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Mysterious Case Of Bloat

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Carla&Glitch

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#1
Recently two of my gorgeous piggies have died because of a mysterious bloating. I would appreciate any advice or experiences that might help save my last remaining piggie. This has been the most horrible month.

I'll give you some background on how we keep our pigs and what has happened since February.
All 3 guinea pigs live in a 5x2 (+ 2x2 loft) C&C cage. They are indoor piggies but have a large run outside for the summer months. They haven't been on the grass for a number of months now as it is freezing. The loft has a base of back-2-nature pellet things to soak up wee and they sleep on unlimited hay. They also have a constantly stocked hay rack and usually a number of things to hide under. I change the hay they sleep on every day and clean out any wet corners each day. Of course, we also do a full change regularly. They eat the Excel nuggets, have fresh water every day available. They don't get treats (only a piece of fruit occasionally) and they got a big bowel of veggies every day. Usually this is mostly different types of lettuce (not iceberg) and some other veggies (we variate this). Favourites include broccoli, carrot, celery, spinach, cucumber etc etc etc. They are (were) particularly vocal about receiving the veggies and always come out of their hiding places screaming for food when there are people around.

It's very quiet in my house now.

It started about a month ago. Millie (approx 3 years old) had been 'a bit off' for a week. She'd been very quiet, still eating but not as keen to run around or come out of her hiding places for food. She then, on a Friday, went downhill really fast. I noticed when I got back from work that she'd probably been in the same place all day. The vets was closed, so I thought that we'd take her in the morning first thing. The Saturday morning I got up really early to find her limp and whimpering. We rushed her to the vets and after an x-ray and some painkillers the vet could see there were 3 huge pockets of gas in her tummy. They were pushing on her lungs, she could hardly breath. There was no obvious blockage. She was in a lot of pain, limp, cold. The vets tried warming her up, getting some fluids in her but it wasn't hopefully. We had the horrible decision to help end her suffering. We feel very guilty for not taking her in earlier, as we are normally much more attentive to possible illnesses.

Ginny (approx 4 years old) was very quiet after this. This was her best friend (we had got them both from a rescue centre). She started getting all snotty and her nose crackled when she breathed. Clearly a URI. So off we went to the vets again where we were prescribed Baytrill.
Of course, Glitch (6) then also became sniffly so she too started on the Baytrill. After a week there was no improvement. So we moved them onto Sulfatrim. Glitch seemingly got better after a week but Ginny hadn't made much improvement. Off we went to the specialist vet for a second look. He said she was doing fine, just needed another 2 weeks on Sulfatrim.

Ginny still seemed better but not recovered. Glitch was crakly again, so the vet had said to start her back on the Sulfatrim. We also gave Glitch Fibraplex twice a day because her tummy was rumbling. Can I add, at this point both piggies were eating hay and drinking water fine and we had cut out/down their veggies dramatically to not upset their little tummies. On the Sunday night both guinea pigs enjoyed a really long cuddle and both left us a mountain of poos in our laps to clear up.
Then on the Monday (of week 4 antibiotics) Ginny took a turn for the worst. She didn't drink or eat all day and she hadn't produced a single poo. Considering yesterday she had pooed completely normally this was worrying. We started put her on a vibrating pad and gave her a little critical care and some water. Off we went to the vets again. An x-ray confirmed she was also full of gas. Three pockets. After a cocktail of injections and oral medicines, including things to get her gut moving, pain relief, infacol, critical care and our vet talking to the specialist vet to make sure everything was covered. She stayed at the vets all day and they hand fed her and made she she moved about regularly. She was uncomfortable but still moving around. She was shaking. Her face seemed very long and drawn.

We took her home that evening to hand feed her critical care every hour (which we did religiously all night) and a drop of infacol and another medicine once in the night (name not to hand at the moment). No poos. A bit of diarrhoea and the smallest poo at 11pm. She is now dragging herself around when forced to move and looked very uncomfortable. We tried the vibrating pad again for short periods of time and tried to keep her moving. The next day she went back to the vets for the day, this time with Glitch who has now begun to have short and smelly poos. Glitch seemed visibly upset. At this point I've stopped the antibiotics. The vets did the same procedures as the day before, but xrayed both pigs. Still no poos from Ginny. Glitch is pooing fine and chomping on hay happily.

