Chronic Bloating

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Post   » Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:29 pm

I have a female pig, nearly 6 years old, with a chronic bloating problem.

This all started back in January, when another pig was very ill, and I started cutting some grass from the garden for all the pigs, to encourage the ill one to eat. A couple of days later, Milly waddled out in the morning, all bloated. She tucked into her breakfast normally, and was passing normal poops.

She was backwards and forwards to the vet over the next couple of weeks, taking metaclopramide which softened her sides a bit, but the vet was confused as she was still fairly bright in herself, and still eating and pooping normally. In the end, she admitted that Milly needed an exotic specialist, and found and referred Milly to an exotic vet not to far away.

This new vet diagnosed ovarian cysts. Milly had huge ovarian cysts, and his theory was that the cysts were causing pressure on her respiratory area, causing her to gulp air. Milly was spayed the next day, and apart from some initial bloating controlled by metaclopramide, she recovered well.

A couple of weeks ago, the weather was warm, and the grass dry, so the pigs went out in the run in the garden for a bit. Now Milly has suffered from cystitis on and off all through the summer months for the last two or three years. Sure enough, there were spots of red in the cage the next day. I managed to treat this with barley water as usual, although it took longer to control than normal, but she also started to bloat up again. I used up my supply of metaclopramide on her, but she was still full of air. Again, she was eating and pooping normally.

Back to the exotic vet. He was puzzled, and asked if he could keep her in for a day or so to monitor her, and to research her problem. I wasn’t too keen on this, but agreed if it would help. I collected her two days later. She had been fed almost entirely on hay, and had lost a little weight, but half of the bloat had gone. He felt that there was some connection between the grass, cystitis, and the bloat, and he said that he had a vague recollection of reading a research paper on a connection between grass, a “fungal toxicity” and cystitis, but he had never heard of a case of bloat where the pig continued to eat pretty normally. He said he would report her case on an exotic vet’s forum to try and find a way of stopping the bloating. In the mean time, he suggests treating her with metaclopramide when she needs it.

Has anyone had experience of looking after a pig with symptoms like this? Are there any foods that may make her bloat worse that I should avoid?

(Sorry this is a long post, but I was trying to include any relevant info.)

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Post   » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:28 pm

Fresh spring grass can cause bloat if your pig is not used to it and eats too much. I would cut back and focus on lots of high quality hay.

You want to avoid starchy items and pellets. Use good quality pellets if you use any.

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Post   » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:45 pm

Thanks, Lynx. The pigs only go in the run for 30 mins max at the begining of the summer, and I have started only putting them out alternate days for the time being.

I am just switching them over to pellets from a standard GP mix. There is a shortage of good pellets in the UK, but I took advice from a previous link about best type available, and I'm trying Pets at Home Guinea Pig Nuggets. According to the packet, the have the same contents and analysis as Supa Guinea Excel.

Although the vets hay-only diet reduced some of her bloat, she also lost 25grams weight in the 2 days he had her, so I'm trying to make sure she doesn't lose any more weight.

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Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:04 am

It's normal for them to lose weight the first few days when switching to a pellet free diet.


Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:34 am

Sweetepea is like this. I have been battling her bloat problem for 17 months. I can surely sympathize.

Sweetpea had bloated severely. I had to put her back down to run call the vet. I walked back in to get her to rush her down there and there she stood still eating her hay right beside Dartygirl! She pooped on me all the way to the vet.

She had bloated so severely it turned her stomache inside of itself. It was a nightmare.I was in shock and hysterical. I kept flashing back to her all hugely bloated up and hopping into the hay pan and eating like it was no big deal! I couldn't grasp how inthe world she could possibly eat at all in her condition.

The vet didn't give me much hope but was willing to do this procedure where she had to be put under to completly relax her and put a tube down her throat and get all the air out of her. She said it was 50-50 if this would allow her stomache to return to normal position and 50-50 if she would survive afterwards.. If it didn't, she only has a 5% chance of surviving the surgery to correct it. I was very blessed that it did work.

If she ever gets to much air in her it will crush her bloodflow to her organs or turn her stomache inside of itself again and of course if not discovered immediatley and the emergency air removal done whatever has the most pressure wil necrotize and then there will be no hope left. I am assuming the same for your baby.

Unfortunately withing 24 hours she began to build air again and it has been a battle ever since to keep it off of her.

What I can tell you is that you absolutely MUST keep her moving. She needs a LOT of floor time. If she just sits down somewhere when you have her out you have to find something to motivate her.

I chose a baby for Sweetpea and truly beleive that Snowangel is why I still have my beloved Sweetpea. They are very interactive in and out of the pen.Snowangel MAKES Sweetpea come out of the bed and play with her! Sweetpeas mothering instinct is stronger than her desire to lay in bed.

Simethicone daily is essential and a dose cannot be missed under any circumstances. You will have to work with her to figure out how many doses a day work for her, you must be diligent.

If you do not own a massager you need to go get one immediately. Whenever you see her beginning to get air on her get her on the massager for at least 20 minutes. If she is afraid of it work with her daily to lose her fear BEFORE she needs to sit on it for that long. Say five minutes at a time then slowly increase it till she will allow for the longer periods of time.

Keep mineral oil on hand at all times. If you ever see her poops become smaller or light in color quick give her .3 mls of the oil get her on the massager and start pushing fluids into her. After the massager session get her playing on the floor to encourage even more "tooting" and pooping.You may have to give several doses of mineral oil in a 24 hour period if she becomes contipated.

