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Multiple problems on CT scan

Leilalouise

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Hi, I’ve not posted for a while but I could do with some advice on the situation I find myself in with one of my girls.

Briefly, Sinead is about 5.5 years old and has been plagued by problems for the past few years. She has been spayed for ovarian cysts, has long term bladder issues (sludge/IC managed with diet, Metacam & Glucosamine) and recently had surgery for an inner eyelid growth.

About a week ago she started being picky about her food and lost some weight. I monitored her weight for 48 hours but then took her to the vet as she started to have what looked like coughing/choking episodes and was dribbling food back out rather than swallowing. Vet looked at teeth and did an ultrasound which showed a fluid-filled mass in her abdomen so referred us to exotic vet.

Exotic vet examined her and carried out bloods and whole body CT. the results have come back as a myriad of problems:
Teeth-no problems
Chest-small nodule in lung, maybe scarring from previous infection or slight possibility of metastatic spread from liver/kidney lesion
Liver-cystic mass, probable benign cyst, small possibility of neoplasia
Left kidney-cystic mass, probable benign cyst, small possibility of neoplasia
Gallbladder-inflamed and possible gallstone
Bladder-very small, severely thickened with stone and sludge and some small stones present through tract
Spine-abnormality of 2 thoracic vertebra, probably congenital
Left shoulder-severe osteoarthritis
Both stifles (back legs)-moderate osteoarthritis

After a long discussion with vet he thinks the things that need action are her bladder and possibly gallbladder so we have 3 options:
1. Invasive surgery-remove the gallbladder entirely and go into bladder to remove stone and flush sludge.
2.Non-invasive surgery-bladder flush with catheter under anaesthetic.
3. Hyper-hydration - inject fluid under skin for several weeks which the body will absorb and use to flush system naturally. This will be combined with the use of Potassium citrate and additional painkiller such as Tramadol and Gabapentin.

Sooo, bearing in mind she is an older girl and has 3 anaesthetics in the last month already (2 in 2 days this week!) we have opted initially for the hyper-hydration for 3 weeks followed by ultrasound to look at progress as the vet said he has seen good results with this treatment. This should hopefully greatly impact her bladder and with a modified diet of no fatty or sugary food together with painkiller her gallbladder may settle down too. If the ultrasound shows no improvement we are thinking of the bladder flush as next option. We are going to vet on Monday to be trained in the Injection technique so I can carry out the procedure at home.

I suppose I just wanted to be reassured about my actions. She is an older girl but despite her problems she was active and cheerful until last week. She now seems OK on the painkiller and vet mentioned that she was bright so I don’t think her time to sleep has arrived yet. On the other hand I don’t think major surgery is an option so we’ll see if she responds and hope for the best. Any suggestions or comments would be gratefully received.

Finally, one note of caution to anyone with limited vet funds-please consider insurance or at least a very healthy savings pot-just this episode has cost in the region of £1200 so far with gloomy prospects of bills to come. This is on top of a post-neuter abscess in another pig and a long journey with a fatal pneumonia in yet another pig since lockdown. I’ve stopped looking at my bank statements! Not ideal but thank goodness for credit cards! Overtime please 😁
 

hannahs26

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Oh gosh, what a worry for you. Sinead is lucky to have you looking out for her so well! I hope the hyperhydration goes well and it makes her a lot more comfortable. 🤞
 

Swissgreys

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In your situation I am pretty sure I would make exactly the same choice.
Everyone is different and at the end of the day yo are providing more than adequate care for your piggy who is clearly very loved.
There is not a right or wrong decision here - whatever you choose will be the right thing for her.
Sending lots of healing vibes from Switzerland for you and your piggy. :hug:
 

Leilalouise

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Thank you to everyone for your good wishes and comments. @Swissgreys it’s reassuring to know that you would do the same.

I also had a long chat with Suzygpr yesterday, where Sinead came from, and after seeing the results of her CT scan she also agreed that major surgery would not be a fair choice. In light of all her ailments and age we are going to go with non-invasive options and supportive care until this no longer works- a short amount of good quality life is preferable to a longer amount of miserable existence.
Thanks again everyone, I’ll keep you posted. x
 

Piggies&buns

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I’m so sorry she is not well. I have to agree also that I’d go for the option you have chosen. Your statement about a short amount of good quality time is my feeling. Best wishes
 

Leilalouise

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Well I’ve been for my training today to perform the hyperhydration at home. The vet nurse was very thorough, explained clearly and made it look easy. I came away happy that I would be able to manage. Well one session in and I am a nervous wreck! It is SO much more difficult than it looked!

