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Bladder Stones in 1.5 yo Boar Mose - Reoccurence, Passing it, Surgery...

cfarrell25

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Hello - first time posting here (although I've been an avid reader!)

Last week, 1.5 year old boar Mose was peeing some blood (although no signs of pain) and was diagnosed with a bladder stone. I was quite surprised, since we feed them red leaf, green leaf lettuce, with the occasional red pepper, cucumber, timothy hay, and sparse amount of Sherwood pellets. I had never noticed any sludgy urine. We lost a piggy last year due to stones so we've been pretty paranoid about what we feed them.

Now comes the time to decide what we will do, to operate or not. My main concern with the operation is that he'll suffer, and that the stones will reoccur. I'm sure I could make some tweaks to deter reoccurrence (i.e. no pellets, maybe more exercise, maybe be more anal about the cleanliness of the cage) although I'm not sure that'll be enough as I think we've been pretty good at taking the right steps to prevent them to start with. Is he one of those piggies that will be producing them for the rest of his life? I definitely don't want to put him through multiple surgeries as I don't think that's fair to him. I know that the occurrence of stones is a mystery for the most part, although I'm not sure what could have caused them to start with and what I could change that could keep them at bay...

On the other hand, there's also the slight chance that he'll maybe pass it? Not sure if others can attest to boars passing stones of the size shown below (taken a few days ago).

Right now he is comfortable, on pain medication and Baytril. Although he has lost quite a bit of weight and eats sparingly (probably due to Baytril) so I syringe water, probiotics (poop soup), and critical care. We have an appointment tomorrow with our vet for the operation but I am having second thoughts that I am making the wrong decision and it might cost him his quality of life.
 

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cfarrell25

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(I lied - not the first time posting! Sorry my memory fails me)
 

Wiebke

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Hello - first time posting here (although I've been an avid reader!)

Last week, 1.5 year old boar Mose was peeing some blood (although no signs of pain) and was diagnosed with a bladder stone. I was quite surprised, since we feed them red leaf, green leaf lettuce, with the occasional red pepper, cucumber, timothy hay, and sparse amount of Sherwood pellets. I had never noticed any sludgy urine. We lost a piggy last year due to stones so we've been pretty paranoid about what we feed them.

Now comes the time to decide what we will do, to operate or not. My main concern with the operation is that he'll suffer, and that the stones will reoccur. I'm sure I could make some tweaks to deter reoccurrence (i.e. no pellets, maybe more exercise, maybe be more anal about the cleanliness of the cage) although I'm not sure that'll be enough as I think we've been pretty good at taking the right steps to prevent them to start with. Is he one of those piggies that will be producing them for the rest of his life? I definitely don't want to put him through multiple surgeries as I don't think that's fair to him. I know that the occurrence of stones is a mystery for the most part, although I'm not sure what could have caused them to start with and what I could change that could keep them at bay...

On the other hand, there's also the slight chance that he'll maybe pass it? Not sure if others can attest to boars passing stones of the size shown below (taken a few days ago).

Right now he is comfortable, on pain medication and Baytril. Although he has lost quite a bit of weight and eats sparingly (probably due to Baytril) so I syringe water, probiotics (poop soup), and critical care. We have an appointment tomorrow with our vet for the operation but I am having second thoughts that I am making the wrong decision and it might cost him his quality of life.
Hi!

I am very sorry for your worries.

Boars have got a longer urethra with a very awkward inglenook where most bladder stones fetch up if they are passed from the bladder. that is where things get really dicey when it gets to operating stones out of there because they can become embedded in the wall and there is also the added risk that they can block the urine flow, causing it to back up into the kidneys with fatal consquences. In a boar, waiting to pass a stone is not a safe option at all, unfortunately! Any sudden massive deterioration is usually down to a stone having passed into the urethra and starting to impact on the urine flow. The pain get get so intense that a boar can lose use of his back legs and suffer partial GI stasis. :(

Bladder operations themselves are actually generally a pretty straight forward operation with usually a good chance of recovery and generally no bladder related complications if you have a competent vet. They can also generally be repeated without problems, as I know from two of my own previous sows before I switched to the diet recommended in the link below, which has stood the test of time.
A lot of the bad press re. stone ops comes from stones stuck in boar inglenooks; the posters often do not make that distinction.

