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Persistent mild bloat - boar

GusandPeanut

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Hi everyone,

I have posted about this pig in the past - sorry if you want me to roll it into the other thread from a while back, and I will do.

Peanut is one of our two pigs, 5 years 6 months old. He's had recurring issues of bloat over the past few months in addition to recurrent impaction that we clear regularly. His first instance of bloat in late November was quite serious but he recovered. He received injections of gut motility and painkiller medication and then a week or two course of syringe feeding and medicine at home. Since then he's had two more acute mild instances - end January, and end March. Each time he has had an injection of a gut motility drug and a painkiller, come home and been OK after a day. His most recent recovery looked very strong as he was getting up to higher weights than ever before We had been continuing to syringe feed him, but only a low amount, to help support him - about 30g/ml a day (before he started getting ill, Peanut was 1450g - he went all the way down to close to 1200, and before today had got back up to 1350 and was stabilising there with lowered and lowered syringe feeds). He has been very enthusiastic for syringe feeds - no need to wrap him up, and once going as far as getting too excited and biting the hand holding the syringe...

Given his consistent problems we have been daily weighing and Peanut lost a bit of weight last night. He seemed otherwise fine, subjectively eating his hay and not rejecting his syringe feed at all. His belly also seemed fine, not how we usually find it when bloated. However, we suspect he has some bloat again this morning - his belly is a bit firmer, he's rejecting his syringe feed and not interested in much. Vets open at 8.30 so we're going to ring and take him in.

We're worried about what this regular discomfort is doing, both for his overall happiness and life expectancy. He doesn't struggle with his impaction - we check regularly, and also know the signs of when he's experiencing it, and he is very happy when we sort that out. The bloat is, obviously, unavoidable, however, and we're struggling to deal.

I've read the resources on the forum already about gut problems and so on and am quite well briefed in giving care to the guinea pig when he has it. However, I'm struggling for long term care. We have asked the Vets for their opinion but due to an issue with phone numbers are still waiting on that - can anyone give any subjective advice on this forum about what to do? Since the March 20th incident he's not had any fresh vegetables while we monitor him - especially as he still has episodes of impaction. He's been on a diet of good quality feeding hay (Burgess Feeding Hay with Hedgerow Herbs, which is meadow, as well as Timothy hay) along with his regular syringe feeds of Science Selective Guinea Pig Food pellet mash.

Thanks as always,

Theo
 

Wiebke

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Hi everyone,

I have posted about this pig in the past - sorry if you want me to roll it into the other thread from a while back, and I will do.

Peanut is one of our two pigs, 5 years 6 months old. He's had recurring issues of bloat over the past few months in addition to recurrent impaction that we clear regularly. His first instance of bloat in late November was quite serious but he recovered. He received injections of gut motility and painkiller medication and then a week or two course of syringe feeding and medicine at home. Since then he's had two more acute mild instances - end January, and end March. Each time he has had an injection of a gut motility drug and a painkiller, come home and been OK after a day. His most recent recovery looked very strong as he was getting up to higher weights than ever before We had been continuing to syringe feed him, but only a low amount, to help support him - about 30g/ml a day (before he started getting ill, Peanut was 1450g - he went all the way down to close to 1200, and before today had got back up to 1350 and was stabilising there with lowered and lowered syringe feeds). He has been very enthusiastic for syringe feeds - no need to wrap him up, and once going as far as getting too excited and biting the hand holding the syringe...

Given his consistent problems we have been daily weighing and Peanut lost a bit of weight last night. He seemed otherwise fine, subjectively eating his hay and not rejecting his syringe feed at all. His belly also seemed fine, not how we usually find it when bloated. However, we suspect he has some bloat again this morning - his belly is a bit firmer, he's rejecting his syringe feed and not interested in much. Vets open at 8.30 so we're going to ring and take him in.

We're worried about what this regular discomfort is doing, both for his overall happiness and life expectancy. He doesn't struggle with his impaction - we check regularly, and also know the signs of when he's experiencing it, and he is very happy when we sort that out. The bloat is, obviously, unavoidable, however, and we're struggling to deal.

I've read the resources on the forum already about gut problems and so on and am quite well briefed in giving care to the guinea pig when he has it. However, I'm struggling for long term care. We have asked the Vets for their opinion but due to an issue with phone numbers are still waiting on that - can anyone give any subjective advice on this forum about what to do? Since the March 20th incident he's not had any fresh vegetables while we monitor him - especially as he still has episodes of impaction. He's been on a diet of good quality feeding hay (Burgess Feeding Hay with Hedgerow Herbs, which is meadow, as well as Timothy hay) along with his regular syringe feeds of Science Selective Guinea Pig Food pellet mash.

Thanks as always,

Theo
Hi!

Unfortunately, it very much depends on what is causing the symptoms. Impaction is not curable and is going to get gradually worse.