Things I have learned:
1. GPs have skin like a rhino
2. They really shriek and that makes you feel like the worst person in the world
3. They can kick sideways like a cow
4. It hurts when they wriggle, needle slips and you stab your hand instead
5. vet nurses are incredible

I daresay it’ll get easier with practice but I’m not looking forward to the next session. I suspect neither is Sinead...
 

Leilalouise

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Well I’ve done a complete 360 in my decision-making!

I managed the hyper-hydration for only five days before calling a halt. I have never seen such a distressed pig in my life and I’m surprised I didn’t need hydration myself after all the tears I shed. Poor Sinead looked like a bloodied, balding patchwork pincushion and after she started screaming whenever I went to touch her, I decided enough was enough. I’m not a vet nurse and was causing more pain and suffering with my attempts.

Spoke to vet and he suggested bladder flush followed by ultrasound to see outcome and also look at how gallbladder was doing. So that was the plan...BUT after doing a few sums and thinking about trying to minimise procedures, as she would need a GA for bladder flush (£450) and then ultrasound (£200), we decided to just do the surgery anyway (gallbladder removal and removal of stone/sludge from urinary bladder - £850). She is currently bright and happy on her painkillers and Potassium citrate now that the nasty stabby fluids have stopped, eating and putting on weight so vet thinks she has a good chance of coming through surgery and it’s now or never. Another thing about the surgery is that if the vet thinks the kidney/liver masses are nasty then we can just not wake her up & spare her a decline.

I feel both relieved by this and terrible that she is going for surgery after all. sorry for the long post again, just had to get that off my chest with people who understand. Thanks x
 

Leilalouise

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Thank you so much. This has to be one of the worst situations that I have gone through. It’s being made worse by the ‘how much money?!’ and ‘it’s just a GPig’ comments. I live on my own and my pigs are my family. At least I have this forum to metaphorically hold my hand. Thank you again. x
 

rhymer

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Really hope all goes well for surgery.
Never think 'it's only a guinea pig', it's your family and means the world to you.
Love is never measured by size and to be honest I would rather have my Furbabies than most people.x
 

Leilalouise

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Just dropped Sinead off for her surgery. We have agreed that if it looks bad inside we won’t proceed and she will just go to rainbow bridge. Am in bits already. Fingers crossed. x
 

Swissgreys

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Thinking of you and Sinead today and wishing both of you strength.
Please do let us know how it goes.
We are here for you and Sinead and will support you with whatever lies ahead.
 

Leilalouise

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Well Sinead is now home minus a gallbladder and a lot of urinary bladder sludge but luckily there no big bladder stones. The vet showed me photos taken of the surgery which were both gruesome and interesting. I feel so bad that I chose to put her through such an ordeal but vet said he was pleased with the way surgery went and she has a good chance of recovery. She has come home with a whole medicine cabinet of supplies to get her through the next few days. She is very very sleepy still, it’s actually quite pitiful to see her so silent and motionless. I have to keep an eagle eye on her tonight and ring vet tomorrow with a progress report. I don’t think I’ll get much sleep tonight but my girl is absolutely worth it. Here’s hoping.
Thank you so much to everyone for their good thoughts so far. It means a lot. x
 

Betsy

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Sinead will feel a bit groggy with all the meds and the anaesthetic. When Betsy came back from her spay operation she was groggy and was drugged up to the eyeballs and looked well out of it. She still took a bit of syringe food though.
 

Leilalouise

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My poor Sinead passed away a short time ago. I sat up with her all night but she showed no inclination to move at all and I struggled to get her to feed or take meds. Her bottom lip was droopy and she was just limp. About 30 mins ago her breathing changed then she made some twisting motions with her neck, a few big gasps and she was gone. My poor girl, her body just couldn’t cope with such an insult. I so wish I hadn’t taken her for the surgery and just stuck with my first plan of management. She was happy and bright this morning and now she’s gone. The guilt is crippling. I’m so upset. x
 

Siikibam

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I’m so sorry for your loss. You did what you thought was right so please please try not to feel guilty. You have her what you felt she needed. And you can’t know whether she may have survived longer without the surgery either.

Take good care of yourself. 💞
 
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