• Discussions taking place within this forum are intended for the purpose of assisting you in discussing options with your vet. Any other use of advice given here is done so at your risk, is solely your responsibility and not that of this forum or its owner. Before posting it is your responsibility you abide by this Statement

Specialist Kidney stone in male guinea pig

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
Hi everyone, I'm new here and would really appreciate any help or advice that anyone can offer.

My male, unneutered guinea pig who is 4 years old was recently diagnosed with a kidney stone after a previous diagnosis of a unitary track infection.

The stone was successfully removed and his bladder flushed to remove sludge. He was then prescribed Buprenorhine, Loxicom, Co-trim and Potassium Citrate (the latter as a life-long treatment twice daily)

After the initial couple of days where he was a little under the weather, he seemed to recover well and was back to his usual self. However, the operation was 6 weeks ago and his vocalizing during urination has returned accompanied by straining and hunching. He is obviously in a great deal of discomfort and was off his food/drink for a few days. He also seemed to be suffering from diarrhea (which was most likely my fault as I was giving him water in a syringe to keep him hydrated)

After a further visit to the vets, a scan shows that another kidney stone has formed. He was weighed and had lost 30% of his body weight (he is a naturally slight pig to begin with) He has been prescribed Metacam daily which does not seem to be easing his discomfort at all.

I have asked the vet whether it would be possible to prescribe stronger pain relief for Mickey, together with an antibiotic and/or anti-inflammatory. I have also asked whether there is any medication that can dissolve the stone as the vet does not think he will survive another surgery, and even if he does, another stone is likely to form. The vet is awaiting a response from a specialist but in the meantime Mickey is suffering.

I am told that I need to consider euthanasia. This is a last resort for me and I would like to try any and every other option before this is decided. I am conscious however that in the meantime Mickey is extremely uncomfortable and in pain.

I must add however, that apart from when he is urinating he seems to be his usual perky self. His appetite and water intake have increased (I have also been supplementing this with syringe feeds) he will happily churp for his veggies in the morning and eat treats as usual and is more than happy to be petted and stroked. He is not docile or inactive in his cage. He seems alert and energetic the rest of the time.

I'm not ready to give up on my little guy, and I don't think that he is ready to give up either. Perhaps I'm fooling myself as I really don't want to make the difficult decision to have him put to sleep, but I'm prepared to do this if it really is the only option.

Please can I have your advice as to whether there is any treatment options that have not been mentioned and if it would in fact be the kindest option to have him euthanized.

I'm so heartbroken and upset that I need an outside perspective to provide some clarity.

Thank you in advance.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,108
Reaction score
48,924
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Hi everyone, I'm new here and would really appreciate any help or advice that anyone can offer.

My male, unneutered guinea pig who is 4 years old was recently diagnosed with a kidney stone after a previous diagnosis of a unitary track infection.

The stone was successfully removed and his bladder flushed to remove sludge. He was then prescribed Buprenorhine, Loxicom, Co-trim and Potassium Citrate (the latter as a life-long treatment twice daily)

After the initial couple of days where he was a little under the weather, he seemed to recover well and was back to his usual self. However, the operation was 6 weeks ago and his vocalizing during urination has returned accompanied by straining and hunching. He is obviously in a great deal of discomfort and was off his food/drink for a few days. He also seemed to be suffering from diarrhea (which was most likely my fault as I was giving him water in a syringe to keep him hydrated)

After a further visit to the vets, a scan shows that another kidney stone has formed. He was weighed and had lost 30% of his body weight (he is a naturally slight pig to begin with) He has been prescribed Metacam daily which does not seem to be easing his discomfort at all.

I have asked the vet whether it would be possible to prescribe stronger pain relief for Mickey, together with an antibiotic and/or anti-inflammatory. I have also asked whether there is any medication that can dissolve the stone as the vet does not think he will survive another surgery, and even if he does, another stone is likely to form. The vet is awaiting a response from a specialist but in the meantime Mickey is suffering.

I am told that I need to consider euthanasia. This is a last resort for me and I would like to try any and every other option before this is decided. I am conscious however that in the meantime Mickey is extremely uncomfortable and in pain.

