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Please help - urethral stone in elderly sow

CrazyHairedPiggies997

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this will be long - sorry!

Hi guys,
It’s been ages since I posted. I’ve had the hardest time the last few months regarding my piggies. Sadly, I’m now down to 1 elderly (6yrs ish) girl, after losing her last companion 5 days ago. In 1 year I’ve lost 4 piggies all to completely different non preventable reasons (apart from the most recent passing who had no clinical signs at all, so I don’t know what happened😭).
Unfortunately, it’s my remaining piggy whom I need advice for.
2 weeks ago I noticed her genitals looked swollen (will try and insert a rubbish photo!) I initially presumed it was a heat cycle but after a week this never cleared up. I must add; regrettably, I don’t know when this started. She is my only short haired pig so her bottom is the one I checked the least I’ve also been working 12 hour shifts due to corona, and am chronically ill, so my boyfriend has taken over most of their care.
She has been to my very skilled vets who have done xrays and dip tests (still waiting for the results of those, hopefully tomorrow). Xrays showed an extremely dense, and large foreign body virtually at the end of her urethra, most likely a bladder stone. How it got this far down with no signs we have no clue!
Amazingly, she is still showing no signs, eating, drinking, pooing and weeing FINE?!? Me, my vet and nurse are so confused as to why or how she can wee, but she can. She’s fine?
I am at a complete loss what to do - other than treat any infection (if it is there/confirmed tomorrow) we feel it’s best to preserver? If it were to cause a blockage I would of course risk the GA & operate, but we all agreed the risk of losing her under is to great considering she’s fine in herself?
Has anyone EVER, seen or heard of this before? The xrays were obviously conscious due to her age, so we were unable to get a lateral & they’re not perfect align, but the ‘blockage’ feels spherical but obviously we can’t be 100% sure. I would also like to add there were no signs of any other stones in her bladder, none that showed up on X-ray, But this ‘blockage’ was denser than bone, so we would’ve easily seen others on the X-ray.
Any advice welcome, I am so puzzled!
Many thanks ❤
 

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Wiebke

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this will be long - sorry!

Hi guys,
It’s been ages since I posted. I’ve had the hardest time the last few months regarding my piggies. Sadly, I’m now down to 1 elderly (6yrs ish) girl, after losing her last companion 5 days ago. In 1 year I’ve lost 4 piggies all to completely different non preventable reasons (apart from the most recent passing who had no clinical signs at all, so I don’t know what happened😭).
Unfortunately, it’s my remaining piggy whom I need advice for.
2 weeks ago I noticed her genitals looked swollen (will try and insert a rubbish photo!) I initially presumed it was a heat cycle but after a week this never cleared up. I must add; regrettably, I don’t know when this started. She is my only short haired pig so her bottom is the one I checked the least I’ve also been working 12 hour shifts due to corona, and am chronically ill, so my boyfriend has taken over most of their care.
She has been to my very skilled vets who have done xrays and dip tests (still waiting for the results of those, hopefully tomorrow). Xrays showed an extremely dense, and large foreign body virtually at the end of her urethra, most likely a bladder stone. How it got this far down with no signs we have no clue!
Amazingly, she is still showing no signs, eating, drinking, pooing and weeing FINE?!? Me, my vet and nurse are so confused as to why or how she can wee, but she can. She’s fine?
I am at a complete loss what to do - other than treat any infection (if it is there/confirmed tomorrow) we feel it’s best to preserver? If it were to cause a blockage I would of course risk the GA & operate, but we all agreed the risk of losing her under is to great considering she’s fine in herself?
Has anyone EVER, seen or heard of this before? The xrays were obviously conscious due to her age, so we were unable to get a lateral & they’re not perfect align, but the ‘blockage’ feels spherical but obviously we can’t be 100% sure. I would also like to add there were no signs of any other stones in her bladder, none that showed up on X-ray, But this ‘blockage’ was denser than bone, so we would’ve easily seen others on the X-ray.
Any advice welcome, I am so puzzled!
Many thanks ❤
Hi!

I am very sorry for your losses. Of course you feel extra jittery right now!
Human Bereavement: Grieving, Coping and Support Links for Guinea Pig Owners and Their Children

Urethral stones in sows usually fetch up just before the opening and cause the kind of swelling you are seeing. They are generally pretty easy to get out; often by a little manipulation or with a small cut to help ease the stone out. But it does not necessarily require a large operation and definitely not a full GA!
I've had a couple of sows with them over the years; the stones could be got out without a GA right away during the consultation in a matter of 5-10 minutes, depending on the size.

In rare cases they can block the urine flow, so as soon as you see your sow looking off, you need to have her seen by a vet as an any time of the day emergency to prevent the urine backing up into the kidneys, which can be fatal.

