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Specialist Enlarged heart

Gemm

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Hi please can you help me and my guinea pig Ruby

Ruby was suddenly struggling to breathe late on Saturday night (she looked like she was at deaths door), I took her to the vet who did X-rays, gave her meds and oxygen and kept her in for a two of nights to monitor her. She came back home today and she is on 5 different medications. She is brighter and alert but not eating by herself properly so I am syringe feeding her. While she was at the vet she lost 100g so I am trying to fatten her up. The vet has done everything they can for her and now it’s up to her To keep fighting.

I have been told that I need to take it day by day but vet nurse said heart pigs can live for 2-12 months. Does anyone have any advice so I can make sure she is comfortable and get her back to her normal self. I understand that she could go any day now but I just don’t want her to suffer. I would love to hear some of your heart pig stories.
051F270C-4549-4F06-B95E-016C772742B8.jpeg
 

Tiamolly123

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I haven't any advice, I'm afraid, but I'm sending Healing vibes to Ruby.
I'm so sorry for your bad news Gemm, give her lots of cuddles.
 

Wiebke

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Hi please can you help me and my guinea pig Ruby

Ruby was suddenly struggling to breathe late on Saturday night (she looked like she was at deaths door), I took her to the vet who did X-rays, gave her meds and oxygen and kept her in for a two of nights to monitor her. She came back home today and she is on 5 different medications. She is brighter and alert but not eating by herself properly so I am syringe feeding her. While she was at the vet she lost 100g so I am trying to fatten her up. The vet has done everything they can for her and now it’s up to her To keep fighting.

I have been told that I need to take it day by day but vet nurse said heart pigs can live for 2-12 months. Does anyone have any advice so I can make sure she is comfortable and get her back to her normal self. I understand that she could go any day now but I just don’t want her to suffer. I would love to hear some of your heart pig stories.
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Hi! I am sorry; it is always hard when your beloved piggy has a serious health problem and you come to the limits of what you can do. :(

Could you please list the medications she is on. We can't really help you efficiently without knowing what is already being done for her. Otherwise you are likely only getting repeat suggestions.

@Jaycey @furryfriends (TEAS) @helen105281 @Abi_nurse @Freela
 

Reggie&Chunk

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Can’t offer any advice but just wanted to send you hugs and strength to you and your little one xx
 

Bill & Ted

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Sending you and Ruby lots of hugs x hope you can get her stabilised and have plenty of happy times together x
 

Gemm

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The medications are
Frusol for 7 days
Metacam for 7 days
Vetmedine for possibly long term
Metaclopramide for 7 days
Engemycin for 7 days

She weighed 850g when she went into the vets on Sunday, after coming home last night she weighed 722g, I got her up to 733g with syringe feeding last night. This morning she is back down to 722g. I have just syringed her this morning.
 

Gemm

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Ps ruby and I thank you for all your warm wishes and advice so far.
 

Wiebke

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The medications are
Frusol for 7 days
Metacam for 7 days
Vetmedine for possibly long term
Metaclopramide for 7 days
Engemycin for 7 days

She weighed 850g when she went into the vets on Sunday, after coming home last night she weighed 722g, I got her up to 733g with syringe feeding last night. This morning she is back down to 722g. I have just syringed her this morning.
Your vet has obviously prescribed you a very carefully considered cocktail of heart drugs, diuretics, gut stimulant, painkiller/anti-inflammatory and infection inhibitor. There is nothing wrong with that.

Has your vet considered fortekor? It is licensed for dogs and cats with congestive heart failure. I am however not knowledgeable enough to know whether it is working for an enlarged heart, only that it is a commonly prescribed heart drug together with vetmedin in guinea pigs with heart disease. Frusol is a diuretic to prevent the build up of fluid in the chest as a result of an inefficiently working heart, and it is very effective.

