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Help?! Tubs Lethargic And Not Eating (been To Vet, Nothing Obviously Wrong)

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Danielle Smith

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Tubs was neutered at the end of November, and while his initial recovery was slow and rocky, he started putting on weight and acting like his old self by the third week of December.

However, we took him (along with our other pig Flubs) with us visiting family over the Christmas period and noticed on our return he felt a lot skinnier. He'd never restarted eating pellets after the neuter, and he was starting to refuse most veg (even pepper; he was wolfing down spring greens and lettuce though). He was picking at hay, but not eating it voraciously like before we went to visit family.

Scales confirmed he'd lost 129 grams in 10 days (from 978g on 21st December to 849g on the 31st). We took him to the vet when we returned home on the 31st, and while his temperature was on the high end of normal and his eyes were crusty, the vet couldn't find anything immediately wrong (no abscesses, his teeth were okay, no bloat, no URI). We were sent away with advice to administer him extra Vit C (due to his refusal to eat most veg) and to restart his Loxicom (in case issues were pain-related).

Initially his poos were incredibly dehydrated (he normally doesn't drink much and I just didn't think that most of his water came from his veg :mal:), but have got better since we've started syringing him water. They are still small and malformed though. He's incredibly lethargic, preferring to stay in a cosy all day (not even coming out for hay).

The main problem is he's extremely difficult to get Critical Care into at the moment. After his neuter when he wasn't eating, it wasn't too bad -- he was so zoned out we could syringe him food easily. After he started to fight us, we offered Critical Care on a spoon and he gobbled it up.

However, at the moment he refuses most veg except for lettuce, and won't eat hay unless we feed it strand by strand (and even then we have issues). He won't take Critical Care from spoon or syringe; to get it down him both my partner and I have to hold him while he shakes his head and spits out/pushes out the CC with his tongue! We only manage a couple ml each session and he whines the entire time. The only thing he seems happy to eat is grass (which we don't have much of, just the end of some growing in a tray). His weight has stayed stable for the last couple of days, but he hasn't started putting it on again either.

We've scheduled him back in with the most cavvy-savvy vet in the area this Wednesday, but is there anything we can do in the meantime? Any tips whatsoever are appreciated; I'm at a real loss with him refusing the CC so passionately!
 

Lady Kelly

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I would try and put any of his favourites into it to try and get him to eat it. When Jemima first lost a load of weight I added some herbs and mashed up a small amount of carrot which helped her to take to the pellet mash a lot more easily. I could then leave a bit in the hutch with her while I was at work and she would continue eating it
 

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Tubs was neutered at the end of November, and while his initial recovery was slow and rocky, he started putting on weight and acting like his old self by the third week of December.

However, we took him (along with our other pig Flubs) with us visiting family over the Christmas period and noticed on our return he felt a lot skinnier. He'd never restarted eating pellets after the neuter, and he was starting to refuse most veg (even pepper; he was wolfing down spring greens and lettuce though). He was picking at hay, but not eating it voraciously like before we went to visit family.

Scales confirmed he'd lost 129 grams in 10 days (from 978g on 21st December to 849g on the 31st). We took him to the vet when we returned home on the 31st, and while his temperature was on the high end of normal and his eyes were crusty, the vet couldn't find anything immediately wrong (no abscesses, his teeth were okay, no bloat, no URI). We were sent away with advice to administer him extra Vit C (due to his refusal to eat most veg) and to restart his Loxicom (in case issues were pain-related).

Initially his poos were incredibly dehydrated (he normally doesn't drink much and I just didn't think that most of his water came from his veg :mal:), but have got better since we've started syringing him water. They are still small and malformed though. He's incredibly lethargic, preferring to stay in a cosy all day (not even coming out for hay).

The main problem is he's extremely difficult to get Critical Care into at the moment. After his neuter when he wasn't eating, it wasn't too bad -- he was so zoned out we could syringe him food easily. After he started to fight us, we offered Critical Care on a spoon and he gobbled it up.

