Fasting for 12 hours before surgery?

MarlowePieper11

Post   » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:43 pm


I brought our male pig to the vets today bc of obvious pain when urinating or defecating. They took 2 x-rays, and a urinalysis and found he has 1 bladder stone, 5 mm large. I immediately found a vet- one who also happens to be recommended on your site- and he is scheduled for his surgery with her this Monday, January 6. A concern I have, though, is that she told me to be sure he fasts for 12 hours before bringing him in bc of the anesthesia. I understand fasting, but am worried that's too long for a guinea pig. I'm an absolute bundle of anxiety over this whole situation even though the doctor treats exotic animals and has guinea pigs herself. I was wondering if this sounds right to you all. I don't have many options though if I want to get him in as quickly as I can. Any thoughts? I'm so nervous! 😬😭❤️

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Lynx
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Post   » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:46 pm


Generally it sounds wrong. He needs to have food moving through his system. Perhaps only offer hay and water? This page has more info.
http://www.guinealynx.info/surgery.html

MarlowePieper11

Post   » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:48 pm


Ya I saw that page and that's what made me worry even more!

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daisymay
Supporter 2016-2020

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:17 am


Our pigs have many sedation/surgeries-dental, removal of tumours, ultrasounds to name some and our vets are clueless when it comes to guinea pigs. But even they said to us guinea pigs(rabbits too) can be fed right up to surgery time.

Guinea pigs can't throw up like dogs and cats can. Because of this that is why the vet asks owners not to feed their dog or cat in case throw up and drown on vomit.

So with all our girls we have always fed them before surgery. Especially Jessie who had to have a tooth removed, she was under for nearly 90 minutes. She was fed right up too and afterwards when fully awake. So I would feed your piggy as Lynx says piggies need food in their tummies to keep it moving along!

Hope all goes well in the surgery! In fact we syringe fed our girls 5 minutes before surgery(dental). Maybe feed your girl 60 minutes before surgery. Keep us posted!

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:05 am


I'd stop feeding a couple of hours before surgery, but definitely not 12 hours. But I have to wonder how much this vet knows about guinea pig if he's recommending a 12 hour fast. Has he done surgery on a guinea pig before?

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:32 am


I agree that it's a little concerning that your vet would recommend a 12-hour fast, and it's something I would try to discuss with him today if at all possible, since the surgery is on Monday. As pointed out, guinea pigs can't vomit and they need to have food moving through the gut to avoid stasis.

That said, I think it's important to note that there is a difference between "vomiting" and "regurgitation." Vomiting is the emptying of stomach contents. Generally speaking, rabbits and guinea pigs are unable to vomit. Where the esophagus and the stomach join is an area called the cardia that contains a valve called the cardiac sphincter. In rabbits and guinea pigs, this valve is described in veterinary literature as being "well developed" in comparison to that of other animals, and prevents food in the stomach from being vomited.

Regurgitation, on the other hand, is the emptying of food from the mouth or esophagus. Because guinea pigs tend to have a lot of food matter in their mouths at any given time, it *is* possible for a guinea pig to regurgitate that food matter while under anesthesia and then aspirate on it. It actually happened to one of mine last year (he had been fed Critical Care roughly an hour prior to surgery). While not common, I think it's important for owners to know that the potential is there for this to happen.

Again, though, I'd try to speak with your vet or the anesthesiologist today to better understand why the 12-hour recommendation was made. In my view, 1-3 hours should be sufficient.

MarlowePieper11

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:08 am


Thank you all so much. I've been nearly unable to sleep worrying about this, and yes a 12 hr fast makes rethink everything. I'm going to call around for second opinions today when places open. I had a better gut feeling about a vet closer but they couldn't get him in until Thursday. Maybe the longer wait is worth it depending on their protocol on fasting. And yes, about the food in their mouths, I read somewhere that usually they'd rinse their mouths out to help prevent regurgitation. My stomach is in a knot! I wish someone near me could just say, THIS doctor does that surgery all the time and is competent so book him there. This is mentally and emotionally exhausting and I feel I'll nearly have a heart attack bf this surgery happens. I live in Central CT if anyone has recommendations.

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daisymay
Supporter 2016-2020

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:07 am


Maybe this will help? http://www.guinealynx.info/vetlist.html Hoping all goes well!

MarlowePieper11

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:37 am


I have a call into the vet where his surgery is scheduled to give me more info on why she says to fast for 12 hours before.
I called 2 other vets this am who both said they don't ask for any fasting except the morning of. I'm trying to get him into one of those doctors on Tuesday bc they also told me that vet has 3 bladder Stone removals scheduled this week! I love that she does them so frequently and sounds very equipped! HOPING they'll squeeze him in this week.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:46 am


Sounds good. Fingers crossed for you both.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:16 am


The general rule in Belgium is 2 hours before surgery for guinea pigs.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:10 pm


Sef, that is a very interesting explanation! I went looking for info and found this, published online 2013 Apr 10:

Why Can’t Rodents Vomit? A Comparative Behavioral, Anatomical, and Physiological Study
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3622671/

It reviews the anatomical reasons for it. Also ran across the statement:
"Guinea pigs digest fibers more efficiently than rabbits and tend to eat more slowly" in another book (Clinical Veterinary Advisor: Birds and Exotic Pets, 2013, I believe).

