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Guinea pig bladder stones

Curly1

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My guinea pig has had blood in urine intermittently for months. He has otherwise been fine.
He then seemed to developing bloat which was treated by the vet. The vet also gave an antibiotic for treating what she thought could be a uti as I said he's recently started squealing when urinating as well as the blood.
He got better initially but now seems to still be a bit tender/swollen the past week (about 3 weeks after we went to the vet) and still is having the same urinary issues. Otherwise he is acting normal, eating and drinking.
I'm extremely worried because should he need surgery for bladder stones I won't be able to afford them! I'm a 21 year old in full time university education and I don't have hundreds of pounds to pay for a surgery. If he doesn't have a surgery, if it is bladder stones, will he die? What can I do?!
 
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DM030819

@Curly1 Firstly you need to find out if it is definitely stones as you don't want him to undergo unnecessary surgery. A vet will be able to x-ray him to determine if it is a stone or something else.
 

Swissgreys

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I agree with Jaycey.
Before you start worrying about things, it would be best to get a proper diagnosis.
Depending on where you are located an x-ray shouldn't be too expensive, but call your vet first and ask.
Clearly there is something not quite right and it does sound like your piggy needs to have further tests done to investigate what is causing him pain.
 

Lady Kelly

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I agree with the above. Before panicking about what to do and costs you need to know what the actual problem is and what the options are. It could be as simple as the wrong antibiotic for the infection so whilst it made an improvement initially it didn't clear the infection fully. Your vet should be able to investigate properly and give you a break down of the costs of any treatment options
 

5StarPigs

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I agree with the above also. Before you start panicking you should take him to a more experianced small animal or exotic vet for treatment. It would be great if you could add your location so people can reccomend vets in your area and help you more. (To do this go to where your username is in green and go to account details) Tagging @Wiebke and @FurryFriends as they are experianced members.
 

Black piggies

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This might not be relevant but my pigs were having blood sometimes in urine and vet tested it and was high calcium. Since went onto grain free selective nuggets, low calcium / low sugar veg like lettuce and green pepper not kale / spinach / cabbage / carrot, and filtered their water, the problem has resolved for the past many months.
 

cfarrell25

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I do agree that it could very well be just a UTI, which can be treated with antibiotics (make sure that you're also giving him probiotics since antibiotics tend to wreak havoc on their digestive system). I also heard that sometimes infections can stick around for quite some time, so maybe more time of the antibiotic or switching it up could do the trick!

Even in the worst case scenario where he does have some stones, an operation or PTS are not the only options, as I've learned today.

A few weeks ago my 1.5 year old boar Mose had blood in his urine. I immediately took him to the vet and unfortunately, there was a stone in his bladder (mind you, not like a massive one, but one nonetheless). The vet I first met with recommended one of two things, an operation (which would be 2000CAD/1200 pounds - I'm in Canada) or PTS, both options I wasn't fond of. For me, the operation, set aside the price, isn't ideal. Those operations are traumatic, invasive and extremely stressful on the little guys, plus even if you do get it, stones may come back, putting them under anesthesia is extremely risky (even more so compared to dogs, cats, rabbits or even rats) or worst, the recovery can be unsuccessful, inflicting even further pain. I was personally really torn since I obviously want him to live, but I'm also concerned that these operations are extremely scary for them, and furthermore the recovery can be unsuccessful and inflict even more pain. You do come across some posts on the forum and elsewhere of unsuccessful, brutal recoveries, where owners wished they hadn't gone through with the procedure to start with and other posts that four days after the operation they're back to normal, like nothing happened.

All in all, I took him home that day with a heavy heart, some Baytril and some painkillers. The days following the visit and the first few doses of medication, he wasn't looking too good, his poops were funky so I gave him some probiotics (in the form of poop soup - gross but trust me, a game changer!), he lost some weight, wasn't eating, drinking (which is also a known side effect of Baytril) so I was preparing for the worst. But over the next days, he came back to his normal self and now he seems perfectly normal, eats, poops, pees (no visible blood - I obsessively watch it like some crazy lunatic) which, although delighted, I was a little conflicted of making a decision of proceeding with the operation or not.

Seeking a second opinion, I took him to a second vet today, who specializes in exotic small mammals, and her outlook was "don't rock the boat unless you have to". Mose currently is feeling good, his weight is good, he eats, drinks, he's not in pain (partly thanks to painkillers), he can move around perfectly, his tummy/bladder and vitals feels good (according to the vet), his bladder and tummy are not uncomfortable upon palpation, his urine is clear and doesn't show any signs of struggle while peeing/pooping. She recommended that we continue the course of antibiotics and try and reduce the dose of painkillers, and not perform a surgery right now until it's absolutely necessary. Although, not acting upon it doesn't come without risks, where the stone could get lodged in the urethra and cause a fatal and serious blockage, which would have to be treated immediately. She did also mention that the stone wasn't big enough to call for drastic measures, but it wasn't that small that it should be ignored. She then sent me on my way with another dose of Baytril, some more painkillers, and an appointment in 2-3 months to do some x-rays and take another look at how he's progressed. In the meantime, I'll be continuing to feed him low-calcium veg diet, lots of hay, very to no pellets, and filtered water. I will have to monitor him closely from now on, to make sure that his behavior is normal, he continues to urinate and isn't in pain. Morale of the story, operations are not a walk in the park and might not always be the best option for our little guys, especially if inaction is an alternative (mind you it's a risk to do nothing, just like it's a risk to go forward with the operation, and either have the piggy pass away on the table, never recover, or have stones come back shortly after the operation, at which point you start to ask yourself if it's fair to put him through the trauma once more).

You do hear some stories of guinea pigs living with stones and are perfectly happy. Yes, it does take some work, such as making sure that the bedding is as spotless as possible - I have fleece and I clean it up three times a day, switching out the fleece twice a week and the pee-pads as frequently as necessary - , monitor him a little more closely than usual (which for me happens to not be too bad since I can work from home), watching out for calcium in everything you give to him/her. Maybe other vets and/or individual will be of different opinion, although I would ultimately recommend that you seek advice from an experienced vet, and he/she can inform on what the next steps should be.

But ultimately - Hopefully it's not stones in your case!
 
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