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3 vet visits and possible UTI that won’t go away

Erikac

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Back in May there was blood in my guinea pigs urine and he was crying and straining when passing stool, so I obviously took him to the vet. She took an X-ray and confirmed there was no stone and gave him Trimethoprim Sulfa .3mL twice a day for two weeks because she said it was probably a UTI. He was better for about a month, then he started crying and straining again and I saw spots of blood in his cage so I Took him back in June: she took an X-ray again confirmed there was no stone again and she gave him Meloxicam .38 mL this time once a day for 14 days because she had already given him an antibiotic and thought it might be cystitis. Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory. He was still crying and straining every other day though and after a week I saw spots of blood in his cage for 4 days straight, so I immediately took him back (this was three weeks ago) This time she did a procedure on him in order to send his urine to a lab for testing. She told me as soon as my guinea pig was “out” because of the anesthesia he peed a little on the table before the procedure, but that she was still able to get a little urine for the test which she hoped would be enough. She sent me home with Baytril .35mL twice a day for two weeks, a stronger antibiotic then the first one. She called me after a week and said the Urine sample came back negative and that since he was responding well to Baytril (as in he stopped bleeding and crying and straining as much) to give it to him for an additional week. Well 4 days after she called he started crying and straining every other day again, although in those 3 weeks I only saw blood in his cage four days. I didn’t call her because I thought maybe I should give Baytril till the end of the three weeks to work. He finished the antibiotic treatment yesterday though and today I heard him straining when he passes stool. It’s weird, he doesn’t do it every time, but I wished I didn’t hear it at all. It Breaks my heart and I don’t know what else to do. I feel like I’ve done everything I can. I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning but he had surgery back in February for a bladder stone. Have you ever had this happen with any guinea pig? Should I change vets? I feel bad for the little guy. Thanks and sorry this message is so long.
 

PigglePuggle

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It sounds like your vet has done all the right things here, sometimes piggies can suffer from recurring cystitis that isn't caused by an infection and therefore can't be cured completely, just managed with meloxicam to ease the pain and inflammation, and by feeding a wet low calcium diet to keep the bladder flushing through well, and some people find that a glucosamine dietary supplement like Cystease can help ease the symptoms. If there are no bladder stones and the urine culture is negative for bacteria, this is probably what you are dealing with, a non-bacterial cystitis.
Mention this possibility to the vet, and chat about managing the cystitis symptoms with diet and a glucosamine supplement and meloxicam.
Many of our members have piggies who suffer from this condition, @Wiebke and @furryfriends (TEAS) can give some expert advice on bladder health, and I think @Eriathwen @alpacasqueak and @SkyPipDotBernie have piggies with this sort of bladder issue?
Hopefully someone will link in some threads where you can read about their experiences...
 

Erikac

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Thank you so much for your quick response and the information. It makes me feel a lot better knowing that this is a common thing. I’ll be taking my baby Wilbur back to the vet soon. I’ll let you know what she says.
 

Wiebke

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Back in May there was blood in my guinea pigs urine and he was crying and straining when passing stool, so I obviously took him to the vet. She took an X-ray and confirmed there was no stone and gave him Trimethoprim Sulfa .3mL twice a day for two weeks because she said it was probably a UTI. He was better for about a month, then he started crying and straining again and I saw spots of blood in his cage so I Took him back in June: she took an X-ray again confirmed there was no stone again and she gave him Meloxicam .38 mL this time once a day for 14 days because she had already given him an antibiotic and thought it might be cystitis. Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory. He was still crying and straining every other day though and after a week I saw spots of blood in his cage for 4 days straight, so I immediately took him back (this was three weeks ago) This time she did a procedure on him in order to send his urine to a lab for testing. She told me as soon as my guinea pig was “out” because of the anesthesia he peed a little on the table before the procedure, but that she was still able to get a little urine for the test which she hoped would be enough. She sent me home with Baytril .35mL twice a day for two weeks, a stronger antibiotic then the first one. She called me after a week and said the Urine sample came back negative and that since he was responding well to Baytril (as in he stopped bleeding and crying and straining as much) to give it to him for an additional week. Well 4 days after she called he started crying and straining every other day again, although in those 3 weeks I only saw blood in his cage four days. I didn’t call her because I thought maybe I should give Baytril till the end of the three weeks to work. He finished the antibiotic treatment yesterday though and today I heard him straining when he passes stool. It’s weird, he doesn’t do it every time, but I wished I didn’t hear it at all. It Breaks my heart and I don’t know what else to do. I feel like I’ve done everything I can. I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning but he had surgery back in February for a bladder stone. Have you ever had this happen with any guinea pig? Should I change vets? I feel bad for the little guy. Thanks and sorry this message is so long.
Hi and welcoem!