I have come to realize that if Sweetpea gets an air bubble that is to large it makes it harder for her to pass it, then it causes constipation in her and her poos begin to dry inside her only creating more trouble and gas. You MUST get those poos out of her before they cause a blockage or toxicity. The longer the food sits in their intestines the more dry they become because the intestines continue to draw water out them. This can also cause toxicity to get in ehr bloodstream because the food is "rotting" inside her and the intestines of course are going to continue to draw whatever is in there into the blood stream.

I have been very lucky in that Sweetpea seems to realize she NEEDS large amounts of water and drinks very very well for me. She also seems to know she needs a lot more hay than anyone else and I must keep literal MOUNTAINS of hay in with her at all times. If your baby does not recognizethis for herself you will need to syringethe extra fluids she needs into her every day and find ways to encourage more hay consumption.

NEVER let her have grass again. Never let her have any gassy veggies. You will need to keep a book that you record her progress with to help you be sure what does and doesn't cause more gas to build and immediately stop anything that does and use the massager fluids and extra exercise to get it off of her ASAP.
There are a lot of things Sweetpea cannot eat or we have extra problems. If it causes a problem once it will every time. Do not keep pointing the same gun at her head so to speak.

I know it sounds like a lot to keep her with you but once you find what works for her it really isn't that much and it is so well worth seeing their sweet happy faces peeking at you every day.

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Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:02 pm

We have a pig who is gassy on and off. She gets simethicone when she needs it. We have also been more succesful with Cisapride/Propulsid than we were with the Metaclopromide/Reglan.

We're still having trouble finding out exactly what is causing her problems. Good luck, I hope maybe cutting out the grass will help Milly.

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:44 pm

My pig Sparky who is nearly 7, had gut/gas problems a while back. I found simethicone (baby's Infacol) to be helpful along with gentle tummy rubs, and she was never given metaclopramide and her appetite was never affected.

Fresh grass certainly affects Sparky with gas and sticky poop, regardless of time of year. I did wonder if other things such as cats in the garden also had anything to do with it. Sparky hasn't had bad gas problems for a while now, although sticky poop is becoming more of an issue and grass is not really on the menu any more.

Check over Milly's diet to make sure the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio is good as you may have to teak out some of the veg quantities if they are affecting the cystitis. There are links here

I've also used Cymalon Cranberry Liquid for cystitis in my other pig, and it seems to help as she's intolerant of antibiotics. They both love barley water too which also helps in getting additional fluids in.

As pigs age, I've found with Sparky that there are some veggies that even though she loves, she just cannot have any more due to it giving her bad gas attacks. The ones with most effect are broccoli, cauliflower leaves and kale over too many days.

ETA: Sparky lost weight every time she got gassy, possibly due to thinking she's full. After the gas left, her weight went up quickly again as her appetite grew.

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Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:58 pm

Thanks very much for all your suggestions. I feel quite mean at the moment, as Milly starts wheeking at me in the afternoons, to go out on the grass, but I'm not risking it until her present bloat has gone down.

Maremma, it was great to read the history of your Sweetpea, and to know how you help her. I'm just glad that Milly doesn't seem to have bloated quite as badly. Milly unfortunately has had cataracts in both eyes for over 3 years, and is almost blind, so she doesn't move during floor time, even with the other pigs with her. We do spread the food and hay around their cage, including the platforms, so this helps her move around more in search of her food.

I have been sitting her on a massage cushion, and this does seem to get her insides moving.

I haven't used simethicone since her first lot of bloating, but I will try starting that up again each day, and I'll keep an eye on her water consumption. She is slightly diabetic, so she normally drinks a reasonable amount, but I hadn't thought to watch that.

Capybara, I will talk to my vet about trying Cisapride/Propulsid as an alternative to Metacloprimde.

Webs, thanks for the food suggestions. I'm thinking of cutting out one or two types of veg at a time for a week or so, to see if it reduces her bloat. I have checked the Calcium to Prosphoros ratio on her current diet, so I will refer to the charts as I try adjusting her diet. I find 100% pure cranberry juice is also good for her cystitis, although I do dilute down with water slightly.

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:09 pm

Do you have the Uristix to check for glucose in the urine? (you can get them in Boots) Not sure if the cranberry juice would affect things if she is diabetic.

To stop my pigs gorging themselves on any grass, rather than put them outside, I picked it and sprinkled it over a pile of hay so they have to forage more and end up eating some of the hay too.

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Post   » Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:33 am

I never thought to check her glucose levels. It was over 3 years ago when she developed cataracts rapidly that the vet tested her, and said she was slightly diabetic. It's never been a problem, but I will try and get some Uristix today. I had a quick check on the internet for cranberry juice, and it seems that it is OK for diabetics, and may actually help reduce glucose levels (in people anyway).

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:47 pm

Mine are called Clinistix as I have a pig that has in the past given hi glucose readings in the urine although not fully diagnosed as diabetic, no cataracts etc. So far, tweaking the diet has held it in control.

Interesting on the cranberry juice, I stopped giving it to Chilli in case it was contributing to the hi glucose levels.

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:50 pm

Mine are called Clinistix as I have a pig that has in the past given hi glucose readings in the urine although not fully diagnosed as diabetic, no cataracts etc. So far, tweaking the diet has held it in control.

Interesting on the cranberry juice, I stopped giving it to Chilli in case it was contributing to the hi glucose levels.

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