On arrival at the vets she took us through the x-rays. Ginny has now become visibly worse, she looked awful, her eyes were running, she couldn't breath very well. Her stomach is huge still nothing is working. The xray shows the pockets have become larger. Glitch's xray showed one huge pocket of gas. She had also been treated all day for that gas. There was not much else the vet felt she could do for Ginny and that now we need to concentrate on finding out what is wrong and save Glitch. We once again, had to decide that Ginny shouldn't suffer any further.
The vet operated on Ginny afterwards to see what had happened inside. It was a torsion. But we don't know if that caused the gas or if the gas cause the torsion.

So here we are, today is the day after Ginny died. Glitch is a bit glum, but she never liked the other pigs much anyway. She's eating the good bits of the hay (if I pick them out for her) but she's not got much interest in doing much, although she has been storming around the floor after a cuddle. She now has a wet bottom (I think from staying in the same place all night). She's still pooing but they are irregular. I can feel the huge pocket of gas and I've tried vibrating it to help. She's quite happy to sit and be vibrated. The vet says to give her a drop of infacol and fibraplex is continuing. We are waiting on stool sample results.

What/where can we go from here? How can we save Glitch?

Millie hadn't been on any antibiotics so what could have happened there? Could it be the antibiotics that have caused the bloat?

Any advice or comment welcomed.
 

sport_billy

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#3
Hello, welcome to the forum sorry it is in really tough times and sad circumstances. First of all I am so sorry for the loss of Millie and Ginny

I have had bloaty piggies in the past and lost a girl to bloat it is horrendous, my heart goes out to you for what you are going through. It is obvious you are doing everything humanly possible to get to the root of this.

It is really strange all piggies have had bloat. Can I ask your location please? Hopefully we can recommend a specialist vet nearby.

So 'Glitch's' xray has shown gas - I presume the vet has ruled out any gut obstruction this way?

Is Glitch on Metachlpromide (emeprid) or Zantac at home? They work on different parts of the gut and should keep things moving through these are vital in helping gas bloat.
The jury is out on infacol it works i believe in "coalesce's" gas bubbles.....and would normally only be intended for short term treatment of bloat, I have no experience of it however.

I would be asking for gut stimulants mentioned above and keep up with the vibration . I am tagging in some health and illness experts and people with experience of top of my head with bloat @Adelle @furryfriends (TEAS) @helen105281 @Abi_nurse @Beans&Toast @Stewybus
 

helen105281

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#4
I am at the end of my lunchbreak but will try to come back on before I leave work. I am so sorry you lost both of your girls.
 

Adelle

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#5
I'm so sorry for the loss of your girls :-(

The first thing jumping out at me is the infacol- this makes gas collect in one big bubble making it harder to pass. Gripe water is more suitable as it helps break it up. Ofcourse I'm not saying this is the problem but it would definately be a good starting point.

The name of the other meds will really help us. As sportbilly mentioned, Zantac and emeprid/metacloprimide are a must. Is the gas in the stomach or guts? These 2 drugs work on opposite ends of the digestive tract and should be adjusted depending on the area of gas. My sows stomach ballooned with gas to an alarming size (seen on X-ray) but her guts where completely empty. We lowered the Zantac but upped the metacloprimide and it helped shift it. Iv always been prescribed 0.3ml per kg of ranitidine/Zantac every 12 hours and 0.5ml metacloprimide every 12, but every 8 hours in the instance mentioned above.

Trickle feeding is also really helpful. Feed a tiny amount very frequently to give things a chance to get through before filling her up again. I used grass and hay only for trickle feeding , literally a few blades of grass every half hour. Obviously unlimited hay. This was pure fibre so really helped with getting things moving. If she really isn't eating on her own then do the same with critical care- just 1-2 ml every half hour to an hour.

I would stay clear of veg as you have been doing. Did they have any new or unusually large amounts of a particular veg before this all happened? Any new pellets or hay?

Ofcourse this could all could just be a horrible coincidence and your first little girl succumbed to one of those fatal bloat attacks that appear out of nowhere, and your two other girls both got bloat from the antibiotics. I would add another probiotic into your remaining sows meds routine- pro-c from pets at home is good, given 1-2 hours after each dose of antibiotic. If her antibiotics are over then just give 3 times a day.