There are several different varieties of infection in the urinary tract; unfortunately general vets are usually only aware of UTI, which is bacterial urine infection caused by faecal bacteria getting into the urinary tract and often triggered by a temporary lowering of the immune system like sitting on a cold damp lawn.

But there are also two types of bladder infection. One is a bacterial one that responds to antibiotics; it is more common in the wake of a bladder stone or slush banging into the increasingly irritated and damaged bladder walls whenever a guinea pigs urinates.

The other one - and the one you are most likely dealing with - is a non-bacterial recurring bladder infection (i.e. a sterile institial cystitis or IC) which has become much more common over the last decade and is in fact now the most common infection in well kept indoors piggies. I will either not respond at all to anttibiotics or return after it has worn off. Unfortunately sterile IC is hardly know outside vet circles that see lots of guinea pigs.

Sterile IC cannot be cured, only managed. Key is plenty of glucosamine in order to support the affected natural glucosamine coating of the walls of the urinary tract, which prevents the corrosive urine coming into contact with raw tissue. Metacam (which like any analgesic is an anti-inflammatory as well as a painkiller) is the other medication you use to especially manage the regular flare ups. Dog metacam is better as you get it in larger amounts than cat metacam as you have to dose it pretty high at first until you get the IC under control (which will take a while) and then during flares every few week but hopefully with lengthening intervals as time goes on.

Between the two, you usually can manage to keep an IC piggy comfortable for most of the time. Very recent research has shown
that in very bad cases dog cartrofen injections (which is a strong glucosamine based arthritis medication) can help but this is so new
that so far it is not yet an established part of treatment in the UK or US - and it won't be cheap.
Much cheaper but not quite as effective (although it does work perfectly well in milder cases) are glucosamine based cat bladder supplements. Capsules are preferred as you can just mix the contents of one capsule with 2 ml of water and syringe that either once or (half the amount) twice a day. But in a pinch, human glucosamine tablets from the supermarket will do. You are looking at about 150 mg pf glucosamine per day, so you will have to mix a crushed tablet with multiple of portions you get out of it when it comes to mixing with water. Always wait until the powder is dissolved, shake vigorously before use and keep in the fridge. Because the powder base is animal based, vegan/vegetarian tablets are recommended but they are no always available. Glucosamine is classed as a food supplement and not as a medication, so you will have to get on your own but you may want to discuss it with your vet.
The good news about sterile IC is that it can eventually go away on its own, never to return and that it doesn't cause any bladder stones. However, you are looking at years rather than weeks or months.

You can find our diet recommendations for guinea pigs with urinary tract problems (including sterile IC) in this link here: Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
More information on sterile IC: Links - Interstitial Cystitis - Guinea Lynx Records

If it is any consolation to you, I currently have got another IC piggy again. Breila came with it when I adopted her; I was aware that she may end up with a sterile IC diagnosis when I adopted her - but at least she is with somebody who has the necessary experience. She's coming up to two years with having symptoms in autumn but is most times sympom-free when on daily glucosamine.
My Nerys had IC for three years in the early days before much was known but could be stabilised on the glucosamine after hald a year of nonstop infection and no repeated antitibiotics. She then lived another three years free of any urinary tract problems and died of age related issues at the ripe old age of 8 years. she is the large and very fondly remembered teddy in my avatar picture on the left. I hope that that gives you comfort. While sterile IC is not pleasant at all, it is in the vast majority not a life-threatening or life-shortening problem. it seems to affect mostly guinea pigs with a very nervous disposition - the same as sterile cystitis in cats, which is a comparable problem that your vet may be aware of; treatment is very similar. Please discuss this with your vet.

All the best!
 
