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Flub's laboured breathing

Danielle Smith

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Our boy Flubs (5y 4mo) has always had slightly more obvious breathing than our other pigs -- we used to joke about "Flubs breathing" as when we picked him up his breathing was very noticable for a little while until he calmed down.

However, since his cagemates Tablet and Fudge passed away, his breathing has become noticably more laboured, with him sucking in his flanks and nodding. He's also become a lot more lethargic and sleeps incredibly deeply, though still eating enough to keep his weight steady. He also pancakes pretty much as soon as he lies down, I've never seen him so flat so much of the time! A trip to the vets just over a week ago revealed "harsh lung sounds" and he was put on Septrin (0.16ml OD) for 10 days, along with Metacam. Unfortunately the course of antibiotics has done nothing for him and he's booked in to see the vet again today.

I'm wondering if what I'm actually seeing is heart failure. His symptoms fit, and his feet and ears have gone a more dusky colour from their previous bright pink. While he's still keen for veg, he keeps having to take breaks -- something that we've never seem before. I also seem to recall the vet diagnosing him with a small heart murmur when we got a lipoma checked a few years ago, though I don't know how this would fit.

My worry is that the vet is going to recommend a second course of more harsh antibiotics which might do more harm than good. However, I think I have a bit of a reputation at my vet for being a little demanding and I don't want to come straight out and say please check for heart failure! Has anyone got any tips or ideas as to how to go about this?

EDIT: he still has one remaining cagemate, Toffee, though they definitely just co-exist, whereas Flubs loved his other wifelets.

Video of his breathing for context, please ignore Blackjack in the cage above being a rumble-bum!

 

Bill & Ted

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Poor flubs x Hope you find out exactly what the cause of his strained breathing is. I would ask them to kindly check his heart, don’t worry about what the vets think, he’s “your boy” and you want the best for him, and you are quite entitled to ask and you are paying too x
 

Pound Shilling & Pig

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From what you describe it could be lungs or heart (or both) so I would defiantly ask them to check his heart, which They should be doing anyway with a pig with laboured breathing. Just say you're worried that might be the problem I'm sure they won't mind.
 

Danielle Smith

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So apparently he's lost 130g in a week and a half since they last weighed him (my scales say different but I'm inclined to go with theirs). His heart sounds fine so with my okay they have taken him in for a conscious x-ray to rule out a mass in his chest. Oh my poor lad. Will update as soon as I know more.
 

Danielle Smith

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So Flubs was lovely and still for his x-ray. Everything looked absolutely fine, aside from a tiny bit of cloudiness at the bottom of his lungs. Have been sent home with Baytril and more Sulfatrim to try for a week. Fingers crossed his tummy is okay :(
 

Danielle Smith

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Currently waiting on vet calling me back as Flubs has a lovely shaved patch with gel on the edges... When I sent his friend pig Toffee in with him for an ultrasound for her ovarian cysts.

I think they might have accidentally checked and x-rayed Toffee and scanned Flubs for his elusive ovarian cysts :doh:. Still, she does have slightly laboured breathing too and clearly needs antibiotics if the mix up has occurred.

Also makes sense of the discrepancy between my scales and the vets as Flubs is almost exactly 130g heavier than Toffee.

You have to laugh, poor overworked vets. I know why the current procedures are the way they are, but this would not have happened if I could have been in the consultation room :eek:
 

Danielle Smith

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So, correct x-ray taken this time and Flubs apparently has signs of infection throughout his lungs. He's to be on sulfatrim and baytril for a week and then revisit how he is. I'm also giving him a little top-up of syringe feed just to keep his guts hopefully ticking over. Flubs is very cross at the whole thing, and is just showing me a big white bum when I put him back in his cage.

To be honest, I'm still convinced it's heart issues but the vet didn't mention an enlarged heart or fluid in his chest, and I specifically asked about the latter. Time will tell I suppose.
 

Bradshaw Piggies

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So, correct x-ray taken this time and Flubs apparently has signs of infection throughout his lungs. He's to be on sulfatrim and baytril for a week and then revisit how he is. I'm also giving him a little top-up of syringe feed just to keep his guts hopefully ticking over. Flubs is very cross at the whole thing, and is just showing me a big white bum when I put him back in his cage.

To be honest, I'm still convinced it's heart issues but the vet didn't mention an enlarged heart or fluid in his chest, and I specifically asked about the latter. Time will tell I suppose.
Sending lots of love for Flubs! Hope he starts to improve soon
 

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You are so right, it wouldn’t have happened if you had been in the consulting room. Hope Flubs responds well to the AB’s and is better soon x
 

Danielle Smith

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So this is Flubs' fifth day on Baytril and Sulfatrim (after trying Sulfatrim alone for 10 days before that; he's also on Metacam). His breathing is still heavy and laboured, and I've caught him hooting a couple of times when asleep. He's a tiny bit more mobile (and I mean tiny, maybe walking the length of the cage 2-3 times a day for a drink), but I think that is because I have been topping him up with 36ml of syringe feed over the course of the day. He's still spending most of his time in one place, and isn't really eating much for himself (as evidenced by the fact his weight is remaining stable while being syringe fed) but is sometimes interested if I fluff up the hay.

I'm really sad, I thought the Baytril would sort out his apparent LRI. His current quality of life is a bit rubbish, though he enjoys syringe feed and peaflakes... I'm completely stuck on what to do next. I've attached his X-ray taken on Thursday alongside Toffee's (his healthy cage mate) in case any savvy vet nurse sees this post. Unfortunately no lateral X-rays were taken.

Untitled collage.png
 

Danielle Smith

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Flubs is not on any diuretic. The vet (I don't know how cavy-savvy they are as my usual one is on holiday for an undefined amount of time) said as she could hear his lungs he didn't have any fluid and therefore didn't need any help shifting it.

I'm dubious of this given the amount of effort it is taking him to breathe and might ask for a trial next appointment. After all, you know very quickly if a diuretic will help!

Also wondering how useful his X-ray is as I think his breathing has made it a bit hard to see much!
 
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