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Specialist Severe Bloat in a 3 Year Old Sow

Viv52k

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I'm new to this forum, I made it today because I'm desperate for some support and advice from fellow guinea pig owners. Saturday the 4th of July I noticed that Cali was bleeding from her genital area, not excessively but she was leaving little drops of blood on her bedding. I was very concerned thinking it could be a UTI, bladder stones or ovarian cancer so I rushed to the emergency vet. At this point she was still eating, drinking, pooping and acting exactly the same. After an x-ray it showed that she had severe inflammation around her stomach and intestines as well as many large pockets of gas. I was beyond shocked as Cali hadn't bloated up quite the way I've heard of other pigs showing, even the vet didn't expect bloat to this extent. She's been prescribed 0.28 g of Sucralfate 3 times a day and 0.22 g of Metronidazole 2 times a day. On top of this I'm I'm giving 1ml of baby ovol which is 40 g of Simethicone 3 times a day, as well as subcutaneous fluids about once a day but I haven't been able to give it consistently because I struggle to do it alone. So about one full day into all the medications the bleeding stopped completely but Cali stopped eating her pellets, started eating less hay and stopped pooping for one afternoon as well. I'm glad the bleeding stopped but I suspect that she might have an ovarian tumor or cyst that the bloat aggravated, I'm not financially able to deal with this so I'm just trying to give her a comfortable life. Since the 6th I've started feeding her about 40 g of critical care daily. I suspect that the medications might explain her lack of eating more than the bloat, as treatment seems to be going well and shes pooping again! I bought a vibrator to give her tummy massages after giving her ovol which seems to really help and I can feel a noticeable difference in her belly area. Yesterday the 8th I finally was able to get my hands on some bene bac which is a probiotic that I'm planning on giving every second day as directed. So here we are now, I'm still syringe feeding critical care which she takes enthusiastically but refuses to eat on her own :( , we have one more day of Sucralfate, another week of Metronidazole and I'm planning on giving ovol until I'm certain shes has significantly less gas. I've stopped all veggies except an occasional leaf of lettuce to keep her morale up but I don't know where to go from here, how can I tempt her back into eating herself, even if its just critical care from a bowl? I know shes probably not hungry enough to eat herself because I'm hand feeding her multiple times a day but I'm scared to stop or decrease the amount and risk gut stasis. I'm beyond happy shes pooping regularly but they still arent back to normal, we get a couple of regular ones mixed in with long banana shaped ones and very tiny tiny ones but the color does seem normal.
 

Piggies&buns

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I’m sorry to hear she is so unwell.

You can’t stop syringe feeding her the critical care until she starts to eat for herself. Syringe feeding her won’t stop her from eating hay for herself though. She will eat hay when she is feeling up to it and until then you need to continue to support feed. You will Need to weigh her every day to ensure she is getting enough critical care fed to her.

I see that you’ve got one more day of medication left, so I would check in with the vet and see if they feel she needs to be prescribed some more or If they are happy with her progress

Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
Digestive Disorders: Diarrhea - Bloat - GI Stasis (No Gut Movement) And Not Eating
 

Wiebke

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I'm new to this forum, I made it today because I'm desperate for some support and advice from fellow guinea pig owners. Saturday the 4th of July I noticed that Cali was bleeding from her genital area, not excessively but she was leaving little drops of blood on her bedding. I was very concerned thinking it could be a UTI, bladder stones or ovarian cancer so I rushed to the emergency vet. At this point she was still eating, drinking, pooping and acting exactly the same. After an x-ray it showed that she had severe inflammation around her stomach and intestines as well as many large pockets of gas. I was beyond shocked as Cali hadn't bloated up quite the way I've heard of other pigs showing, even the vet didn't expect bloat to this extent. She's been prescribed 0.28 g of Sucralfate 3 times a day and 0.22 g of Metronidazole 2 times a day. On top of this I'm I'm giving 1ml of baby ovol which is 40 g of Simethicone 3 times a day, as well as subcutaneous fluids about once a day but I haven't been able to give it consistently because I struggle to do it alone. So about one full day into all the medications the bleeding stopped completely but Cali stopped eating her pellets, started eating less hay and stopped pooping for one afternoon as well. I'm glad the bleeding stopped but I suspect that she might have an ovarian tumor or cyst that the bloat aggravated, I'm not financially able to deal with this so I'm just trying to give her a comfortable life. Since the 6th I've started feeding her about 40 g of critical care daily. I suspect that the medications might explain her lack of eating more than the bloat, as treatment seems to be going well and shes pooping again! I bought a vibrator to give her tummy massages after giving her ovol which seems to really help and I can feel a noticeable difference in her belly area. Yesterday the 8th I finally was able to get my hands on some bene bac which is a probiotic that I'm planning on giving every second day as directed. So here we are now, I'm still syringe feeding critical care which she takes enthusiastically but refuses to eat on her own :( , we have one more day of Sucralfate, another week of Metronidazole and I'm planning on giving ovol until I'm certain shes has significantly less gas. I've stopped all veggies except an occasional leaf of lettuce to keep her morale up but I don't know where to go from here, how can I tempt her back into eating herself, even if its just critical care from a bowl? I know shes probably not hungry enough to eat herself because I'm hand feeding her multiple times a day but I'm scared to stop or decrease the amount and risk gut stasis. I'm beyond happy shes pooping regularly but they still arent back to normal, we get a couple of regular ones mixed in with long banana shaped ones and very tiny tiny ones but the color does seem normal.
Hi!