D

DMS260820

It sounds like your vet has done all the right things here, sometimes piggies can suffer from recurring cystitis that isn't caused by an infection and therefore can't be cured completely, just managed with meloxicam to ease the pain and inflammation, and by feeding a wet low calcium diet to keep the bladder flushing through well, and some people find that a glucosamine dietary supplement like Cystease can help ease the symptoms. If there are no bladder stones and the urine culture is negative for bacteria, this is probably what you are dealing with, a non-bacterial cystitis.
Mention this possibility to the vet, and chat about managing the cystitis symptoms with diet and a glucosamine supplement and meloxicam.
Many of our members have piggies who suffer from this condition, @Wiebke and @furryfriends (TEAS) can give some expert advice on bladder health, and I think @Eriathwen @alpacasqueak and @SkyPipDotBernie have piggies with this sort of bladder issue?
Hopefully someone will link in some threads where you can read about their experiences...
Thanks for the tag. I don't actually know anymore if Dot does have cystitis, but what I do do, is give plenty of wet veg like you said. I dice cucumber up and make the pigs search for it in the cage instead of just placing a chunk next to them. Our vet said movement and a wet diet is great for good bladder health.

Dot is a very cautious pig, so doesn't surprise me if she has some stress related bladder problems.
 

Claire W

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I’ve had to guinea pigs now who’s had IC. They would squeak whilst urinating and would often pass blood.

It was managed through giving a daily dose of metacam and a cystease tablet mixed with 1ml of water daily.

The first piggy, Emma who had it eventually got rid of it after 3 years but Ellen sadly had it for the 5 years of her life
 

Eriathwen

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I can only agree with Wiebke, my bladder piggies get glucosamine twice a day, one gets metacam daily anyway as he is palliative, but it does help, and the other gets it as and when needed during flare ups. I feed a pretty wet diet with no commercial piggy pellets and that seems to have really helped and keep in fairly reasonable sized herds to minimise stress as much as possible.
 

Erikac

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I’m not really a social media person, but I still can’t believe I was ever contemplating joining this forum. You guys are the best ❤ Nerys picture is adorable. I will keep you guys posted. Stay safe 😊
 

Erikac

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I’ve had to guinea pigs now who’s had IC. They would squeak whilst urinating and would often pass blood.

It was managed through giving a daily dose of metacam and a cystease tablet mixed with 1ml of water daily.

The first piggy, Emma who had it eventually got rid of it after 3 years but Ellen sadly had it for the 5 years of her life
I’m sorry to hear that about Ellen ☹ Thanks for the information. Stay safe ❤
 

Erikac

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I can only agree with Wiebke, my bladder piggies get glucosamine twice a day, one gets metacam daily anyway as he is palliative, but it does help, and the other gets it as and when needed during flare ups. I feed a pretty wet diet with no commercial piggy pellets and that seems to have really helped and keep in fairly reasonable sized herds to minimise stress as much as possible.
Thanks 😊
 

Erikac

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Thanks for the tag. I don't actually know anymore if Dot does have cystitis, but what I do do, is give plenty of wet veg like you said. I dice cucumber up and make the pigs search for it in the cage instead of just placing a chunk next to them. Our vet said movement and a wet diet is great for good bladder health.

Dot is a very cautious pig, so doesn't surprise me if she has some stress related bladder problems.
Thank you 😊
 
D

DMS260820

Forgot to mention, grass.. Plenty of freshly picked grass is great for bladders, tooth wear, vit c. Build grass amounts up from little to lots over time to avoid upset tummies
 

Wiebke

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I’m not really a social media person, but I still can’t believe I was ever contemplating joining this forum. You guys are the best ❤ Nerys picture is adorable. I will keep you guys posted. Stay safe 😊
It is our express forum ethos to be a friendly place (you can meet our lively community in the Chat sections) and to put the poster's needs and interests in the centre of our ongoing personalised support for as long as it takes. For this reason, it would be great if you kept this thread for any further questions and updates for as long as it takes so all information is kept together and we can refer back, seeing that we jump between lots of threads in a day and not everyone of us is ever able to see and read everything; we are too busy a forum for that! You can set your own alert notifications at the start of each thread or section you want to keep a closer eye on.
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We also have one of the most comprehensive information resources, which you can best access by clicking on the guides shortcut on the top bar; you can find information in a hurry especially if you live in a different time zone. Or learn more... there is some rather interesting stuff in there, too! The guide format allows us to update constantly whenever we find some free time. We are aiming to not gloss over the tricky details but be as practical and precise as possible. Our access to welfare is a practical one - everybody is encouraged to do the best they can within their personal and financial limitations by looking for feasible individual solutions without invoking the Angel with the Sword. After all, everybody can make improvements in a pet's life but welfare should never become the sole preserve of the few who can afford to keep pets to highest possible current standard.