I must add however, that apart from when he is urinating he seems to be his usual perky self. His appetite and water intake have increased (I have also been supplementing this with syringe feeds) he will happily churp for his veggies in the morning and eat treats as usual and is more than happy to be petted and stroked. He is not docile or inactive in his cage. He seems alert and energetic the rest of the time.

I'm not ready to give up on my little guy, and I don't think that he is ready to give up either. Perhaps I'm fooling myself as I really don't want to make the difficult decision to have him put to sleep, but I'm prepared to do this if it really is the only option.

Please can I have your advice as to whether there is any treatment options that have not been mentioned and if it would in fact be the kindest option to have him euthanized.

I'm so heartbroken and upset that I need an outside perspective to provide some clarity.

Thank you in advance.
Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry for the bad news!

Coming to terms with the the fact that there is nothing more that you can do is hard. Apart from death itself, it is the second most toughest moment because your grieving process starts right here. Your instinctive reaction is very normal in trying to block it out and stave it. However, when you do that you also deny yourself an important hidden gift that comes with living the end consciously and making every shared day special and make it count.

Mickey is not yet quite ready to die; he still has a zest for life. Please rather celebrate what you have while still have it. Unfortunately there is not much that can be done for guinea pigs with kidney failure. Since it is terminal you can go higher in painkillers and can use stuff that normally would not be recommended because of its long term side effects. :(
Concentrate on that and on enrichment instead. You will know when the time has come and Mickey has lost his zest for life; then is the time to let him go as the last and most loving gift you can ever make a beloved one.

Please take the time to read the information in the link below. You may find it very helpful as I addresses all the issues in a practical but sensitive way to help you through it time and make the best of it for the sake of both of you.
Death, Dying, Terminal Illness, Grieving and Bereaved Companions: Information and Support for Owners and Their Children
 
D

DMS260820

Am I reading this wrong? I didn't know kidney stones could be removed?
 

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
I'm so stupid, I think this should be bladder stone. Does this make a difference to the outcome at all?
 

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry for the bad news!

Coming to terms with the the fact that there is nothing more that you can do is hard. Apart from death itself, it is the second most toughest moment because your grieving process starts right here. Your instinctive reaction is very normal in trying to block it out and stave it. However, when you do that you also deny yourself an important hidden gift that comes with living the end consciously and making every shared day special and make it count.

Mickey is not yet quite ready to die; he still has a zest for life. Please rather celebrate what you have while still have it. Unfortunately there is not much that can be done for guinea pigs with kidney failure. Since it is terminal you can go higher in painkillers and can use stuff that normally would not be recommended because of its long term side effects. :(
Concentrate on that and on enrichment instead. You will know when the time has come and Mickey has lost his zest for life; then is the time to let him go as the last and most loving gift you can ever make a beloved one.

Please take the time to read the information in the link below. You may find it very helpful as I addresses all the issues in a practical but sensitive way to help you through it time and make the best of it for the sake of both of you.
Death, Dying, Terminal Illness, Grieving and Bereaved Companions: Information and Support for Owners and Their Children
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it.
 
D

DMS260820

I'm so stupid, I think this should be bladder stone. Does this make a difference to the outcome at all?
Yea quite big. I don't know for sure, but once. A Guinea pig gets kidney stones, it's sort of a waiting game until they have to be put to sleep. Il tag @Wiebke because I'm not sure.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,108
Reaction score
48,924
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
I'm so stupid, I think this should be bladder stone. Does this make a difference to the outcome at all?
Yes, it does. Bladder stone removal is a fairly straight forward procedure with a good recovery rate (provided the piggy is healthy and doesn't have any underlying problems) while kidney stones are inoperable. I had assumed that yours had been removed from the ureter (the pipe that leads from the kidney to the bladder) were removal is touch and go for the most experienced vets but occasionally comes off.
If a bladder stone fetches up in the urethra (the pipe between bladder and anus) then again, it can be a very tricky operation in boars as they have got an awkward inglenook were stones can fetch up and get stuck.
 