Please be aware that you measure weight in guinea pigs in a 30-40g wide band when weighing frequently over the course of a day; the daily weight swing between a full and empty bladder/bowel is 30-40g. What you are looking for is whether the weight is staying stable within that band or whether that band is moving upward or downward over the course of several days. Initially your aim is to stabilise the weight as much as possible.
Just keep on syringe feeding, as much as your piggy will willingly take; do not force anything in if she is apathetic and be careful to adjust the quantity of each mouthful according to how strong she is and how well she can swallow to prevent anything going up the nose or into the lungs. The less she will take in one go, the more often through the day (and if necessary night in case of total loss of appetite) you feed. As long as your piggy is still eating on its own, you are supplement feeding.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

Please be always aware that any medication can only do so much, and so can you with the care you give at home. You cannot stem the force of nature against all the odds; you and your vet can only ever do your best - which your vet is doing; there is nothing wrong with what they have prescribed. Concentrate on treasuring every extra day you have with her for as long as you are given. You can never control for how long she will be with you, but you have full control over making each single days filled with love, care and quality of life. Guinea pigs don't measure their life as to how long it is; they measure it in happy todays. ;)
Unfortunately guinea pigs are only small animals with a very quick metabolism; that is counting against them when you come up against a serious illness or - in your case - organ failure compared to larger pets like dogs and cats. Rodents (which is what guinea pigs are) live on fast forward compared to them. :(

All the best! I hope that with the right medication you can have her a for a goodly while yet.

It is never easy when you are at the sharp end of an illness but try to also find time for love and for little pleasures; that is very important as well. Life is never just about length, it is about quality and the memories you create while you still can. I have found that it really helps me to reset the life clock at zero after a bad diagnosis/crisis and cherish every shared day from then on as an added bonus. That way I can only win and end up with lots of special and precious memories, whether that is an extra year or just some extra weeks. In one case, it was even an extra 5 1/2 years after surviving some rare post-op complications by the width of a hair and after being given up by the operating vets!
 

helen105281

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Sorry I have been offline for a few days. Fortekor as mentioned by Wiebke is an ACE inhibitor and is usually used as the first stage of heart meds alongside the diuretic. Vetmedin is usually added in later once the ACE inhibitor dose cannot be increased. There must be a reason your vet has tried Vetmedin first though, so best to speak with them and just see what they think about Fortekor. Another brand name is Nelio and the active ingredient is Benazepril.

I have had a few hearts pigs and only a couple were with me for less than a year after their diagnosis but one was really poorly when he arrived and the other was elderly.
 

Gemm

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Thanks for all your advice. I trust the vet and hope ruby can pull through this. She is a fantastic little pig and I have done absolutely everything I can for her. I know she has had a good life. I am going to keep fighting for her and doing everything I can but I don’t want her to suffer. I’m going to monitor for now and she has an appointment with the vet next week to see how she is doing. Fingers crossed she can get stronger-I can tell she is not her self but I am just taking it day by day. Even my mum is helping me with her and my mum hated any rodents when I got guinea pigs over 4 years ago. It just shows how special ruby is.
 
D

DM030819

@Gemm Is your vet experienced in piggies? The reason I ask is because the symptoms sound very much like my foster pig Ted. He almost died twice because of his breathing issues. He doesn't have a heart problem but is prone to a build up of fluid in his chest which makes it hard for him to breathe.

He's now on Frusol for life and is doing brilliantly.

I have had a heart pig before, and he was on med's for 2 years before he passed away, so it's not a death sentence.
 

Gemm

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Thank you for your replies. Yeah the vet I’m seeing is an exotic vet. I go to Ashleigh’s in Chorlton.
I have just syringed her again. She is not happy with me and is currently sat in a paper bag.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you for your replies. Yeah the vet I’m seeing is an exotic vet. I go to Ashleigh’s in Chorlton.
I have just syringed her again. She is not happy with me and is currently sat in a paper bag.
The weight is hopefully coming back gradually once she has stabilised on her medical regime. Your immediate aim is to keeping the weight from going down any further.
 

YvonneBlue

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I can't offer any advice but thinking of you and Ruby at this difficult time and sending big hugs. :hug:
 

Gemm

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Thank you for all your kind wishes.

I have been researching the medication she is on. Is egemycin dangerous? It is being given orally but have read that oxytetracycline are dangerous for guinea pigs from guinea lynx website.

I am panicking now as I don’t want to make her any sicker than she is :/
 
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