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Could Really Be Doing With Honest Opinions From Pet Owners

Adelle

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I know no one can answer my question or tell me what to do. But I know there's some really experienced owners on here and some who have been in similar situations and I really need help to gather my thoughts and to hear others too.

Fudge, my 8 year old sow has been in heart failure for 19 months. She is on a lot of medication and it is stable, and is kept this way with regular adjustments to her meds.

Fudge has an ovarian cyst which has been managed with hormone injections for 6 months. During this time, the cyst has gradually stopped responding and is causing her pain and gassy guts. The last injection Was given Into the muscle instead of under the skin which was incredibly stressful and painful for her. It worked slightly, but it made her unwell and the cyst is already reactived 14 days later.

My vets and I have decided to spay fudge. This would rid her of her ovarian problem completely. She is booked in for Friday with the 2 piggy vets who Will op on her together , as well as a piggy savvy and knowledgable nurse doing the anaesthetic. They have still to decide on a full anaesthetic or a light one with an epidural.

The problem is, fudge has a small survival rate due to her heart. Her meds cause kidney damage, and an anaesthetic is dangerous for kidneys- although they where still functioning normally when last checked 2 months ago. There is a 48 hour waiting period after an anaesthetic where the kidneys can go into failure. The recovery of a spay in a pig her age is also a lot to deal with- if she gets that far. Her best chance is now, since she is well in herself. But it makes the risks so much harder to take.

For the past few days fudge has gained the weight she lost from having her hormone treatment and is looking very bright and active. Her heart rate is stable and lungs are now clear. She is happy.

My question is- am I making the wrong decision by agreeing to spay her?

My options are
-to do this when she's well and risk losing her when she's under or in recovery, but may save her and fix the problem...
- keep injecting hormones which make her I'll and don't really work, and end up back at this stage, which by that time she will be sick and er heart will be worse
-leave her to her own devices and pts when this affects her too much. This could be months or days away. But would be a nasty decline pain wise.

I need some honest opinions as if this was you in this situation. What would you do?

I love my girl dearly and she has fought so bloody hard to be where she is. She was given 2 weeks to live 19 months ago- this really is not easy :-(


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sport_billy

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Adelle i am sorry. It is an impossible choice and whatever you do if something happens you will beat yourself up forever over it.

The quality of life of a piggy is always the thing Rach & I base our decisions on.

If you don't operate then at some point you may lose Fudge due to this cyst and her but realistically you may lose her under the GA or she may rally and pull through. It is a catch 22 situation.

I think you need to go with your gut feeling on this one Adelle but I don't envy your choice at all. Whatever happens Fudge has had a wonderful 8 years full of love try and hold onto that when you make the decision for her.

Massive hugs
x x
 

eileen

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This is a very difficult decision,looking at this from a medical point of view,if there is a chance she could pull through an operation and be comfortable i would probably give Fudge a chance.If the vets says the odds are very much stack against this,probably let Fudge continue until such time she is suffering.You have to do what is right for you and Fudge .It is a catch 22,i always look at it from a guinea pigs quality of life,and informed choice with being sure i have all the relevant information to make an informed decision.x
 

artcasper

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i am not really able to offer anything as I am not experienced enough, nor have i gone through any major illness with Gladys & Pip.... All i wanted to say was thinking of you and sending you a virtual hug xx
 

Redribbon

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Blimey! Good luck to you both. You love Fudge unconditionally and many people would not have persevered as much as you already have. I can only say if it were me in your impossible situation I would go for it, a chance is a chance and in such capable hands she stands the best chance.
Yes, the odds are stacking up against her but she is strong and is in the best shape to do it now. if she's not spayed her demise will be far worse than falling asleep under anaesthetic.
 

Piggy mum

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This is a really tough decision. I'm not mega experienced but if it was me I wouldn't get her spayed now if she is happy. She is quite elderly in pig years and if it was me I wouldn't want to disturb her happiness... having said that even if you did decide to spay her it would not be the wrong decision. You know her the best and will know what is right for her. Please write back and let us know how you get on x
 

Poppy'sMum

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So difficult Adelle, it must be horrible to be in your position. Could your vet not drain the cysts by needle? It requires a very experienced vet to be done with no GA & obviously would be painful for her, it takes only a few seconds to do though, my vet has done it with one of mine with no ill effects xx
 

ChloeCee98

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Aww Adelle I'm not experienced at all to say what I think you should do. But I would go with your gut feeling. If you think she has a good chance of pulling through maybe take that chance. You will know how strong she is ❤ hugs and loves from me all 3 of my pigs x x x
 

Tiamolly123

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If she had sedation & epidural I would go ahead, it's the GA that will harm her.
I know this is a daft question but you never know. Is it possible they will let you into the theatre if she's having an epidural. You & Fudge are so bonded I think that could make all the difference. Head end of course but with chatting to her & stroking her I don't know why this would be a problem, plus being by her head you won't see all the bloody bits. I think I would insist on it.
 
D

DM030819

Only you know the answer to the question.

I tend to sway towards surgery when I have to chose though.

About 2 years ago I was fostering a 5+year old pig for a friend. When he moved in he went for an MOT at the vet, like all of my pigs do. They felt a huge lump and so he had a scan.

We could leave the lump and see how it went and risk a quick deterioration and possible death. Or opt for a very tricky surgery with a very slim chance of survival.

We had a think about the wonderful, full life he had led and didn't want him to have it spoiled at all if the lump became a problem.

So, we opted for the surgery. The fantastic Simon from Cat and Rabbit did it, but unfortunately the lump was far too intricate and Spencer died in surgery.

Of course we miss him, and think 'what if', but he had a fantastic life, and he never suffered with the lump so we are thankful.