Working out what is causing mild bloating in older piggies cannot be quite easy and may not in all cases be solvable; especially if there is an underlying issue causing it (something pressing on the gut or pain radiating into it); which can also impact on the impaction issue. Your vet may also want to check for a thickened bowel or whether there is another parasitic/bug issue in the gut.
Older piggies can develop a tender digestion when food absorption is no longer working optimally.

All the best!
 

GusandPeanut

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Hi!

Unfortunately, it very much depends on what is causing the symptoms. Impaction is not curable and is going to get gradually worse.

Working out what is causing mild bloating in older piggies cannot be quite easy and may not in all cases be solvable; especially if there is an underlying issue causing it (something pressing on the gut or pain radiating into it); which can also impact on the impaction issue. Your vet may also want to check for a thickened bowel or whether there is another parasitic/bug issue in the gut.
Older piggies can develop a tender digestion when food absorption is no longer working optimally.

All the best!
Thanks as always Wiebke. We've taken him to the vets a few times and he's had an xray among other things. The vet can't see anything specifically, no issues that would impact the gut physically, and suspect it's just because he's a little bit older.

After the last incident the vet once again gave him gut motility and painkillers via injection, and a sachet of critical care powder. He was much better, feeling himself within the day. We asked about future incidents and the vet said we may be able to take the gut motility drug as a prescription, as it were, for use when we see the signs of bloating, and we'd investigate it if he was ill again.

Peanut did seem ill again yesterday - he was lethargic, turning down his syringe feed (though we could still get a considerable amount in him without him being distressed), and nibbled hay without being as super interested as he usually is when presented with a new pile to munch on. His belly was larger, but not tight, still 'squishy', and we made a plan to ring the vet in the morning.

However, on advice seen here and from the vet, we had bought some gripe water. He absolutely hated the stuff, but we got 3ml into Peanut at 9.30pm and then another 2ml a few hours later, about 12am, before bed, and gave him a massage each time. It seemed to do the trick? For the rest of evening he was less tired, more into eating his hay, and this morning he is doing the things he does when he's happy (sitting outside in his cage, eating hay, moving around, chatting to his brother, and accepting a full 25ml syringe feed gladly - he tries to bite our hands when we're not getting it to him fast enough!). He looks considerably less 'round' and a massage all over his belly reveals no hardness/tightness, just squishy. He looks as normal as he ever has been.

Question for anyone with experience - with gripe water, is this something only to be used acutely, when bloat might be present, or something to be given regularly to keep any potential unseen flareups at bay?

Thank you :)
 

Wiebke

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Thanks as always Wiebke. We've taken him to the vets a few times and he's had an xray among other things. The vet can't see anything specifically, no issues that would impact the gut physically, and suspect it's just because he's a little bit older.

After the last incident the vet once again gave him gut motility and painkillers via injection, and a sachet of critical care powder. He was much better, feeling himself within the day. We asked about future incidents and the vet said we may be able to take the gut motility drug as a prescription, as it were, for use when we see the signs of bloating, and we'd investigate it if he was ill again.

Peanut did seem ill again yesterday - he was lethargic, turning down his syringe feed (though we could still get a considerable amount in him without him being distressed), and nibbled hay without being as super interested as he usually is when presented with a new pile to munch on. His belly was larger, but not tight, still 'squishy', and we made a plan to ring the vet in the morning.

However, on advice seen here and from the vet, we had bought some gripe water. He absolutely hated the stuff, but we got 3ml into Peanut at 9.30pm and then another 2ml a few hours later, about 12am, before bed, and gave him a massage each time. It seemed to do the trick? For the rest of evening he was less tired, more into eating his hay, and this morning he is doing the things he does when he's happy (sitting outside in his cage, eating hay, moving around, chatting to his brother, and accepting a full 25ml syringe feed gladly - he tries to bite our hands when we're not getting it to him fast enough!). He looks considerably less 'round' and a massage all over his belly reveals no hardness/tightness, just squishy. He looks as normal as he ever has been.

Question for anyone with experience - with gripe water, is this something only to be used acutely, when bloat might be present, or something to be given regularly to keep any potential unseen flareups at bay?

Thank you :)
I would not recommend to give gripe water (UK herbal anti-colic) regularly but I have found it often effective with mild off-and-on bloating experiences to use whenever there was an episode as it seems better at dispersing the bubbles than simethicone based products which gather the gas into one large bubble - good for a thick, short carnivore gut, not good for a thin and long herbivore one.
Piggies either love or hate the taste - mine usually love it.
 

GusandPeanut

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Yeah, I looked at the ingredients and it's dill seed oil - I would have thought he'd love it, given he adored dill, but oh well. Haven't tasted it myself.

Would you recommend continuing to give it once the mild bloat seems to be gone, or just while it seems acute?

Thanks so much again.
 

Wiebke

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Yeah, I looked at the ingredients and it's dill seed oil - I would have thought he'd love it, given he adored dill, but oh well. Haven't tasted it myself.