Here is our emergency advice: Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment

Here is our diet advice for guinea pigs with bladder stones and other urinary tract issues: Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment
 

CrazyHairedPiggies997

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Hiya thanks for your response. Currently that’s exactly what I’m doing, monitoring her as it’s not causing any blockage yet. I wish I took a photo of the X-ray yo show just how large it is, probably around 1cm but could be larger. My vet is really concerned that he won’t be able to get it out even under GA, and even considered pushing it back up into the bladder and removing it from there if surgery is the only option. She really doesn’t like it being touched so manipulating something of that size out when she’s conscious is highly unlikely!
To my knowledge a GA is safer as it’s easier to reverse than sedation as you just turn off the gas!? Whereas sedation requires reversal drugs and you have less control? (I work in the veterinary field but as an ANA not RVN.)

I really appreciate your guys’ help and time x
 

KathT

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I have a sow who had the same thing last year. Fortunately the vet was able to just sedate her and manipulate the stone out. She was sore for a few days but was on anti inflams so that helped. Her stone was about 8mm so it is possible it may come out with a bit of help. Good luck and I hope everything goes well for you and your piggie.
 

Wiebke

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Hiya thanks for your response. Currently that’s exactly what I’m doing, monitoring her as it’s not causing any blockage yet. I wish I took a photo of the X-ray yo show just how large it is, probably around 1cm but could be larger. My vet is really concerned that he won’t be able to get it out even under GA, and even considered pushing it back up into the bladder and removing it from there if surgery is the only option. She really doesn’t like it being touched so manipulating something of that size out when she’s conscious is highly unlikely!
To my knowledge a GA is safer as it’s easier to reverse than sedation as you just turn off the gas!? Whereas sedation requires reversal drugs and you have less control? (I work in the veterinary field but as an ANA not RVN.)

I really appreciate your guys’ help and time x
One of the stones stuck in the urethra was that size if it is of any consolation to you. It is painful to get it out but very quick and the relief is also immediate.
The oldest sow that I had to have operated was just a month short of her 7th birthday (removal of a large fleshy cyst).

You and your vet have to go with what you are happiest with of course.
 

CrazyHairedPiggies997

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thanks everyone, waiting for the urine results today and will treat any infection first. Fingers crossed she passes it herself if not we may attempt to remove. It’s just a hard choice considering she’s got no symptoms and seems fine! Don’t want to lose her during the op if not necessary x
 

CrazyHairedPiggies997

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Results are back and she had blood and protein in her urine. We have baytril for 5 days and will then reassess. obviously we will keep a close eye until then and any changes will be seen ASAP x
 

Pound Shilling & Pig

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To my knowledge a GA is safer as it’s easier to reverse than sedation as you just turn off the gas!? Whereas sedation requires reversal drugs and you have less control? (I work in the veterinary field but as an ANA not RVN.)

I really appreciate your guys’ help and time x
Hi, you are correct a GA is gas and oxygen and a safer option for piggies, for the reasons you state. As others have said this is often not needed at all but if in your case it is required she will only be under for a very short time.
If this is something your vet is not familiar with they will understandably be a bit alarmed at the prospect of how to remove it. When I relocated to where I live now and had to find a new vet, she was equally alarmed when I presented her with a sow with a ureathral stone. As I had worked at my previous vets I was able to explain how they removed them. So she gave my piggy a quick GA and went ahead. She made a tiny cut to widen the opening and was amazed at how quick and easy the procedure turned out to be. I would imagine it will be a similar experience for your vet.
urethral stones in sows are more common than people realise, often because they don't present with any clinical problems so go unnoticed.
They are not usually bladder stones that have got stuck there but have formed in situ from a build up of calcium deposits, as reflected by their shape, which is not round like bladder stones usually are.
Hope all goes well for your girl
 

CrazyHairedPiggies997

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Hi, you are correct a GA is gas and oxygen and a safer option for piggies, for the reasons you state. As others have said this is often not needed at all but if in your case it is required she will only be under for a very short time.
If this is something your vet is not familiar with they will understandably be a bit alarmed at the prospect of how to remove it. When I relocated to where I live now and had to find a new vet, she was equally alarmed when I presented her with a sow with a ureathral stone. As I had worked at my previous vets I was able to explain how they removed them. So she gave my piggy a quick GA and went ahead. She made a tiny cut to widen the opening and was amazed at how quick and easy the procedure turned out to be. I would imagine it will be a similar experience for your vet.
urethral stones in sows are more common than people realise, often because they don't present with any clinical problems so go unnoticed.
They are not usually bladder stones that have got stuck there but have formed in situ from a build up of calcium deposits, as reflected by their shape, which is not round like bladder stones usually are.
Hope all goes well for your girl
Thank you for your response. I’ll have another chat with him on Saturday when I next see him. I have got baytril for 5 days as some infection was present. Does it not cause damage to the urethra squeezing the stone out? Or lots of pain? I don’t want her uncomfortable! X
 

Pound Shilling & Pig

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Thank you for your response. I’ll have another chat with him on Saturday when I next see him. I have got baytril for 5 days as some infection was present. Does it not cause damage to the urethra squeezing the stone out? Or lots of pain? I don’t want her uncomfortable! X
It will cause some pain squeezing it out, yes, which is why if it is too big to come out without too much difficulty a quick GA may be necessary and sometimes a tiny cut to avoid damaging the ureathra. Your vet will probably give her metacam too.
 
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