A few months ago I opted to have my 6 year old boar euthanised instead of letting him struggle. I don't like to think of them hurting, and always like to try to do something about it, whether it's tricky surgery or having to make the awful choice.

I'm sorry that you are going through this x
 

Adelle

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Thanks everyone for your replies, they are very much appreciated. In answer to a couple of the questions, the vet is trying to remain positive but has warned me she may not survive.. Although they haven't said "you'll more than likely lose her", which I'm trying to hold on to.

Draining isn't an option- the cyst is small. But this is often the ones that cause all the problems. And sort of puts me in the same boat as giving the hormone injections - how long do I stick needles in her before saying enough is enough?

The other replies about just leaving her if she's happy- this is what is making me so unsure. She is happy, but for how long before this causes her to be ill again and in even more pain? That, I will never know unless I cancel the op. She's only comfortable due to high doses of Tramadol. It will ultimately lead back to this position but at a later date when she isn't as well and her heart has declined.

Being in the room with her would be lovely to get to soothe her but due to health and safety it isn't an option.

This is so difficult and it's tearing me up.
 

Flutterby

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Oh Adelle I don't envy you this decision. All I can say is, if the was my pig, as long as she is happy, comfortable and pain free then I would give her the chance of the operation. There are big risks either way, but if in a few weeks you need to decide to put her to sleep without the surgery then I would personally give her a chance.
 

Toots33

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Hi Adelle,

I haven't had any experience of ovarian cysts but you helped me so much talking through Sven's IC that I had to respond.

What a tough decision to make and you absolutely have to do what you think is right for your beautiful Fudge. I think if I was in your situation I would probably try having her spayed even though the risks sound high. I think I would probably go for that option because it doesn't really sound like the hormone injections are helping and it might be stressful for her to keep having that done, especially if it's not working. I would initially think about leaving her to it and see how she gets on but if that was going cause her pain then I would probably give the surgery a try.

Whatever decision you make will be the right decision for Fudge and you and no decision will be the wrong decision because you will have thought it through and made the right decision at that time.

Sending you and Fudge lots of love and positive thoughts :luv:.
 

Lady Kelly

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I honestly don't know what I would do. I've had two elderly pigs that have gone 12-18 months after being told that I would lose them soon. I made the decision at that point to leave them til they were no longer happy however, Bea was on metacam for just two weeks before passing and Peter finally passed having no daily pain relief so I can say that they were happy and went when they had had enough. I can't even begin to guess what I would do in this situation but I am sure that your vet wouldn't have even suggested surgery unless they thought there was a fair chance of survival?
 

TAN

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Hi Adelle
I have only ever lost one piggy in surgery and that was the love of my life Bumble - and that was due to all the previous operations that he had had for cancerous lumps and bladder stones that had thinned his bladder wall and when my vet went in to repair his hernia the tissue just wouldn't hold together and it was kinder not to bring him round - I still cry a little every night when I go to bed because I still miss him ,even though he went to rainbow bridge last August. So if your vets are willing to operate then I would take that as a good sign - if there was no hope then they would refuse and advise you to have Fudge put to sleep - from what you say if Fudge doesn't come round from the anesthetic then she won't be in any pain and if she passes in the days after the operation she should still be pain free because she can be kept on pain relief - she has proved to be such a fighter and I really really do wish both of you all the best xx
 

Guinea Slave

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I am so sorry you are going through this. I have been thinking about you all weekend actually and I just would not be able to decide.

I didn't want to say before but I had a similar piggy I referred to before, who I had a similar bond, on heart meds and goodness knows what else. At 7 she developed a tumour. To be fair it was not really accessible so it was not too tough a decision. I decided to let her go. I just decided it was her time. She was losing a lot of weight despite eating like crazy, so I think she was further along than Fudge. She was so thin. The day she went her eyes were bright and mentally she was very happy but I knew her body was giving up. Although it still breaks my heart I don't ever regret it.

I guess maybe leave it a few more days? Fate has a way of showing the way. The fact you are still questioning in your own mind means you are not ready to decide yet, but that's just my view.

But I don't envy you, your decision is one of the toughest I have ever heard of and she is such an amazing girl, so photogenic and full of character. It breaks my heart on your behalf even reading your posts. Hugs to you x
 

Poppy'sMum

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It's a shame they can't be drained :( I'm not sure what I'd do, I only had one of mine spayed but that was a full hysterectomy & her recovery was quite long & difficult, so maybe that is why I would personally be reluctant to go ahead if she is doing so well at the moment. However I can understand that you feel it could be now or never as she is doing so well that she has the best chance of recovery if you do it soon. I agree if your vet is not against the idea then she must feel that Fudge has a chance, so you must go with your instincts & heart. Whatever happens though I know you will do your best for her & am sending you lots of hugs & keeping you both in my thoughts xx
 

Adelle

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Oh honey, what a dilemma. Whatever you decide your decision is founded in love, so it can't be wrong.
I'm just terrified I make a careless and rash decision.. Even though I can't think of anything but this. I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

@TAN and @Lady Kelly they know it's a huge risk but agree with me that waiting until an ultimate decline with this isn't what's right for fudge. It's literally a last ditched attempt try to get her out of pain and away from weekly needles and prodding and scans. shes started fluffing up again tonight after being really good pain wise this weekend so it is just a reminder of why I've made the decision I have. Fudge isn't a wimp when it comes to pain, so if I can see it.. It must be pretty bad.
 

pig in the city

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I have had cysts removed from elderly pigs by keyhole surgery and they did very well, but a full spay is a much bigger operation. I am not sure I would risk it personally, I think I would keep her comfortable. But as you and others have said at the end of the day whatever you decide it will be the right choice for you and your piggy. Thinking of you x
 
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