Would you recommend continuing to give it once the mild bloat seems to be gone, or just while it seems acute?

Thanks so much again.
Only give it when really needed.
 

GusandPeanut

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Hi everyone,

Peanut has unfortunately had a particularly bad episode that necessitated out of hours care.

The out of hours vet gave him Emeprid and Metacam injections. With his history the vet suggested Peanut may have a blockage caused by a tumour or similar, and a scan would be appropriate. They offered a scan right there. I told them Peanut had a scan in late November and that nothing showed up. I also asked whether a scan right now would be of benefit to him, and she said that they wouldn't be able to do anything over the next few hours even with a scan that showed a result. I said we would be taking him to our regular vets first thing in the morning and she was satisfied with this with the injections in him.

We took Peanut to the vets today and saw the most experienced/senior member of the staff. She was happy with his overall energy, breathing, heart, etc., but did note the bloat was quite bad. The vet has given him another injection of Emeprid and is content to send him home. We discussed his history and she has given us Cisapride, Metacam and Emeprid. We are to give these regularly over the next few days, and then we are keeping a store for when he gets poorly in the future. His belly has already softened and shrunk a little bit, and while his appetite isn't quite back yet, he is interested in the smell of hay, people, etc., though we will just let him hide and rest after his syringe feed.

We discussed the potential for tumours/cancer causing the issues. Our vet is of the opinion from his history that she wouldn't have thought this, given our timeline. She said that they can do scans, and they can do it without sedation once the bloat has receded, but that there's no guarantee they'll find anything. Plus, she asked us what treatment we could realistically take on a 5.5 year old boar if they did have cancer or a tumour, given that the relevant treatments are likely to be quite dangerous as well as potential biopsy. Our vet is of the view that the result of any blockage is the bloat, and if we can effectively treat that, it's going to be the best for his wellbeing.

As an additional they've given us a bag of Protexin Pro Fibre - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Protexin-Pro-Fibre-Rabbits-800g/dp/B003Y3ZNZW is the bigger container. She said we can feed this as pellets or, while his appetite is down, feed it via syringe. Does anyone have experience with Protexin Pro Fibre and recommended dosage?

Thanks as always.

Theo
 

GusandPeanut

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Peanut unfortunately died this morning. Despite a stronger painkiller from the vet yesterday morning and round-the-clock feeds and Emeprid and Metacam topups, he just wasn't getting better. He was getting progressively slower with his feeds. His 3am one was very difficult, and when we woke for his 6am feed Peanut was slightly on his side and seemed to be struggling. We rang the out of hours vet but he passed away, relatively peacefully, in our hands, before our lift to the vets had even arrived. I'm immensely grateful that we were able to spend his last minutes with him. It sadly seemed like a bloat too far.
 

Wiebke

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GusandPeanut

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Thank you for the kind thoughts, and the resources. We're keeping a close eye on Chester, his adoptive brother.

Peanut died at approximately 6am Saturday and we left him in the cage with Chester for a few hours while we got some rest and while waiting for the vets to open. We went in and encouraged Chester on a little route around Peanut at 11am - I presume Chester would have visited the body in the hours since but, we wanted to be sure he'd definitely seen it and had his chance to register that Peanut had passed away. We then took the body away for a day of mourning for us soppy humans, and then Peanut was returned to the vets at 11.30am Sunday.

Chester seems pretty OK. He isn't exploring his cage as much as he might, but we have found poo's each morning in every corner, and he is eating the hay piles. His play area in our living room, which is really just an open alcove from which he can roam, is comfortable for him, and he's still eating, drinking, and so on, in there, though he obviously isn't quite as excited to roam without company to do it (except me and my partner running around on our hands and knees and playing with him...)

He is the guinea pig's guinea pig, and we'll need to sort a companion for him, but we've been surprised at just how comfortable he is coming to the human seating areas for extra cuddles, and he's been quite happy to set up shop with us and have lots of hay and his veggies while sat with us on the sofa, and has taken to cuddling up to his human mum which is adorable.

His weight did drop a little on the first day, if not significantly - 1485g down to 1458g, a total of 27g. We presumed that might be due to the grieving process, the fact there was lots of movement in the home, and just general disruption. It has dropped, but far slower, to 1445g, 13g today, and we're generally content as he has plenty of enthusiasm for the world around him, he is pooping lots (as much as he possibly can while on our sofa), he is very very excited for feeds, and he's drinking at least 20ml of water a day. We are going to get him checked out at the vets at the end of the week anyway, but we'll get him seen sooner if he continues to drop weight. I am tempted to give him a couple of syringe feeds as a 'treat' either way - we used to feed Peanut on the sofa, with one of us sat on the floor, and if you made the mistake of putting the pellet mash bowl on the floor Chester would smell it in seconds and come speeding in to start eating out of it and usually knock it over...:doh:
 
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