The other possibility is your first girl also had a URI but wasn't showing any symptoms, and it got worse very quickly. Bloat can often happen when there is another health issue as it makes the guts slow down.. This could explain why all 3 have had bloat issues too.

I really hope your vet can get to the bottom of this soon for your remaining girls sake. X

Edit: there is also domperidone which also works on emptying the stomach if this is where the gas is. I have never used it on my sows but if metacloprimide isn't working , this may be an alternative to try. I'm sure @Beans&Toast has used it on her sow X
 
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Jaycey

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#8
I third gripe water. And getting Metoclopromide and/or Zantac from the vet. I've found a quicker reaction is from the vet giving Metoclopromide and/or Zantac by injection as it gets straight into their system and isn't sitting in their stomach like when it's given orally.

Infacol isn't recommended as it turn the bubbles into one giant bubble and makes it hard to pass. Plus it's very sugary and not good for a pig with a compromised digestive system.

Try to keep her active, and use vibration when you can.

Also, if she is pooping and peeing then keep hand feeding her to keep the digestive system moving. The gas will nake her feel full, and with her being in pain she's unlikely to want to eat herself.

Don't lose hope. Bloat is tough but not an impossible battle. I had a boar survive it twice so it is possible.

Lots of hugs and good luck vibes coming your way.
 

Stewybus

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#10
I'm really sorry for your sad losses as you've tried so hard for them. I'm busy myself with a poorly piggy so haven't had chance to read every reply thoroughly.

3 things I can add are ask your vet for Cisapride as from what you have said it is possible your piggies died from stasis. I believe all vets prescribing antiobiotics, especially Baytril should prescribe this along side the antibiotic. Emiprid & Zantac are good but Cisapride is best. Infacol shouldn't be given to piggies but I see it often being recommended. It causes small bubble to join and firm big bubbles which the piggy finds hard to pass. it is better to use old fashioned gripe water such as Woodwards or Boots own brand.

A heat pad such as a snugglesafe is also a good addition as 6 minutes in a microwave can give up to 12 hours warmth.

I do hope you can save your last piggy and then go on to find her a new friend. My heart goes out to you for your losses and hope that just some of the info I've given will help x
 

Carla&Glitch

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#11
Hi Stewybus, thank you so much for your advice I will let my vet know about the gripe water and the medicines you've suggested. We're trying to keep her eating and drinking and we'll keep going with the fibraplex. I was a bit worried about the infacol from what I had read, so I will stress what you have said too to our vet and hopefully she'll have some ideas. Sorry to hear you also have a poorly pig, and thank you for taking the time to respond.
 

Carla&Glitch

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#12
I'm so sorry for the loss of your girls :-(

The first thing jumping out at me is the infacol- this makes gas collect in one big bubble making it harder to pass. Gripe water is more suitable as it helps break it up. Ofcourse I'm not saying this is the problem but it would definately be a good starting point.

The name of the other meds will really help us. As sportbilly mentioned, Zantac and emeprid/metacloprimide are a must. Is the gas in the stomach or guts? These 2 drugs work on opposite ends of the digestive tract and should be adjusted depending on the area of gas. My sows stomach ballooned with gas to an alarming size (seen on X-ray) but her guts where completely empty. We lowered the Zantac but upped the metacloprimide and it helped shift it. Iv always been prescribed 0.3ml per kg of ranitidine/Zantac every 12 hours and 0.5ml metacloprimide every 12, but every 8 hours in the instance mentioned above.

Trickle feeding is also really helpful. Feed a tiny amount very frequently to give things a chance to get through before filling her up again. I used grass and hay only for trickle feeding , literally a few blades of grass every half hour. Obviously unlimited hay. This was pure fibre so really helped with getting things moving. If she really isn't eating on her own then do the same with critical care- just 1-2 ml every half hour to an hour.

I would stay clear of veg as you have been doing. Did they have any new or unusually large amounts of a particular veg before this all happened? Any new pellets or hay?

Ofcourse this could all could just be a horrible coincidence and your first little girl succumbed to one of those fatal bloat attacks that appear out of nowhere, and your two other girls both got bloat from the antibiotics. I would add another probiotic into your remaining sows meds routine- pro-c from pets at home is good, given 1-2 hours after each dose of antibiotic. If her antibiotics are over then just give 3 times a day.