I am very sorry. You don't see bleeding as a symptom of severe bloat, but in a sow it usually means that there is something serious wrong with an ovarian cyst. As the gut wraps tightly around the reproductive system, it is often impacted. Unlike severe bloat, which is the problem itself and which comes in waves, you are rather dealing with a bloat that is a secondary complication to an ongoing problem which has been masked by the bloat and inflammation in the area. Unfortunately guinea pigs can suppress awful internal conditions for very long; it is often a make or break emergency operation in the hope to save a life.
What I suspect is that you are now starting to see is the underlying problem at the bottom of it all coming more into play now that you are getting on top of the secondary issues to a good degree. :(

Is your girl any painkillers? Pain is the worst appetite killer.

Please be aware that simethicone collects gas into one large bubble. this makes it easier for dogs or cats to expel either way but not guinea pigs with their long thin gut.

I find a very little fresh herbs like coriander/cilantro or parsley, or a little fesh grass that is dry go down best. Ideally you syringe feed a little before you offer any fresh food, at first in a very small quantity to not trigger another bout of bloat and then continue topping up with feed. Unlike with predatory pet species who can fast, guinea pigs can't. They will only stop eating when they quite literally can't so you need to continue support feeding round the clock or have an honest and open discussing with your vet about medium to longer term recovery chances and how much you can/want to put your girl through. This is a grey area, where there is no right or wrong as long your girls welfare and comfort is coming top with any decision but where your own bodily/time and financial resources also have to be taken into account as well as any chances of her making a full and sustainable recovery.

You may find these guides here helpful:
Digestive Disorders: Diarrhea - Bloat - GI Stasis (No Gut Movement) And Not Eating
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment

A Practical and Sensitive Guide to Dying, Terminal Illness and Euthanasia in Guinea Pigs

All the best! Unfortunately it is a very difficult situation with no easy way out. I feel for you!
 
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Viv52k

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I've been calling my vet for 4 days straight now, I feel like I'm basically in this alone. Because its the only emergency exotic vet in my area and they just opened up again due to covid, I think they're incredibly overwhelmed, and unfortunately that means I've been unable to receive any service from them. Even if I physically go in I'll just see someone new who's working that day. The Sucralfate is ending tomorrow but its prescribed to prevent stomach ulcers and stuff so I think that was originally given to prevent any further irritation. The Metronidazole was prescribed as an antibiotic and a bowel stabilizer I believe and I still have another week of that. I've been weighing her but I have nothing to compare to from the past as I didn't have a scale until recently. So far she hasn't lost any significant amount of weight though.
 

