Louie's Medical Thread

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Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 2:02 pm

Well, I'm back with even more pig problems. To recap, Gary has been off his feed for like almost two weeks with gas and strange poops; I've been treating him with Metoclopromide, Cisapride, and Simethicone, and probiotics. About 4 days ago, his partner, Louie, went off his feed, too, without much gas. I've been handfeeding both with critical care. Might I add, this is exactly the same pattern that happened when they both got sick in February, minus the diarrhea that Gary exhibited. First Gary had gotten sick and stopped eating, then Louie stopped eating several days later. I put both on Azithromycin back then for a few days, and both recovered.

Anyway, I've been handfeeding Louie now, too, and this morning noticed red spots on their fleece--it looked almost like tomato stains, except they had had no tomato. Louie has consistently had sludgey urine no matter what I do--reducing Oxbow kibble, giving them distilled water to drink, not giving him much high calcium-containing fresh food--so I immediately thought that it was him and he's developed some small stones. (He had an xray back in February--no stones then.) My theory is that the critical care has like an 0.8% calcium/ash content like the kibble, and that it's messing up his bladder.

I feel as though since it's a matter of time before this calcium thing gets really bad, I need to put Louie and Gary on Azithromycin NOW and see if that gets them to eat again on their own within a couple days. Plus it's been such a bad two weeks with the pigs that I'm at my wits end here.

The dose I had for 1080-1090 gram Gary back in February was once a day 0.8 ml Azithromycin 40 mg/ml (10 ml). Can somebody tell me the Azithromycin dose for Louie, who is 1475 grams? (Yes, he's very big boned.)

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Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 2:13 pm

I encourage you to call your vet and use the antibiotic under his/her guidance. Then it will be in their record and if further treatment is required, they will know what he's been on.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 2:22 pm

I would not put them on azithromycin for that. You need to know whether the bleeding is caused by a stone or by an infection. And azithromycin, in my experience, is apt to make them less likely to eat, not more.

It's also not a good idea to put them on it for just a few days. All you're doing in that case is creating drug-resistant bacteria, and you may wind up with worse problems down the line.

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Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 2:51 pm

Bactrim would be the drug of choice for possible UTI, either as a primary issue or secondary to bladder stones. An x-ray is the only way to rule out stones, and I will add that they can form very quickly. So even if they were ruled out earlier, it's possible that one or more stones may have formed since then.


Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 7:12 pm

Okay, I guess I wasn't clear. I wouldn't be treating my pigs for a bladder infection with the Azithromycin, I would be treating them for both going off their feed from an anaerobic intestinal infection like the vet confirmed Gary had back in February, since the symptoms have been similar. Again, it is my thinking that since the bloody urine has only now happened in Louie after handfeeding him for four days, that the reason Louie has bloody urine now is due to the calcium content of the Emeraid Intensive Care Herbivore. If that makes sense.

The reason I had my animals on Azithromycin for only 5 days in February is that that was all their bodies could take, bpatters. My current vet backed me up on that decision. She said that the risk of bad reaction to Flagyl was worse than the reaction to Azithromycin--don't know how true that is, I'm not sure if I've used Flagyl before and of course every pig is different.

After all the vet visits and bills I've had these last four weeks, I was really hoping to solve this stuff at home. It seems as though my animals tend to get sick in clusters, which is EXTREMELY challenging. Plus I find that the attitude of the vets soon turn to disbelief that my animals are really sick, and I'm not just looking for attention or something. No joke, in the past when I had even more pigs I occasionally would take them to a different vet, just so I wouldn't get a reputation. *Sigh.*

I'm so tired. It's so hard with these animals that the first thing they do when they have a 'boo boo' is stop eating!

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Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 8:40 pm

I see. Yes, I just Googled EmerAid ingredients, and not is it extremely high in calcium (min. 1.00%), but it also contains calcium carbonate -- an ingredient many of us suspect could be related to stone formation in prone guinea pigs:
Cellulose, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Glucose Syrup Solids, Rice Gel Flour, Inulin, Corn Oil, Defatted Wheat Germ, Canola Oil, Sucrose, Glutamine, Ground Limestone, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Iodized Salt, DL-Methionine, Magnesium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Cysteine, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Dipantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Ascorbic Acid, L-Tryptophan, Manganese Sulfate, Citric Acid (A Natural Preservative), Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite.
It also has some other things that I'd be concerned about feeding a guinea pig having gut issues, such as glucose syrup solids and sucrose which are sugars.

Oxbow Critical Care would be a much better choice:

As a side note, this is the thread from February:
We ask that members keep all medical issues of the same pig on one thread so that we can follow what has been happening with his or her health over a period of time.

How did the vet determine that there was some sort of intestinal infection?


Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 9:51 pm

Funny, Sef. I've got a bag of Oxbow Adult kibble in my hand and it's got calcium carbonate in it. I took one look at that a couple months ago and determined after I finish out the bags I have that I'll be buying KMS pellets. When I lived in Europe until recently, I fed them Berkel Meerschweinchen Premium C, which also contains it, but Louie seemed to survive pretty well: (https://www.berkel-futtershop.de/Nager/Meerschweinchen-Premium-C-ca-5-Kg::41.html)

I also used in Europe a critical care formula called RodiCare Instant by Alfavet. (https://www.tierarzt24.de/alfavet-rodicare-instant) I highly recommend it to people living in Europe. It's actually green. It was funny, I moved back and went "oh yeah, here the CC is white like flour." I don't recall which brand I used as a kid here. I just wish I had some RodiCare right now, it's only 0.7% calcium.