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:17 pm


Also interesting! I'll have to read that, thanks.

In the meantime, several references to what I had posted earlier:
"The rabbit has a well-developed cardiac sphincter, which is arranged in such a way that the rabbit cannot vomit."
(Exotic Animal Medicine & Husbandry, by Karen Rosenthal, Neil Forbes, Fredric Frye, et al; CRC Press, Mar 28, 2008)

"Rabbits cannot vomit [due to a] a well-developed cardiac sphincter."
(Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, by Katherine Quesenberry, et al; Elsevier Health Sciences, May 12, 2011)

"[The rabbit] has a well-developed cardiac sphincter that prevents vomiting, and a muscular pyloric area, although in general the muscular layer of the stomach is weaker than in other species."
(Textbook of Rabbit Medicine, by Molly Varga; Elsevier Health Sciences, Aug 19, 2013)

I think I originally read about it in the Quesenberry book.

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Lynx
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Post   » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:12 pm


I have one of the Quesenberry books but likely only read the guinea pig parts (not to mention, my memory is not as good as yours).

It is nice to find evidence for our statements.

MarlowePieper11

Post   » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:19 am


Update, I called many hospitals in the surrounding area yesterday and decided to cancel my guinea pigs original appointment with the 12-hour fasting doctor after speaking with her a second time. I asked that talk to her to verify that she had told me to fast him for 12 hours and she said rabbits you don't need to fast but guinea pigs you do, and that she had been working with guinea pigs for over 20 years. she didn't give any other explanation as to why he should fast for that long and I didn't ask because I just felt very uncomfortable with the whole situation. I booked his surgery for this Thursday with another doctor who is actually closer. I didn't book her originally because Thursday is further out than I'd hoped to get him in but I would rather be comfortable with a doctor than get him in sooner. He is still eating and drinking and loves his floor time, zipping around the room. I'm still super nervous about the surgery, and hoping that after the surgery we can do our very best to make sure it that the bladder stones won't return. I ordered the KMS pellets and they should be here soon. Thank you for that recommendation. I was giving him oxbow. Also I give him orchardgrass, as opposed to Timothy Hay because of allergy reasons in our house. I don't think there should be a huge difference between the two Hays but any opinions would be welcome. Anyways, the doctor were going to on Thursday told us to take away his food the morning of the surgery which seems reasonable. I'll take his food away at 7 and he'll arrive at the vets around 8:45. Hoping for good news on Thursday and a speedy recovery for our little guy. Also hoping it's in our favor that he is very healthy otherwise and is Young.

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daisymay
Supporter 2016-2020

Post   » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:45 am


Hope all goes well! Paws crossed here! Keep us posted!

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:05 am


...she said rabbits you don't need to fast but guinea pigs you do
That just doesn't make much sense to me. She may be experienced with guinea pigs, but her 12-hour fasting recommendation for guinea pigs only with no further explanation would make me very uncomfortable. I'm glad to hear that you were able to get him in to see the other vet.

Between now and then, do monitor closely to make sure that he continues to poop, pee and eat normally. If he suddenly seems lethargic and won't eat and/or is straining to poop or pee, contact the vet ASAP.

Sending all very good thoughts to you both for an uneventful surgery and recovery!

ETA: Good post-op care information can be found here:
http://www.guinealynx.info/postop.html

Also, information on bladder stones:
http://www.guinealynx.info/stones.html

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Lynx
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Post   » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:26 am


When I saw "...she said rabbits you don't need to fast but guinea pigs you do", it said to me she lost a guinea pig to theoretical vomiting. I think your description of vomiting (from stomach - guinea pigs don't) and possible regurgitation of food in the esophagus (I am recalling the pocket in the throat Pinta referred to) may be the issue. I think of offering hay as something that will move better through the esophagus and pellets (which might turn into a paste after chewing) being more likely to end up in this pocket for some guinea pigs. But I am just guessing.

An hour or two still seems more reasonable.

MarlowePieper11

Post   » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:17 am


Agreed that an hour or two seems more reasonable. And I have been certainly monitoring him closely. He is as big an eater as ever, drinking regularly, and in fact popcorning around the cage after we had our cuddles tonight on the couch. Whenever I see him peeing I go in with a piece of paper towel to make sure that there's actually pee there, as he is on a navy blue fleece and sometimes it's hard to tell. I am certainly counting down the days to Thursday! Thank you again so much for the encouragement and suggestions! When I first posted this thread and got practically an immediate response my husband nearly fell off his chair! He couldn't believe this little guinea pig community existed and was very impressed!

MarlowePieper11

Post   » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:20 am


And Lynx, that is a very interesting observation. The 12 hours just made me so nervous- I imagined waking up to him keeled over! That was too stressful a scenario for me to act out.

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