The other possibility is your first girl also had a URI but wasn't showing any symptoms, and it got worse very quickly. Bloat can often happen when there is another health issue as it makes the guts slow down.. This could explain why all 3 have had bloat issues too.

I really hope your vet can get to the bottom of this soon for your remaining girls sake. X

Edit: there is also domperidone which also works on emptying the stomach if this is where the gas is. I have never used it on my sows but if metacloprimide isn't working , this may be an alternative to try. I'm sure @Beans&Toast has used it on her sow X
Hi Adele,

Thanks for that extremely helpful post, I think I'll call the vets tomorrow with all of your information and see if she'll prescribe those medications. We haven't been feeding them anything different to normal and I've always been conscious of too many greens/grass and bloat (I have been through bloat before with Glitch when I put her on the grass a bit prematurely one year).

Thanks so much for your help.
 

Carla&Glitch

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#13
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has replied on here. Although I had been trawling every post on every forum I could find it's good to have some advice specific to this horrible situation.

For the person who asked where we are, we're in Sheffield. I'm waiting to hear from my vet who's written to the specialists in Manchester.

I'm not sure where the gas is in their system, but I will ask the vet in the morning. In the x-ray of Glitch it was a big pocket stretching all the way along her left side, pretty much from bottom to top.

In regards to the medicines, the other one we got for Ginny was Emeprid (I'm going to look up what this actually is)... I know she also got metac and ... I'll see if I can get a full list of the vets.

Glitch seems very subdued at the moment and is less interested in hay now. :(
 

Beans&Toast

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#14
Sorry I've just seen this, so sorry for everything you're going through.

I've been dealing with Toast's bloat for well over a year. It's caused dental issues amongst other things and at its worst I thought I was going to have to have her PTS. It's been exhausting and so difficult so I sympathise. It came out of no where and even to this day nor myself or my vets know exactly why it's happening - despite several test/ x-rays etc.


I've worked out that several things cause her bloat and she cannot have the following;

Grass, any hay apart from Timothy hay, cabbage, broccoli, pak choi, sweetcorn, lettuce, any pellets... basically the only veg that agrees with her is coriander, pepper and green beans so I feed these in very small quantities, her diet is 95% hay. I will often not give her any veg for a few days until the bloat calms down.

She has bloat at least once a week, sometimes it's constant for days at a time. I've tried Emeprid and Cisapride and neither on these worked well. My vet done a bit of research and we tried Domperidone. That along with Ranitadine has worked the best out of all the medications we've tried.

She's currently on 0.5ml of Domperidone every 12 hours and 0.3ml of Ranitadine every 12 hours also. If she's having a particularly bad bloat episode then she gets Ranitadine 3 times a day, 6 hours apart. I've found it works better to give the Domperidone and Ranitadine within 10, 15 minutes of each other.

She has also been on Fibreplex 1ml 3 times a day. It works very well but unfortunately is very expensive.

I tried Infacol in the beginning and it made things worse, gripe water worked much better and I give 0.3ml 3 times a day when needed.

Sorry if none of this helps, although Toast still suffers from bloat it's been far better since giving her a very limited selection of veg and changing to Domperidone instead of Emeprid or Cisapride.

When she's very gassy, I pick her up and massage her tummy whilst she's sitting on a heat pad. Normally she'll let out a big fart then the gas starts to disperse. :P

I hope you can get your little pig sorted, I know how hard it is :hug:
 

Carla&Glitch

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#15
Sorry I've just seen this, so sorry for everything you're going through.

I've been dealing with Toast's bloat for well over a year. It's caused dental issues amongst other things and at its worst I thought I was going to have to have her PTS. It's been exhausting and so difficult so I sympathise. It came out of no where and even to this day nor myself or my vets know exactly why it's happening - despite several test/ x-rays etc.


I've worked out that several things cause her bloat and she cannot have the following;

Grass, any hay apart from Timothy hay, cabbage, broccoli, pak choi, sweetcorn, lettuce, any pellets... basically the only veg that agrees with her is coriander, pepper and green beans so I feed these in very small quantities, her diet is 95% hay. I will often not give her any veg for a few days until the bloat calms down.