Viv52k

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Thank you all for the replies. I definitely believe that this is a symptom of something else like you said but I'm not certain what to do, I can't afford further investigation so I'm just assuming this has to do with her ovaries. And I know already I'll be unable to afford any kind of surgery for that. I feel guilty that she basically has a death sentence due to my lack of funds but I got her when I was still just a kid and I didn't think about this kind of stuff happening. Now I'm uncertain if giving her up to a rescue is more moral in hopes that she gets the proper care she deserves, but what about her sister then. She hasn't been prescribed any sorts of painkillers but like I said I'm unable to get in contact with any vet, maybe I'll try to make another in person appointment and pay the consultation fee again. She doesn't squeak when she poops or is palpated by me so that gives me some hope that she isn't in unbearable pain yet.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you all for the replies. I definitely believe that this is a symptom of something else like you said but I'm not certain what to do, I can't afford further investigation so I'm just assuming this has to do with her ovaries. And I know already I'll be unable to afford any kind of surgery for that. I feel guilty that she basically has a death sentence due to my lack of funds but I got her when I was still just a kid and I didn't think about this kind of stuff happening. Now I'm uncertain if giving her up to a rescue is more moral in hopes that she gets the proper care she deserves, but what about her sister then. She hasn't been prescribed any sorts of painkillers but like I said I'm unable to get in contact with any vet, maybe I'll try to make another in person appointment and pay the consultation fee again. She doesn't squeak when she poops or is palpated by me so that gives me some hope that she isn't in unbearable pain yet.
Hi!

Please do not feel guilty - to be honest, seeing the severe complications your poor girl has been suffering from, any operation would be very dicey; it is likely that the problem has already spread. :(
Right now you are in that awkward stage when you have to start to think about the future but you are not quite there yet for a good bye.

Canada has got the highest vet fees and so few vets compared to the average income in the Western World if that is a small consolation for you? You are sadly really up against it, especially if your vet access is so limited. You are not the only one who has to consider their financial capacities, especially in the current situation when it comes to forking out hundreds of dollars/pounds for complex operations and vet care. It is our duty to seek veterinary care when a piggy is very ill to spare them any unnecessary suffering - you have done that. But it is not your duty to provide super-duper vet care that costs an arm and a leg and the rest of the body, too! :(

Please keep in mind that we can only give our piggies as a happy a life as possible; we cannot choose when and from they die - that is out of our control. Guinea pigs don't measure their lives in how long they live. They measure it in happy todays - preferably in a good home!

The feelings of guilt and failure are typical for the onset of the grieving process, which starts the moment that you are seriously confronted with the realisation that you may lose a beloved one sooner rather than later. Apart from death itself, this is the worst moment. Be kind to yourself. Your feelings and reactions are testimony to what a loving and caring piggy mom you are!
 

Viv52k

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Thought I should give an update on Cali. Its been about 2 weeks of force-feeding critical care and 3 days off of all medication. There was a period of time where her poops were completely back to normal and her gas was minimal though still present. Unfortunately for about two days now she's had a bad relapse, severe bloating and no poops today. I've started school once again and am feeling beaten down, I was holding out hope that by now she would be eating on her own once again but unfortunately, I don't know how much longer I can sustain this level of care. I'm beginning to think about the option of putting her to sleep before I am unable to provide the care she deserves and she begins to suffer
 

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Thought I should give an update on Cali. Its been about 2 weeks of force-feeding critical care and 3 days off of all medication. There was a period of time where her poops were completely back to normal and her gas was minimal though still present. Unfortunately for about two days now she's had a bad relapse, severe bloating and no poops today. I've started school once again and am feeling beaten down, I was holding out hope that by now she would be eating on her own once again but unfortunately, I don't know how much longer I can sustain this level of care. I'm beginning to think about the option of putting her to sleep before I am unable to provide the care she deserves and she begins to suffer
BIG HUGS

I am so sorry. Can you speak with your vet to get their input as well?

Severe bloat is unfortunately such a nasty illness that can come back worse than ever weeks down the line. I have lost several piggies to it over the years; not necessarily always to the first wave so I fully appreciate what you are up against and how taxing it is. You can become very exhausted, sleep deprived and very down as it is so hard to see a beloved one suffer so badly.

You may find the considerations in this guide here helpful when making up your mind. There is no clear right or wrong in this area; just a weighing up of all factors in play so you can make any decisions with a clearer mind and heart and don't suffer from guilt afterwards.
A Practical and Sensitive Guide to Dying, Terminal Illness and Euthanasia in Guinea Pigs
 

Viv52k

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I'm still waiting to get a vet appointment but sadly things aren't looking good. Cali passed a couple poops last night that were malformed with some mucos on them so I continued to give her the probiotic benebac. Then this morning I saw her nibble on some pellets but unfortunately she's having diahrea, it's not liquid but it's incredibly soft and there is some blood. She's also showing visible signs of discomfort, I can hear her farting away but she strains to poop and is more sensitive when I touch her stomach. I'm continuing with force feeding and giving water but it's reduced since she's in such discomfort.
 