However, at the moment he refuses most veg except for lettuce, and won't eat hay unless we feed it strand by strand (and even then we have issues). He won't take Critical Care from spoon or syringe; to get it down him both my partner and I have to hold him while he shakes his head and spits out/pushes out the CC with his tongue! We only manage a couple ml each session and he whines the entire time. The only thing he seems happy to eat is grass (which we don't have much of, just the end of some growing in a tray). His weight has stayed stable for the last couple of days, but he hasn't started putting it on again either.

We've scheduled him back in with the most cavvy-savvy vet in the area this Wednesday, but is there anything we can do in the meantime? Any tips whatsoever are appreciated; I'm at a real loss with him refusing the CC so passionately!
Please persist in syringe feeding and watering to get him through his crisis; it is absolutely vital! if necessary, try mushed up pellets or a mix of recovery food and pellets to cover the taste of the CC. The less you get in, the more often you need to feed round the clock. Never give more than he can swallow; one mouthful is around 0.3-0.5 ml. You have to insert the syringe sideways past his tongue. Our guide will help you with more tips.WEigh daily at the same time to monitor the food intake.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

Has your vet checked (apart from URI, which accounts for crusty eyes) whether there could be an abscess in the groin area? They can come up for up to half a year after a neutering op although the majority are making themselves known much earlier. Whether the current problem has got something to do with the neutering op or depends on your vet's findings.
 

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Don't worry, we've been keeping up the syringe feeding and watering, though he's still losing weight.

At his vet check today, the vet reported his tummy "not feeling right" and thought she could feel a lump (i.e. a deep abscess or bladder stone), though she's unsure if the "lump" could be something completely normal that is typically hidden by a full tummy/guts. Tubs is booked in to have an ultrasound on Friday.

We're so worried, he just looks so ill, even with upping his Loxicom. Every 20 minutes or so he'll get up onto his tiptoes, hunch/arch his back and let out a hissing sound (which makes me think it might be bladder-stone related?). Friday can't come soon enough. Sorry we didn't pick this up earlier Tubs. :(
 

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It sounds like he is struggling to pee somehow. Fingers very firmly crossed for Tubs!
 

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Can they not scan him before Friday? If whatever this is is making him so poorly they should really be moving a bit quicker.

Good luck, really hope you get an answers soon xx
 

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Afraid the radiographer is only available on Friday; the most piggy-savvy vet is around then too so she can hopefully have another look at Tubs and give a quick opinion on what needs done. One of the main issues is that a large guinea pig rescue has recently become established in the area, so the owner tends to have a monopoly on the piggy vet's time...
 

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His cries of pain are wrenching my heart :(. Poops are looking pretty good, if only because the OH is doing a sterling job of feeding him (1.5 hours/session for ~12-15ml of Critical Care, 4 sessions a day). Thank goodness for the extra holidays he'd saved up.

It's also really hammering home how poorly Tubs is, when Flubs next to him is a hearty hale pig, with fat tummy, wheeking loads, and poo-ing enough for both of them (you wouldn't be jealous of the attention Tubs is getting little one).

The appointment tomorrow can't come too soon.
 

Poppy'sMum

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Is he weeing ok ? What Metacam is he on? Dog or Cat one? You can also ask your vet for Tramadol pain relief which can be given as well as Metacam. Fingers crossed for you for tomorrow.
 

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As far as I can tell he's weeing (damp patches on vetbed when I put my hand under him after he's been squeaky).

He's on dog metacam and got a 2.5kg dose earlier (max vet told we could give, but doesn't seem to touch the pain).

I'll be sure to ask for Tramadol tomorrow (OH has been instructed to camp out in the vet clinic until we get some kind of answer as to what's wrong, he can't go another day like this.).
 

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Update. Tubs had an ultrasound scan this morning and they found multiple unexplained masses around 4mm in size all around his abdomen (kidneys, bladder, bowel were fine). The vet then asked if it was ok to open him up and have a look.

