confirm fluid in the lungs but may not indicate the heart causing the problem.

Lasix and Enacard were very successful at prolonging my pigs´ lives. Vinnie´s heart lining was wearing thin and collapsed. Brownie´s heart had hardened, most likely due to chronic untreated URI´s before I adopted him. And Mama´s lungs filled with fluids due to a collapsed heart.

Mama pig developed what looked to be symptoms of bumblefoot. She was suffering from a URI and we determined that her foot problem was a symptom of her already comprised health. However, using a diluted iodine solution several times daily and wrapping the foot in gauze had helped keep her foot clean and uninfected (Baytril was also prescribed). Most foot issues take an incredibly long time to completely heal, but progress should be noticeable.

Please make your vet aware of potential heart problems as a possibility for Shamus. This is all very valuable information. Good luck.
Last edited by cornwes on Mon Feb 25, 2002 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Tue Mar 05, 2002 11:15 pm

Just thought I would let everyone know where we´re at. I took Shamus in last night and his bumblefoot seems to have cleared up...the doctor was really surprised at how fast a recovery he made. She said that his breathing already seems to have cleared up as well, but I swear he is playing tricks on both of us because I still hear him. But we were at the office for some time, and he was breathing good. Hmm...what else. She was initially concerned last week that he might have a mite problem, as they did a scraping and found one lone mite. (She said not to worry yet as it may just show that his "immunity" was down.) They didn´t find any this time but still seem to think he is itchy, so I have to buck up and give the poor guy a bath! Poor guy will have a heart attack!
I did ask about the possibility of a heart problem, and she didn´t laugh (I was afraid!) and thought for awhile. Of course she wouldn´t outrule it but didn´t think the examination indicated a problem, especially as she believes his breathing is fine. She knows I am still concerned, so as he still has half a bottle of sulfatrim, she thinks we should continue him on that until it is gone, and if I believe he is still having trouble breathing, we will do the X-ray angle and go from there.
Shamus is good...still active as ever. he doesn´t fight me on the medicine anymore. Maybe a bath won´t be so bad. I really think having the towel in his cage helped with his footies. I will let y´all know if anything changes.

ada and the gang

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Post   » Tue Mar 05, 2002 11:36 pm

Glad to hear the feet are better. But where there is one mite, there are more. I would be running to the refrigerator for my trusty bottle of ivermectin...


Post   » Wed Mar 06, 2002 1:45 am

I agree with Lynx. If you managed to find one mite you are well ahead of most skin scraping results. Since it´s so hard to get conclusive evidence of mites our vet won´t do skin scrapings for them anymore. She just treats with Ivermectin rather than torture the pig with 3,4 or 5 scrapings. The fact your vet found one mite in one just scraping indicates "luck" or a heavy infestation. Where there is one mite there are many.

The fact your vet isn´t concerned indicates a lack of experience with guinea pig mites. Makes you wonder when she would like to worry - when he´s seizuring? A bath will do nothing to stop the itching caused by mites.

Get your pig treated with Ivermectin. Print off Sellnick Mite Infestation ... &styleid=1 anmd take it in to show your vet.

I would still request the xray or an ultrasound. That´s the way it is with heart pigs. The URI seems to clear up but not completely. Then, 6 weeks later they come down with another URI. The lowered immune system resulting from a bad heart makes the pig more susceptible to URIs. Many URIs result in scarring on the lung tissue. This was found in Zag´s autopsy. If there is anything found indicating a possible heart problem - the sooner the pig goes on heart meds, the longer the extension of its life. Scar tissue on the lungs shortens the life.

If the Bumblefoot was due to poor circulation from a heart problem compounded by a URI, it would make sense that it clears up quickly once the extra stress from the URI is removed. But it it is also a sign that something is not right. Bumblefoot does not generally accompany URIs.

gunea pig lover

Post   » Mon Mar 17, 2003 12:51 pm

yes, i think my ginea pig stanley has bumble feet. Can you tell me the best treatment? Thanks

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Post   » Mon Mar 17, 2003 12:54 pm

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