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Bladder Issues!

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furryfriends (TEAS)

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I have never had a guinea pig with a bladder issue, and I am trying to work out what, if anything, I do differently to most people. You could just say I have been lucky, but I have had a large number of guinea pigs over the years and no problems. Just under two years ago I took in a guinea pig, who had previously had a lot of bladder problems, after her owner passed away. Since she came to live in my care she hasn't had any further problems.

With regard to diet, I feed a mainly grass and hay diet, with a small amount of nuggets and a small amount of veg. The vegetables I feed are anything and everything. Basically whatever is on special offer or in the reduced price section at Tesco. I was recently donated 99 bags of kale, so for just over a week the piggies had kale every single day.

My guinea pigs are housed in hutches, bedded on shavings with a thick layer of hay on top. Hay is topped up throughout the day. All the guinea pigs at TEAS spend some time outdoors, pretty much all year round. In the winter months they go out in the runs for about 20 minutes each day, weather permitting, and in the summer they can spend whole days out in the run.

So, am I just lucky or is it anything to do with the way I keep my guinea pigs?

Thoughts please?
 

Poppy'sMum

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Dear old Blighty UK
I've had 3 sets of piggies over about 14 years & mine have been kept differently over that time:

First pair; One Rex one smooth coat, the Rex piggy passed a small calcium stone through her urethra when she was about 3 ish. They were kept outside in a hutch, on woodchips & barley straw & fed on grass, hay & Gertie guinea pig food until I was told by the CCT that is contained colourants so I changed their dry food. They would get a large bowl daily. Any veg given, not followed a low calcium diet at all. Both passed away from unrelated illnesses.

Second pair, one Rex & one Aby, one passed a calcium stone with help, some manipulation at the CCT as the stone was visible at the opening to her urethra. These were both allowed on the grass, fed hay etc but after one pretty poor summer we kept them indoors from then on. Any veg was given. Wagg dry food given (Large bowl daily) & hay & they were kept on woodchips.

Our latest trio of piggies (2 Rex & 1 Aby) have been kept on newspaper & hay indoors for the first 6 months but after that they have been kept on fleece. They have a large C & C & are fed Burgess Blackcurrant pellets, a small amount of Wagg/Harringtons mixed in but they only get about a tablespoon each a day. They get filtered water, our water is very hard here & these are the first ones that we have done this for.They get unlimited Timothy hay & have low calcium veggies. Petal (Rex piggy) is our bladder piggy, she has had a lot of treatment for bladder sludge & UTIs. However we got her when she was about 16 months old, she had had 2 litters; she is the only piggy that we have had that has had babies. About 8 months after we got her she started getting UTIs, I know that she was fed Spring greens & carrots before coming to us. She ended up having a full hysterectomy last October after getting a womb infection which we think was linked to her bladder trouble. These 3 have not been out on the grass at all, because we back onto farmland & the farmer sprays his crops & the chemicals drift onto our lawn, this was something we only became aware of after the deaths of our second pair which we are still not sure but may have been connected to the spraying. Unfortunately we don't get any warning of when the farmer does this :( Petal has a low dose of Metacam daily & monthly Cartrophen injections. We are keeping her as pain free as possible & syringing her extra water. She is now 5, so at the moment she has had 3 years of vet treatment.

Hope this helps ! xx
 

JackJack1

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I have never had a guinea pig with a bladder issue, and I am trying to work out what, if anything, I do differently to most people. You could just say I have been lucky, but I have had a large number of guinea pigs over the years and no problems. Just under two years ago I took in a guinea pig, who had previously had a lot of bladder problems, after her owner passed away. Since she came to live in my care she hasn't had any further problems.

With regard to diet, I feed a mainly grass and hay diet, with a small amount of nuggets and a small amount of veg. The vegetables I feed are anything and everything. Basically whatever is on special offer or in the reduced price section at Tesco. I was recently donated 99 bags of kale, so for just over a week the piggies had kale every single day.

My guinea pigs are housed in hutches, bedded on shavings with a thick layer of hay on top. Hay is topped up throughout the day. All the guinea pigs at TEAS spend some time outdoors, pretty much all year round. In the winter months they go out in the runs for about 20 minutes each day, weather permitting, and in the summer they can spend whole days out in the run.

So, am I just lucky or is it anything to do with the way I keep my guinea pigs?

Thoughts please?
I have had many, many guinea pigs over a span of 50 years and I have only ever had one with bladder issues/stones, which is the one I have now. My oldest guinea pig was over 10 years old when she died and most have lived to be at least 7-8 years old, with no major health issues. However the last 3 guinea pigs I have had, all from Pets at Home have had issues. One had malocclusion, which I had never had before. One had an illness and lived to be 3 before dying and my last one, Joe had bladder issues and a stone. All my guinea pigs have been kept in the same way. I cannot believe it is diet that causes bladder issues/stones, but I believe it is the poor breeding. Looking at this forum, there are many, many guinea pigs with bladder issues now. However if it was diet causing this, then I would have had many more than one as they have all been kept in the same way. I think it is the breeding from poor stock for profit which seems to be causing all sorts of problems. Talking to the vet, she seems to think it is more to do with how the individual's metabolism works, particularly calcium that causes issues. I am sure that this is to do with breeding lines. I think more and more health issues are coming out due to poor breeding.
 