PS: Thank you! Nerys (2008-16) has been one of most memorable cavy characters in my life and is much missed!
 

Guinea Slave

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I have had several with this problem and both cystease, dog metacam and giving plenty of liquids twice a day really helped. My vet tried cartrophen on my last girl who would get terrible attacks despite this and pass loads of blood and it worked amazingly well. After three injections a week apart she never got symptoms again. we sadly lost her a month ago to unrelated issues but for 14 months she never had cystitis again. I continued with the cystease though as well. Fortunately in the other cases I have just used the cystease and metacam (Dog).

good luck, it’s a difficult issue but as others have said, it can be successfully managed.
 

alpacasqueak

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My past boar Rupert suffered with bladder stones and recurring UTIs. I can’t really add much to what’s already been said, we did the same as others above really, he was on daily cystease (and dog metacam during flare-ups) and he also had a wet diet. He had a very small amount of grainless pellets too (we tried to cut them out completely but he was an older piggy and lost lots of weight when he stopped them) and was on low-calcium veg.

All the best with Wilbur @Erikac :)
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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In about 25 years of keeping guinea pigs, I've never had a piggy with a bladder issue. However, I feed somewhat differently to a lot of people and my vet feels this is the reason why, as I feed such a wet diet. Check out this thread that is all about how I feed the piggies at TEAS.

Feeding the guinea pigs at TEAS
 

Erikac

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Hi everyone, just wanted to give you an update on Wilbur. I took him to the vet 2 weeks ago. She did another urinalysis that also came back negative. She prescribed Meloxicam again. Like before 1.5mg/ml and his dose is .38ml once a day. I mentioned the glucosamine. She apparently hadn’t heard of that as a possible treatment. She checked it out and gave me a bag of Oxbow Joint Support Supplements that contain 90mg of glucosamine. One tablet a day. I haven't seen a difference in him in these last two weeks though. Do you think two weeks is too soon to see a difference? Do you think 90mg of glucosamine a day is not enough? Do you think the Meloxicam isn’t strong enough or his dose is too small? What exactly is the glucosamine suppose to do? Will he always have symptoms like crying and straining when he passes urine and stool; and blood in his urine regardless of the Meloxicam and glucosamine? I forgot to mention his symptoms are intermittent.

Thanks again ❤
 

Gem789

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Hi everyone, just wanted to give you an update on Wilbur. I took him to the vet 2 weeks ago. She did another urinalysis that also came back negative. She prescribed Meloxicam again. Like before 1.5mg/ml and his dose is .38ml once a day. I mentioned the glucosamine. She apparently hadn’t heard of that as a possible treatment. She checked it out and gave me a bag of Oxbow Joint Support Supplements that contain 90mg of glucosamine. One tablet a day. I haven't seen a difference in him in these last two weeks though. Do you think two weeks is too soon to see a difference? Do you think 90mg of glucosamine a day is not enough? Do you think the Meloxicam isn’t strong enough or his dose is too small? What exactly is the glucosamine suppose to do? Will he always have symptoms like crying and straining when he passes urine and stool; and blood in his urine regardless of the Meloxicam and glucosamine? I forgot to mention his symptoms are intermittent.

Thanks again ❤
Hi, my Piggie poppy has been crying while peeing for a few months now. She had an xray and no stones were present, the vet prescribed marcobyl antibiotic tablets just in case although he didn't think she had an infection as she has never passed blood. The antibiotics had no affect so I started her on 1 capsule of cystease a day. I've also started giving a capsule of vegan glucosamine once a day. It does seem to help, she'll have good days when she doesn't squeak then days where she's squeaking a lot. The metacam definitely helps with the pain too if it's the right dose. Glucosamine helps to coat the bladder walls which can sometimes be inflamed.
 
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