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Any one with experience of surgery for intestinal blockage?

GRLou

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I went to clean our Eddie’s cage this morning and there were no poos at all, which is of course not normal for a piggie. We’ve taken him to the vet who said they don’t know much about guinea pigs but they did X-rays and can see there is a mass, possibly lot of faeces backed up. They have referred me to a specialist exotic vet and I am taking him to an appointment in a couple of hours.
Does anyone have experience with this? The vet wasn’t very clear (I don’t think he even knows) and said they might have to do surgery. Does anyone have an average cost of what this surgery would be, I can’t find anything online?
Also, the specialist vets have said they wouldn’t be able to operate on him tonight anyway as the vet won’t be there. So I am worried he may deteriorate before they are able to fix it 😩
 

VickiA

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I’m afraid I have no experience of surgery for intestinal blockage. I think I’d keep an open mind as to what the exotics vet says shortly on review. Best of luck at the review. Will be thinking of you and Eddie
 

GRLou

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Thank you 💜
I’m afraid I have no experience of surgery for intestinal blockage. I think I’d keep an open mind as to what the exotics vet says shortly on review. Best of luck at the review. Will be thinking of you and Eddie
 

Swissgreys

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Well done for having your boy seen so quickly, and it is good you are going to see a specialist.
If the first vet openly admits that they don't really know what is going on I would try not to panic until you have a proper diagnosis.
I have had several cases over the years of my small pets being initially given a grim prognosis, only to find out form a specialist that the condition is not as bad as it seemed.

Hopefully that will be the case for your boy.
Please keep us updated as no matter what the outcome we are all here to support you.
 

Wiebke

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I went to clean our Eddie’s cage this morning and there were no poos at all, which is of course not normal for a piggie. We’ve taken him to the vet who said they don’t know much about guinea pigs but they did X-rays and can see there is a mass, possibly lot of faeces backed up. They have referred me to a specialist exotic vet and I am taking him to an appointment in a couple of hours.
Does anyone have experience with this? The vet wasn’t very clear (I don’t think he even knows) and said they might have to do surgery. Does anyone have an average cost of what this surgery would be, I can’t find anything online?
Also, the specialist vets have said they wouldn’t be able to operate on him tonight anyway as the vet won’t be there. So I am worried he may deteriorate before they are able to fix it 😩
Hi!

Any gut operations are rather make or break operations and are generally avoided if at all possible because guinea pig guts are very thin compared to other pets'. It very much depends on what is causing the blockage/mass and whether it can be easily resolved or not.

Any operation would be in the hundreds of pounds; the referral clinic can give you a rough estimate before you commit and you can always have an honest chat with the vet about the pros/cons and the balance between risk/benefits before you sign the form or decide to rather not go ahead once Eddie has had another close look. There is a chance that he may not make it; however as long as he is not salivating (i.e. the constant flow of saliva is not able to pass through the gut anymore), the blockage is not yet complete.

Fingers VERY firmly crossed!


Good that you have had your boy seen asap. It is a race against time.
 

Wiebke

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PS: You have always the right to ask the treating/operating vet re. their honest opinion and a weighing up of any risk/cost/benefit balance. I certainly do it with any piggies of mine when the only options left are very expensive operations or treatments that may or may not necessarily work out. You are also always within your rights as a loving owner to take into consideration just how much hassle you want to put your piggy through.

Here is our post-op care guide: Tips For Post-operative Care

If you need more information, this guide here does discuss the various factors that are in play in this grey but very difficult to navigate area where there is no right or wrong as long as put Eddie's welfare before any fears of yours. There is no one rule fits all solution; you need to work this out every time afresh although the more often you have to do it, the better you usually know where and when you will draw the line or whether you'd rather bend it and give it a try. Each bond and each situation is unique. Monetary concerns are also legitimate factors; while basic vet care should be accessible for every pet, once you get into the really expensive fancy stuff that runs into the high hundreds or even over a thousand pounds or dollars, you do not have to feel guilty if it is beyond what you can afford. The guide may hopefully help you with making any very tricky decisions if it comes to that; I have written it with the aim to help owners find their own way through this usually not talked about area.
The guide may also help you in case Eddie suddenly deteriorates before your appointment tomorrow.
A Practical and Sensitive Guide to Dying, Terminal Illness and Euthanasia in Guinea Pigs
 

GRLou

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Thank you @Swissgreys and @Wiebke for your kinds words and information!
So the specialist found his bladder was very hard and full, and expressed it for him. She suspects a blockage somewhere but he has done a poo since being there 🥳
Our options were either keep him there, where he will have general anaesthetic and investigations such as bloods - this including our first vet visit would amount to nearly £1000 😳 and that’s just to diagnose.
The other option is take him home with pain meds and critical care, and see how he goes. We’ve gone with this option mainly for cost reasons which I feel guilty about 😩 she’s also given him some more fluids and an injection for gut motility, so fingers crossed this will sort him out, but she can’t be sure without knowing exactly what the problem is. So in for a worrying night 😩 thanks everyone for their kinds words and somewhere to talk about it all!
 

Wiebke

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Thank you @Swissgreys and @Wiebke for your kinds words and information!
So the specialist found his bladder was very hard and full, and expressed it for him. She suspects a blockage somewhere but he has done a poo since being there 🥳
Our options were either keep him there, where he will have general anaesthetic and investigations such as bloods - this including our first vet visit would amount to nearly £1000 😳 and that’s just to diagnose.
The other option is take him home with pain meds and critical care, and see how he goes. We’ve gone with this option mainly for cost reasons which I feel guilty about 😩 she’s also given him some more fluids and an injection for gut motility, so fingers crossed this will sort him out, but she can’t be sure without knowing exactly what the problem is. So in for a worrying night 😩 thanks everyone for their kinds words and somewhere to talk about it all!
BIG HUGS

Please don't feel guilty for knowing and accepting your limits. It doesn't make you a bad owner in any way.

It could be that the problem is located in the bladder (stone or packed with sludge?) and is radiating out into the gut. I hope that the metoclopramide injection (to help him empty the gut) will work and it is easier to then re-evaluate and see whether there is an underlying issue that can be treated or operated on in with good recovery chances.
 
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