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I'm still waiting to get a vet appointment but sadly things aren't looking good. Cali passed a couple poops last night that were malformed with some mucos on them so I continued to give her the probiotic benebac. Then this morning I saw her nibble on some pellets but unfortunately she's having diahrea, it's not liquid but it's incredibly soft and there is some blood. She's also showing visible signs of discomfort, I can hear her farting away but she strains to poop and is more sensitive when I touch her stomach. I'm continuing with force feeding and giving water but it's reduced since she's in such discomfort.
BIG HUGS

I am so sorry. She really needs to see a vet even if the outcome may be euthanasia.
I so wish there were more vets in your country! The blood is a very worrying sign. :(
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment
 

Viv52k

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Sadly I made the decision to have Cali put down yesterday at the vets. I'm absolutely heartbroken but it had gotten to the point where I couldn't afford further tests and or surgeries, and was uncertain if she would even recover as she had been doing so poorly already. Thank you all for your support and advice, it helped both of us so much during this difficult journey. I'm grieving her loss, but I have to admit guiltily that I'm slightly relieved I don't have to watch her suffer anymore. I was able to be a part of the entire process, known as assisted euthanasia, so at least I can rest easy knowing she was never alone or terrified when she passed. Now I worry that her sister Lottie might be dealing with bladder stones or sludge as recently I've heard her squeak a few times when peeing, I might be being paranoid but this all feels like a nightmare. This entire experience has really changed the way I look at myself as a pet owner. It was selfish of me to get guinea pigs when I'm unable to financially and emotionally fully support them through sickness or health, as well as buying from a pet shop that payed no mind to genetics. I can't be too hard on child me but present me won't make these mistake again. I will be making a seperate thread for Lottie and caring for her to the best of my abilities for the rest of her life. I've attached a few photo of my sweet Cali. IMG_20200716_210340.jpgIMG_20200720_222324.jpgIMG_20200714_213939.jpg
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss❤
You can post a tribute to Cali in the rainbow bridge section.
 

Wiebke

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Sadly I made the decision to have Cali put down yesterday at the vets. I'm absolutely heartbroken but it had gotten to the point where I couldn't afford further tests and or surgeries, and was uncertain if she would even recover as she had been doing so poorly already. Thank you all for your support and advice, it helped both of us so much during this difficult journey. I'm grieving her loss, but I have to admit guiltily that I'm slightly relieved I don't have to watch her suffer anymore. I was able to be a part of the entire process, known as assisted euthanasia, so at least I can rest easy knowing she was never alone or terrified when she passed. Now I worry that her sister Lottie might be dealing with bladder stones or sludge as recently I've heard her squeak a few times when peeing, I might be being paranoid but this all feels like a nightmare. This entire experience has really changed the way I look at myself as a pet owner. It was selfish of me to get guinea pigs when I'm unable to financially and emotionally fully support them through sickness or health, as well as buying from a pet shop that payed no mind to genetics. I can't be too hard on child me but present me won't make these mistake again. I will be making a seperate thread for Lottie and caring for her to the best of my abilities for the rest of her life. I've attached a few photo of my sweet Cali. View attachment 148904View attachment 148905View attachment 148906
I am very sorry that had you to send your gorgeous Cali on to the Rainbow Bridge but it was absolutely the right decision. You haven't failed her in any way; she was blessed to have found such a loving and caring home!

Severe bloat is sadly such a nasty thing - and it is likely that what triggered it was even nastier as bleeding is not normal for bloating. It looked to me that something else was going on. :(

You may find our grieving guides helpful in the coming days:
Human Bereavement: Grieving, Coping and Support Links for Guinea Pig Owners and Their Children
Looking After a Bereaved Guinea Pig

PS: Please don't feel guilty for your relief; it is a normal reaction when you have fought a long or even too long battle that could not be won. The one you love is no longer suffering and you are no longer stretched way beyond what you can do.
If it is a consolation to you, I and my family felt the same after my dad's death at the end of a full-on three years long battle against terminal cancer. If it could have been won by sheer willpower, it would be have been won by him. As it was, going all the way with him and balancing out the rest of our own lives - which you can put on hold for a few months but not years - did take its toll on all of us. We were very sad but at the same time also relieved that the battle royale was over.
If anything, it is a sign for just how much of yourself you have given over the last weeks to give Cali every chance you could for making it. :tu:
 

Viv52k

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I'm so sorry for your loss and I greatly appreciate all the work you put into these forums, you've truely helped me through it all ♥
 
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