D

DMS260820

I'm taking it your vet either thinks it's a bad idea to do another operation because your boy has lost a fair bit of weight, and isn't all that young but isn't really that old either.

A diet changed to filtered water and only a very few amount of pellets a day with plenty of fresh grass fed, can help prevent bladder stone. Also a lower calcium diet on the veg side aswell

I don't know wether I would try another op and give him one last chance instead of being put to sleep would be the right thing to do? Obviously it's a lot of money involved aswell.
 

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
Yes, it does. Bladder stone removal is a fairly straight forward procedure with a good recovery rate (provided the piggy is healthy and doesn't have any underlying problems) while kidney stones are inoperable. I had assumed that yours had been removed from the ureter (the pipe that leads from the kidney to the bladder) were removal is touch and go for the most experienced vets but occasionally comes off.
If a bladder stone fetches up in the urethra (the pipe between bladder and anus) then again, it can be a very tricky operation in boars as they have got an awkward inglenook were stones can fetch up and get stuck.
Thank you for your prompt response. I have just read his discharge note which reads 'Mickey underwent a general anesthesia, cystotomy, urolith (stone) removal and bladder flush'

Does this clarify the matter at all?
 

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
I'm taking it your vet either thinks it's a bad idea to do another operation because your boy has lost a fair bit of weight, and isn't all that young but isn't really that old either.

A diet changed to filtered water and only a very few amount of pellets a day with plenty of fresh grass fed, can help prevent bladder stone. Also a lower calcium diet on the veg side aswell

I don't know wether I would try another op and give him one last chance instead of being put to sleep would be the right thing to do? Obviously it's a lot of money involved aswell.
Thank you for your reply.

The vet is unwilling to perform a further stone removal surgery as she feels that he most likely will not survive it, and even if he does, due to the speed at which the stone has returned it is most likely to return for a third time and the process would start again. She is of the option that the kindest thing to do is not put him through another operation.

I just want to make him as comfortable as possible at this point.
 
D

DMS260820

Thank you for your reply.

The vet is unwilling to perform a further stone removal surgery as she feels that he most likely will not survive it, and even if he does, due to the speed at which the stone has returned it is most likely to return for a third time and the process would start again. She is of the option that the kindest thing to do is not put him through another operation.

I just want to make him as comfortable as possible at this point.
Ok I understand 👍I didn't realise it was the 3rd time I thought it was 2nd
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,108
Reaction score
48,924
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Thank you for your prompt response. I have just read his discharge note which reads 'Mickey underwent a general anesthesia, cystotomy, urolith (stone) removal and bladder flush'

Does this clarify the matter at all?
Yes, this is a bladder stone removal. Cystotomy is the cutting open of the bladder.
 

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
Yes, this is a bladder stone removal. Cystotomy is the cutting open of the bladder.
Thank you, I apologise for the confusion.

Do you know of any pain relief which is stronger than the Metacam which I can request from the vet please? I was only given a few days supply in any case. Or any other medication which would help Mickey feel more comfortable?
 

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
Sorry that you and your boar are in this position x
Thank you, I appreciate that. The vet has put it down to unfortunate genetics (I have another boar who is fed the same diet who does not suffer with bladder stones)

I just can't make such a final decision until I'm sure I've exhausted all other options.
 
D

DMS260820

Thank you, I appreciate that. The vet has put it down to unfortunate genetics (I have another boar who is fed the same diet who does not suffer with bladder stones)

I just can't make such a final decision until I'm sure I've exhausted all other options.
I've had 2 same family boars before on the same diet, one boar got 3 bladder stones and his bro had no bladder issues at all
 

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
I've had 2 same family boars before on the same diet, one boar got 3 bladder stones and his bro had no bladder issues at all
I guess some pigs are just the unlucky ones. It's heartbreaking and feels so unfair when you've done 'everything right' as my vet assures me.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,108
Reaction score
48,924
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Yes, this is a bladder stone removal. Cystotomy is the cutting open of the bladder.
Have you looked at diet? Most calcium comes from water and pellets and not so much from veg, so filtering the water and reducing the pellets to max. 1 tablespoon a day does make a huge difference in combination with a diet that should have a fair amount of fresh grass (if available and dog pee free) and high water veg in the veg allotment to encourage urination (but please don't overdo it either - too much veg can make a piggy more prone to bloating). Again, it is not a quick fix; it will take a few weeks of working its way through the body.