Now I have to figure out what to feed Louie while I wait for the new Oxbow CC to arrive. I've got some appropriate baby food I can cut the Emeraid with. If I were back in Europe I'd get fine grain oatmeal (it's small enough to suck through a syringe) but I don't think they have it over here. What about oat flour?

I wish I thought the vet would actually take me seriously at this point, but like I've said, the vet just sort of brushed my concern with Gary's gut aside. I think a fecal would be sensible considering they are both not eating, but I've offered up two different samples and the vet refused both of them.

I'm sorry about the thread confusion. I have now dutifully created a thread for each pig.

Finally, to answer your question, the vet determined that Gary (and by extension Louie) were suffering from an anaerobic bacterial infection in February based on a stool sample. The vet also saw yeast, so they were also on oral Nystatin at the time, or at least Gary was. The Azithromycin kicked it.


Post   » Thu May 21, 2020 10:02 pm

I want to add, I gave Louie 0.3 ml of Rimadyl 12.5 oral solution (with food, since I have no Sucralfate left and it's a NSAID). I'm a little worried what with the bleeding but pretty confident it's not coming from his gut so I figured I'd *try* to see if pain relief would encourage him to eat. Nope on that.

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Post   » Sat May 23, 2020 1:56 am

I feed Oxbow Adult Essential pellets and I also have regular and flavored Critical Care on hand. As I look at the packages, I don't see calcium carbonate listed in the ingredients. Could the package you have be an old one?

I think it's essential to find a vet who can help diagnose these digestive issues. Especially since it's happened twice now, only a few months apart, and both pigs are showing similar symptoms.

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Post   » Sat May 23, 2020 5:38 pm

Oxbow changed the formula a few years ago and removed calcium carbonate/limestone. Are you in the US? It's odd that you would have a bag of it that contains that ingredient.


Post   » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:09 pm

Hi everyone. I have updates on Louie, and by extension, Gary. I've been hand feeding Louie critical care for two weeks now, giving him a human probiotic and Benebac alternating every other day. I expected him to turn the corner like Gary did, but he still isn't touching much food. (Gary, on the other hand, isn't eating romaine but other than that is eating pretty well, but his weight is still down about 40 grams. See Gary's medical thread for his history if interested.) I finally took Louie to the vet today. The vet told me his stomach seemed "angry" on examination. They ran a fecal. Louie hasn't had diarrhea but lately his poops have been oddly textured and extremely teardropped-shaped on either end. The results of the fecal are that Louie either has Coccidia or some yeast--it's hard to tell according to the doc and they sometimes send them for a PCR at a lab to tell the difference. I'm at a loss how my pigs got Coccidia but according to the vet it can lurk in the liver and other organs for quite some time.

Anybody ever have pigs with Coccidia that didn't have diarrhea? I mean, Gary had diarrhea back in February but this time around nobody had the runs.

Long and the short of it, I'm to put both Gary and Louie on Toltrazuril. I don't know the concentration; it's not on the bottle, but Louie's to get 0.3 ml once a day and Gary 0.2 ml once a day for three days. Then I'm supposed to stop for five days and then dose them another three days. This is in adherence with the parasite's life cycle. The side effect for the medicine can be a slowdown of digestion as the parasites are killed, so I still have Cisapride and Metoclopromide on hand. I'm still sort of disappointed I didn't get Albon. I've used that before very safely for an infection; it didn't treat the infection but it's innocuous in pigs it seems.

I will be calling the vet again tomorrow because Galileo (deceased) and his female partner were both given poops from Gary and Louie two months ago when they were on Bactrim for a URI. Soo...Galileo's partner probably has the coccidia in her system as well, if that is really what this is. My question is should I treat her too?

Last of all, about the calcium. It's sadly not true that all Oxbow pellets are calcium carbonate free. Check out their website. Here are the ingredients of what I was giving my pigs, the Oxbow Simple Harvest Adult Guinea Pig Food:
Timothy Grass Meal, Soybean Hulls, Canola Meal, Sunflower Meal, Steam Rolled Oat Groats, Cane Molasses, Sunflower Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Sodium Bentonite, Vitamin C Supplement, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Yeast Culture, Zinc Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, Niacin, Copper Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Magnesium Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate
There are 4 different Oxbow pellets for guinea pigs on the market, and 2 of them contain calcium carbonate, the other being Organic Bounty Adult Guinea Pig Food. Garden Select and Essentials lines don't have it. Buyer beware.

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Post   » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:57 pm

Was there an absolutely positive identification of the oocytes (I think that's what would be seen if he had Coccidia)?


Post   » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:45 pm

No, Lynx, they would have had to be sent to a lab for PCR analysis. ($$$) It makes sense that yeast, a single celled organism, could be mistaken for oocytes, though. I just shelled out the money for the Toltrazuril. Might as well give it a try if it can do no harm. The next step barring recovery is urinalysis (blood in urine?), maybe an xray.

I had the vet palpate Louie's lymph nodes. No big knots. Mouth was fine, except for some arthritis.

I hate to have to start wondering about PTS. It just seems to me that something that is affecting both animals like this has to be infectious. It was so weird how it it was like a switch was flipped, one day Louie was eating like a champ and then the next not at all, several days after Gary got sick.

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