She found that multiple lymph nodes in his abdomen were the most inflamed she's ever seen... we're hoping it's a bacterial infection. He's now been put on two types of antibiotics (sorry didn't catch what they were, will find out when she calls with update) and is staying overnight at the clinic for observation. He woke up from the anesthesia relatively okay which is something, after his neuter he was completely loopy.

I really hope he pulls through tonight and that he starts to feel better. No wonder he was in so much pain. Wishing for an update tonight from the vet but I don't know how likely that is. Send us all your vibes please!
 

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Update. Tubs had an ultrasound scan this morning and they found multiple unexplained masses around 4mm in size all around his abdomen (kidneys, bladder, bowel were fine). The vet then asked if it was ok to open him up and have a look.

She found that multiple lymph nodes in his abdomen were the most inflamed she's ever seen... we're hoping it's a bacterial infection. He's now been put on two types of antibiotics (sorry didn't catch what they were, will find out when she calls with update) and is staying overnight at the clinic for observation. He woke up from the anesthesia relatively okay which is something, after his neuter he was completely loopy.

I really hope he pulls through tonight and that he starts to feel better. No wonder he was in so much pain. Wishing for an update tonight from the vet but I don't know how likely that is. Send us all your vibes please!
Bless him, you have done the right thing and now they know for sure what the problem is hopefully they can find out the cause and how to treat it.

My old girl has inflamed lymph nodes, surface ones in her groin and behind back leg (ofcourse no idea if internal ones are too, hasn't been picked up on any scans or X-rays though). She was found to have a UTI and is being treated for that (heading into week 3 of antibs, it is a persistent one). We are hoping the lymph nodes go down when the infection clears but so far no change.

Really hope it's good news for your little one soon x
 

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Picked Tubs up about 12pm. Got him home, he was huddled in the corner not moving -- however he's had a dose of vetergesic (buprenorphine) this morning so I'm not surprised he's so dozy. No poops in the >3 hours he's been home either.

However, the big issue is that he's not really swallowing. An hour after he'd arrived home, OH tried to syringe feed him and got about 7ml down him before I said enough (he wasn't fighting the syringe at all and was chewing really slowly). Upon returning to feed him 1.5 hours later, I checked his mouth and it was absolutely packed full of food (chewing does not equal swallowing, apparently). After scooping out what I could and flushing out his mouth, he seemed okay.

By very slowly syringing him close to his molars, he seemed to be chewing more than before and was swallowing (though not very much). I got about 1.5ml into him and plan to try again in an hour.

We were so frightened when we saw his mouth packed full of food. He also can't hold his head up for long and just looks so incredibly unwell. Has anyone got any tips for caring for pigs that are completely out-of-it on meds?

We've been given baytril and metronidazole to dose him up on twice a day for eight days. I'm really worried that even if he starts swallowing properly again, the meds will completely do his tummy in. We're planning on supplementing his feeds with Avipro (obviously at least 2 hours after his meds), but I'm worried this won't be enough. Any experience with using both of these antibiotics at the same time (or separately) would be appreciated.
 

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As most people on here probably know, I am not a fan of Buprenorphine, for the very reasons you are describing, Please don't force feed him if he isn't swallowing, the effects of this drug varies, I had a similar experience to you, my piggy was given too high a dose & spent 3 days in intensive care at the vets afterwards. It can take some time for the effects of the drug to subside, I would give him a few more hours to recover before trying to feed him & if he remains unresponsive then you might need to speak to the out of hours vet for advice x
 

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I use that more often now, Buprenorphine can also slow the guts down, which may be why he hasn't pooped as yet. He might sit looking spaced out a bit with the Buprenorphine as well. It should pass but can take longer in some piggies than others. You can use Metacam & Tramodol together, obviously he should have had more than enough pain relief today but tomorrow you would need to give his Metacam at least. Are your vets open tomorrow morning? If not you could ask the OOH vet for advice? x
 
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