Calcium absorption is a complex process and it depends on what has gone wrong. There is a certain genetic disposition or it can just flip, as my Cariad (Ceri's relative did). she produced a large bladder stone within weeks and then for a while required regular bladder flushed to wash out the sludge that kept building up (which thankfully didn't take a full GA and could be done during a consultation). I did eventually manage to prolong the intervals between flushes to about half a year until she became too frail for them. But she did have another 2 years of life and made it through a full emergency spaying op when her womb went wrong with flying colours.

Please take the time to read our diet advice for guinea pigs with urinary tract problems in the special diets chapter: Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets

Another area where you can support the healing process of the beleaguered bladder is glucosamine to help repair the scratched natural glucosamine coating in the bladder and urinary tract and contribute to the overall comfort; this in turn helps also with the weight gain.

My Ceri weighed a borderline 520g when she underwent an emergency bladder stone operation; she'd gone down from 700g over the weekend despite syringe feeding support. But she was back to 700g again within 2 weeks after the op. Once the stone is remove the source of the worst discomfort is removed so piggy often bounces back rather quickly. She was my last bladder stone piggy and a hangover from the time I experimented with the diet and for a while got it exactly wrong with a stone that had built up very slowly but had never caused any symptoms. That was 7 years and about 50 piggies ago... so our diet recommendations do work. We have seen a lot less bladder stones in regular longer term members in the intevening years.

Your boy is by no means at death's door yet and has a good chance of making it with your help, which would not have been the case with a kidney stone. ;)
 
Last edited:

Piggymomma29

New Born Pup
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
33
Reaction score
14
Points
50
Location
England
Have you looked at diet? Most calcium comes from water and pellets and not so much from veg, so filtering the water and reducing the pellets to max. 1 tablespoon a day does make a huge difference in combination with a diet that should have a fair amount of fresh grass (if available and dog pee free) and high water veg in the veg allotment to encourage urination (but please don't overdo it either - too much veg can make a piggy more prone to bloating). Again, it is not a quick fix; it will take a few weeks of working its way through the body.

Calcium absorption is a complex process and it depends on what has gone wrong. There is a certain genetic disposition or it can just flip, as my Cariad (Ceri's relative did). she produced a large bladder stone within weeks and then for a while required regular bladder flushed to wash out the sludge that kept building up (which thankfully didn't take a full GA and could be done during a consultation). I did eventually manage to prolong the intervals between flushes to about half a year until she became too frail for them. But she did have another 2 years of life and made it through a full emergency spaying op when her womb went wrong with flying colours.

Please take the time to read our diet advice for guinea pigs with urinary tract problems in the special diets chapter: Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets

Another area where you can support the healing process of the beleaguered bladder is glucosamine to help repair the scratched natural glucosamine coating in the bladder and urinary tract and contribute to the overall comfort; this in turn helps also with the weight gain.

My Ceri weighed a borderline 520g when she underwent an emergency bladder stone operation; she'd gone down from 700g over the weekend despite syringe feeding support. But she was back to 700g again within 2 weeks after the op. Once the stone is remove the source of the worst discomfort is removed so piggy often bounces back rather quickly. She was my last bladder stone piggy and a hangover from the time I experimented with the diet and for a while got it exactly wrong with a stone that had built up very slowly but had never caused any symptoms. That was 7 years and about 50 piggies ago... so our diet recommendations do work. We have seen a lot less bladder stones in regular longer term members in the intevening years.

Your boy is by no means at death's door yet and has a good chance of making it with your help, which would not have been the case with a kidney stone. ;)
Thank you so much for your post which has been very informative and I'm now feeling much more optimistic. I will mention glucosamine to my vet and bladder flushing to see whether these are possible options. I will also read the suggested article and examine pigs diet.

Thanks again 😊
 
Top