Crucial is a good operating vet and nursing team. Unfortunately when it comes to bladder stones, the sooner they are out the better.
There is so far no reliable alternative to an operation. :(
Tips For Post-operative Care

Calcium absortion is a complex process, and not all of it is necessarily due to just diet. When the absorption is out of kilter it can however take a while for any dietary changes to filter through and rebalance. However, in the majority of cases (especially diet related ones), stones don't reoccur.

Please be aware that unfiltered water is an angle that is overlooked by many people even though it can actually contribute more calcium than a high calcium veg diet. Alternatively you can look at low calcium/mineral bottled water.

Please take the time to read our recommendations for guinea pigs with stones and long term urinary tract problems; you will hopefully find them helpful! While we won't say that it is the non-plus-ultra diet, we can confidently say that of all the diets and recommendations that have made the rounds in the last decade, they are the ones that have stood the test of time for our long term members who all practise a diet based around our sample diet. For bladder piggies, restrictions are a little bit stricter. But I haven't had a stone in over 5 five years in any of piggies now; my piggies are generally healthier and live 1-2 years longer than they used to. Even adoptees from very bad backgrounds!
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
 

Lady Kelly

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Hi, I can only add personal experience to Wiebkes wonderful advice. I went to see a pricey specialist recently (he's the specialist my regular vets refer to and I have used him before with many successes). Donald was my first experiemce of stones and the vet was 90% certain he could manage the operation easily (I take 10% off due to the risk of any surgery and due to Donald having lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery). Unfortunately the xray was misleading and the stone was in the urethra. It didn't cause a full blockage but surgery was much more complex and i was warned about an array of complications that could occur. Sadly in my case complications did happen and within two weeks his right kidney was enlarged and painful. It is thought the back up of urine caused irreverisble damage or that a further stone had occured but the vet thinks this less likely due to having had an xray. I think with stones the sooner you act the better the outcome. I have mine on filtered water and I've swapped to grain free pellets which are very low calcium to try and prevent stones for any of my remaining piggies.
 

cfarrell25

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Hi!

I am very sorry for your worries.

Boars have got a longer urethra with a very awkward inglenook where most bladder stones fetch up if they are passed from the bladder and where things get really dicey when it gets to getting stones out of there because they can become embedded in the wall and there is also the added risk that they can block the urine flow, causing it to back up into the kidneys with fatal consquences. In a boar waiting to pass a stone is not a safe option at all, unfortunately!
Bladder operations themselves are actually generally a pretty straight forward operation with usually a good chance of recovery and generally no bladder related complications if you have a competent vet. They can also generally be repeated without problems, as I know from two of my own previous sows before I switched to the diet recommended in the link below, which has stood the test of time.
A lot of the bad press re. stone ops comes from stones stuck in boar inglenooks; the posters often do not make that distinction.

Crucial is a good operating vet and nursing team. Unfortunately when it comes to bladder stones, the sooner they are out the better.
There is so far no reliable alternative to an operation. :(
Tips For Post-operative Care

Calcium absortion is a complex process, and not all of it is necessarily due to just diet. When the absorption is out of kilter it can however take a while for any dietary changes to filter through and rebalance. However, in the majority of cases (especially diet related ones), stones don't reoccur.

Please be aware that unfiltered water is an angle that is overlooked by many people even though it can actually contribute more calcium than a high calcium veg diet. Alternatively you can look at low calcium/mineral bottled water.