She has bloat at least once a week, sometimes it's constant for days at a time. I've tried Emeprid and Cisapride and neither on these worked well. My vet done a bit of research and we tried Domperidone. That along with Ranitadine has worked the best out of all the medications we've tried.

She's currently on 0.5ml of Domperidone every 12 hours and 0.3ml of Ranitadine every 12 hours also. If she's having a particularly bad bloat episode then she gets Ranitadine 3 times a day, 6 hours apart. I've found it works better to give the Domperidone and Ranitadine within 10, 15 minutes of each other.

She has also been on Fibreplex 1ml 3 times a day. It works very well but unfortunately is very expensive.

I tried Infacol in the beginning and it made things worse, gripe water worked much better and I give 0.3ml 3 times a day when needed.

Sorry if none of this helps, although Toast still suffers from bloat it's been far better since giving her a very limited selection of veg and changing to Domperidone instead of Emeprid or Cisapride.

When she's very gassy, I pick her up and massage her tummy whilst she's sitting on a heat pad. Normally she'll let out a big fart then the gas starts to disperse. :P

I hope you can get your little pig sorted, I know how hard it is :hug:
Hi there,
Thanks for your advice. Sorry to hear your piggy has also been poorly too. How do you massage Toasts tummy? Glitch is very sensitive to anything touching her tummy, she sounds quite whimpery when I try to touch it.
 

Beans&Toast

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#16
Hi there,
Thanks for your advice. Sorry to hear your piggy has also been poorly too. How do you massage Toasts tummy? Glitch is very sensitive to anything touching her tummy, she sounds quite whimpery when I try to touch it.
Yeah Toast isn't that keen on it either she usually purrs at me to stop but she has gotten used to it now.

Emm.. I'm not sure how to describe it. I find heat works well so I put her on a heat pad or put a warm towel/fleece over her and rub her sides with both hands in circular motions... I lightly tap along her sides with my fingers as well to help dislodge any gas bubbles. I use a bit of force when massaging, not too hard so that it's painful but also not so light that it has no affect...

Sometimes I find it works best to sit her on a flat table or something, other times she prefers it if I hold her against me whilst rubbing her sides. I've found it doesn't always work, but usually it does and you can hear the bubbles and the gas coming out...
 

Carla&Glitch

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#17
Yeah Toast isn't that keen on it either she usually purrs at me to stop but she has gotten used to it now.

Emm.. I'm not sure how to describe it. I find heat works well so I put her on a heat pad or put a warm towel/fleece over her and rub her sides with both hands in circular motions... I lightly tap along her sides with my fingers as well to help dislodge any gas bubbles. I use a bit of force when massaging, not too hard so that it's painful but also not so light that it has no affect...

Sometimes I find it works best to sit her on a flat table or something, other times she prefers it if I hold her against me whilst rubbing her sides. I've found it doesn't always work, but usually it does and you can hear the bubbles and the gas coming out...
Brilliant thank you. Don't know if she'll let us touch her sides too much but we'll give it a go. She sounds so hollow to tap.
 

Adelle

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Brilliant thank you. Don't know if she'll let us touch her sides too much but we'll give it a go. She sounds so hollow to tap.
Definately get her on a heat pad or something similar, hot water bottle (obviously wrapped up so its not too hot but warm enough that it heats her tummy). Try that first then massage after and repeat. It might make things a bit more comfortable for her. Did you manage to get any gripe water? It could help her overnight and you can get it in the baby isle in 24 hour asda or tescos. It's in a white box and made by woodwards X
 

Carla&Glitch

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#20
Definately get her on a heat pad or something similar, hot water bottle (obviously wrapped up so its not too hot but warm enough that it heats her tummy). Try that first then massage after and repeat. It might make things a bit more comfortable for her. Did you manage to get any gripe water? It could help her overnight and you can get it in the baby isle in 24 hour asda or tescos. It's in a white box and made by woodwards X
I didn't get any gripe water but we did the massaging/hot water bottle for hours and I genuinely think her stomach doesn't feel as big or as firm. I could feel it grumbling doing the massages and then she rewarded us with lots of poo's. Hopefully thats a good sign. I got up again at 4am to give her a massage/new hot water bottle and check she was still eating properly and drinking water. She was fine, very perky (considering I woke her up). She was also happy to chomp on hay and had a big drink. Think I'll keep going with this regime (and get some gripe water) today.
 
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