Elwickcavies

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I am convinced that stones are as much a metabolism issue as a diet issue. I have never had any bladder issues with any of my pigs, and I don't pay much attention to calcium levels in the food they have, and don't filter the hard water we have. In humans, Some people are more prone to developing kidney/gall stones and I think the same applies to guinea pigs. As @JackJack1 says, breeding is a big part of it and a low calcium diet is only worth it for pigs that are already prone to stones.
 

karonus

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As we take ours away frequently caravanning to all parts of the country I am starting to look at the impact of the grass they have access too. They normally get a good 5-6 hours a day out on the grass when we are away (usually 40 nights a year) and get local grass at home (not outside as we back on to a nature reserve with loads of foxes, badgers etc). It makes sense that grass leeches minerals from the soil and in a chalk or limestone area this is likely to be calcium. Its a pity we dont have chemical analysis for grass from different parts of the country. We all know about hard and soft water (its what gives us limescale and good beer in hard water areas) but no one seems to have considered the content of plain grass.
 

Kerrie74

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Wow, that's brilliant. I'm constantly being paranoid about bladder problems, we lost a guinea to bladder stones back in April which really affected me as he was my guinea and was the one I was bonded with, so now I'm always looking for ways to cut calcium. We've got a boar who has/had cystitis.
 

Tbag

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As we take ours away frequently caravanning to all parts of the country I am starting to look at the impact of the grass they have access too. They normally get a good 5-6 hours a day out on the grass when we are away (usually 40 nights a year) and get local grass at home (not outside as we back on to a nature reserve with loads of foxes, badgers etc). It makes sense that grass leeches minerals from the soil and in a chalk or limestone area this is likely to be calcium. Its a pity we dont have chemical analysis for grass from different parts of the country. We all know about hard and soft water (its what gives us limescale and good beer in hard water areas) but no one seems to have considered the content of plain grass.
I was thinking it could be down to grass when I read how long the TEAS piggies get on the grass throughout the year.
I wonder if a lot of it could just be down to piggy genes though, with some having more of a propensity for lucking out when it comes to bladder trouble. As an adult I've had 3 separate pairs of pigs now who have all had the same diet/treatment etc but only Tango suffered with bladder problems (recurrent UTIs and cystitis then two years after they got under control kidney failure which lead to super sludge build ups etc).
 

Freela

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My pigs are kept similarly to yours (except for the daily outdoors all year- in Canada putting pigs out is only an option for about 3 to 4 months out of the year. The rest of the year is far too cold/snowy for pigs to be outside.) I've had one pig with bladder issues and three without (so far- knock on wood!) My vet believes in part it's due to genetic susceptibility and in part due to diet/mineral intake. I honestly suspect that the main calcium contributor is the water... it's city water and treated, but we do get lime buildup and such on our tubs, it must have minerals in it. I now put it through a filter before giving it to the pigs, but I didn't used to before Sundae was diagnosed with issues. For part of the year at the cottage the pigs are drinking well water, and I have no idea what's in that as far as minerals go. We have it tested for contaminants/bacteria, but not for mineral content.
 

Midge&Panda

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I've had 19 pigs over the years out of them 3 have had bladder issues. Shebert developed bladder cancer. Maggie is having medication for bladder sludge, this was diagnosed over a year ago. She was on septrin and metacam for a long period of time and is now on a daily glucosamine supplement. Luckily she has had no reoccurance. Rosie ( 5 1/2 year neutered sow) has had 2 stone removal ops since Easter. After the 1st one her diet was altered to a low calcium and additional timothy hay. She was also getting a vit c supplement (tablet). About 4-5 weeks after the op the pain and bloody wee came back. Back onto the ABs and metacam but it gradually became worse. On the 7th July she was admitted for her 2nd op. The contents of her bladder were so thick the vet had to scoop it out rather than flush. A more radical change to her diet, additional water (syringed). Although Plymouth is a soft water area her drinking water is filtered and her vegetables are also washed in filtered water. She has limited grass and she no longer has a vit c supplement. She has more vit c rich food. She also had a urine culture done to make sure she was on the correct ABs. Rosie and her friends live indoors and are bedded on fleece and hay. I suppose 1 pig out of 19 having a serious bladder problem is quite lucky.
 

Midge&Panda

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I've just re-read my post. I've implied that Shebert's bladder cancer wasn't serious. Of course it was but I think because once I found out what her diagnosis was and that there was nothing to be done it made that final decision a lot easier to make. I hope that makes sense.
 

gizzy

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anyone tried cystese ? it is a remody for humans
 
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