Please take the time to read our recommendations for guinea pigs with stones and long term urinary tract problems; you will hopefully find them helpful! While we won't say that it is the non-plus-ultra diet, we can confidently say that of all the diets and recommendations that have made the rounds in the last decade, they are the ones that have stood the test of time for our long term members who all practise a diet based around our sample diet. For bladder piggies, restrictions are a little bit stricter. But I haven't had a stone in over 5 five years in any of piggies now; my piggies are generally healthier and live 1-2 years longer than they used to. Even adoptees from very bad backgrounds!
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
Thank you so much for the thorough response!
 

cfarrell25

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Hi, I can only add personal experience to Wiebkes wonderful advice. I went to see a pricey specialist recently (he's the specialist my regular vets refer to and I have used him before with many successes). Donald was my first experiemce of stones and the vet was 90% certain he could manage the operation easily (I take 10% off due to the risk of any surgery and due to Donald having lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery). Unfortunately the xray was misleading and the stone was in the urethra. It didn't cause a full blockage but surgery was much more complex and i was warned about an array of complications that could occur. Sadly in my case complications did happen and within two weeks his right kidney was enlarged and painful. It is thought the back up of urine caused irreverisble damage or that a further stone had occured but the vet thinks this less likely due to having had an xray. I think with stones the sooner you act the better the outcome. I have mine on filtered water and I've swapped to grain free pellets which are very low calcium to try and prevent stones for any of my remaining piggies.
Thank you Lady Kelly! I really appreciate the insights. I feel like my best approach would be to first assess where it is, and how much damage the stone has done. Thank you so much for sharing.
i.e. have switched them on filtered water - we live in the city so we sometimes would have them on tap, sometimes filtered but now i'll be more stringent on having them only on filtered.
 

Lady Kelly

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Thank you Lady Kelly! I really appreciate the insights. I feel like my best approach would be to first assess where it is, and how much damage the stone has done. Thank you so much for sharing.
i.e. have switched them on filtered water - we live in the city so we sometimes would have them on tap, sometimes filtered but now i'll be more stringent on having them only on filtered.
I was the same and the shock of this certain makes you re-evaluate what you do. The biggest thing for me is how knowledgeable your vet is and how much you trust them. The vet I used is to the point and I trust him completely, I fully trust his judgement when it comes to prognosis and chances of success. The problem with stones, as he told me, is that some pigs are prone to them and no one actually knows why they form and what causes it. He told me that there is no guarantee that they wouldn't come back and, if they did, they couldn't say if this would be weeks, months or years. He also said there was no guarantee they would form again and he could live stone free. It's hard when so little is known but don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and for the vets professional opinion on what action is best for Mose
 

cfarrell25

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Update - So as I picked up Mose's pain meds, I asked if I could get a consultation with another vet at the clinic who was helpful when I had come in with my first stone piggy a year and a half ago (hopefully the other vet won't take offence), in order to get a second opinion. On the bright side, Mose seems to be doing better tonight, he's more alert, even comes out of his house when I'm handing out hay to the other boys. I even caught him trying to hump his cagemate Jasper! His apetite seems to be coming back, although I'll still make sure to syringe critical care and water, along with daily weigh-ins to be sure. I still haven't caught him drinking water on his own, but that could also be because I do syringe water (and critical care is water based as well obviously). Any insights on how much water is reasonable? Also attached a picture of Mose (in the house) and his cagemate Jasper. I'm also surprised at how Jasper is reacting to Mose not feeling so well. Typically Jasper (the dominant one) would boss him around a little, barge inside the house when he's there (it's a big house but they don't really like being that close) and now he's been much more gentle.
 

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cfarrell25

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Update ! So the second vet I saw at the clinic had recommended to wait before proceeding with the operation given that he was doing well, eating and his stomach felt good when palpated. I did keep him on antibiotics and pain killers. This evening, I had noticed quite a bit of blood so I was thinking that maybe it was time to take a more aggressive approach and was going to take him to the vet tomorrow. When I checked in later I noticed a little thing... a stone! Going to take him to the vet tomorrow, and hopefully he’s okay. It looks pretty big!
 

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Betsy

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Ouch! That's quite a big stone to come out of such a small tube! Well done to your piggy for passing that! I'd take that to the vet when you go tomorrow as well. He will be a bit tender for a few days I should think so keep up with the pain relief.
 

cfarrell25

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Indeed...poor Mose :( ... he seems to be doing well now, eating his hay and acting fairly normal, although he does seem in a bit of pain when peeing. I can't believe he passed it.
 
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