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Sunken sides on sow with history of bladder stones

Gigi and Quinn

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Mavis hasn’t been herself the last two days and has lost around 50g in weight. My neighbours are doing very noisy building work so I moved the pigs to the room furthest from the noise but she’s still not quite normal so I’m syringe feeding and she’s had some pain relief. When I was feeding her I noticed her sides - where cysts can occur in front of her hind legs - are strangely flat, I’ve never seen anything like it, vet doesn’t know what it is. The last time she had bladder stones her sides went in a little but not like this. I don‘t believe it’s malnutrition as her weight is normal, a little down from reduced appetite the past couple days, but her spine isn’t jutting or anything like that. Besides the weird sides she is able to eat normally, is drinking and weeing/pooing as normal and they look good. I’m shocked and confused but I do think she is uncomfortable.

Anyone able to identify what‘s going on?
 

Gigi and Quinn

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Mavis‘s urine is clear and no straining or pain noises/signs. Can only really see tucked sides when I gently stroked the area. Her two cage mates are not effected. She eats hay but spends more time fussing over it than normal and gets fluffed up when resting which equals pain to me. Got the heating on and other pigs aren’t fluffed so don’t believe its the change in weather.
EF754CFF-D4B4-4F97-8EB0-41526261447A.jpeg9353B154-EF78-4283-8D5F-0A80F023BF16.jpeg3A983470-E8A5-45A8-A84C-4926642782F1.jpeg
 

Wiebke

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Hi!

I am very sorry, but we can only speculate as wildly as you are. :(

As long as the weight is comparatively stable and she is OK in herself, then I would not worry. If the slow weight loss is continuing, then there is obviously some going on. Right now, all you can do is hang in there and monitor.
 

Gigi and Quinn

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Hi!

I am very sorry, but we can only speculate as wildly as you are. :(

As long as the weight is comparatively stable and she is OK in herself, then I would not worry. If the slow weight loss is continuing, then there is obviously some going on. Right now, all you can do is hang in there and monitor.
Thank you, I will. It is so strange.
 

Gigi and Quinn

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Mavis has be stable the past few weeks, but still not her normal shape and has lost some weight in the last week (30g). I noticed some urine on her hair around her bottom, so I think it’s possible a bladder stone could be in her tract but not stopping her from urinating. I’ve booked her in with the vet and I’ll probably ask for a scan which is always scary with the risk of anaesthetic but we need to know what’s going on.

Thought I’d update this post in case anyone comes across it with a similar issue or if anyone has any thoughts or ideas as to what the cause could be.
 

Wiebke

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Mavis has be stable the past few weeks, but still not her normal shape and has lost some weight in the last week (30g). I noticed some urine on her hair around her bottom, so I think it’s possible a bladder stone could be in her tract but not stopping her from urinating. I’ve booked her in with the vet and I’ll probably ask for a scan which is always scary with the risk of anaesthetic but we need to know what’s going on.

Thought I’d update this post in case anyone comes across it with a similar issue or if anyone has any thoughts or ideas as to what the cause could be.
All the best!

PS: 30g is just about the difference between a full and an empty stomach, so not very worrying but it is worth having her checked, especially if it is a gradual downhill trend. Because the weight of a guinea pig does swing around 30-40g over the course of a day, we are talking about weight loss only after 50g.
 

Gigi and Quinn

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All the best!

PS: 30g is just about the difference between a full and an empty stomach, so not very worrying but it is worth having her checked, especially if it is a gradual downhill trend. Because the weight of a guinea pig does swing around 30-40g over the course of a day, we are talking about weight loss only after 50g.
Thanks. Her weight drops a little every so often but doesn’t increase, as you noticed, nothing dramatic but suspicious. That and her history of bladder stones makes me worry!
 

Gigi and Quinn

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The vets have diagnosed poor Mavis with cysts on her ovaries. The larger cyst is potentially pressing against her stomach so she feels full when she isn’t, causing the weight loss.

The plan is to build her up and have her spayed. I’m worried because its a very serious procedure and I’ve not had a pig spayed before. I’ll be researching the procedure and after care now. If anyone wants to send me links/advice I’d appreciate that too. I have heat pads and experience in syringe feeding and helping them recover from anaesthetic but not big wound sites.
 

Wiebke

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The vets have diagnosed poor Mavis with cysts on her ovaries. The larger cyst is potentially pressing against her stomach so she feels full when she isn’t, causing the weight loss.

The plan is to build her up and have her spayed. I’m worried because its a very serious procedure and I’ve not had a pig spayed before. I’ll be researching the procedure and after care now. If anyone wants to send me links/advice I’d appreciate that too. I have heat pads and experience in syringe feeding and helping them recover from anaesthetic but not big wound sites.
Hi!

Good that you finally have a diagnosis. Ovarian cysts can impact on the gut and the urinary tract, as can other health issues, which is one of the reasons why a hands-on examination is so important. It is all so very tightly packed in there...

Here is more information on ovarian cysts and various treatment options: Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Our post-op care guide: Tips For Post-operative Care

I've had several mostly older sows spayed; with the exception of one spay 10 years ago (emergency op by a local old-fashioned general vet who made a basic mistake re. GA) all of the ops since have gone well and the sows have made a full and problem-free recovery.
The last spay was at the start of March this year; this one was for a 3 year old sow with rather large non-hormonal cysts as well as hormonal ones. My then 5 year old sister pair Morwenna and Mererid needed spaying in summer 2019; Morwenna for cysts that would have turned cancerous if left and Mererid for very fast growing non-hormonal fluid filled cysts before they could cause gut adhesion and other problems. The sisters are still with me, now aged 6 years and getting on a bit. I've had three more spays before that.
I hope that this helps you.
 

Gigi and Quinn

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Hi!

Good that you finally have a diagnosis. Ovarian cysts can impact on the gut and the urinary tract, as can other health issues, which is one of the reasons why a hands-on examination is so important. It is all so very tightly packed in there...

Here is more information on ovarian cysts and various treatment options: Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
Our post-op care guide: Tips For Post-operative Care

I've had several mostly older sows spayed; with the exception of one spay 10 years ago (emergency op by a local old-fashioned general vet who made a basic mistake re. GA) all of the ops since have gone well and the sows have made a full and problem-free recovery.
The last spay was at the start of March this year; this one was for a 3 year old sow with rather large non-hormonal cysts as well as hormonal ones. My then 5 year old sister pair Morwenna and Mererid needed spaying in summer 2019; Morwenna for cysts that would have turned cancerous if left and Mererid for very fast growing non-hormonal fluid filled cysts before they could cause gut adhesion and other problems. The sisters are still with me, now aged 6 years and getting on a bit. I've had three more spays before that.
I hope that this helps you.
Thank you so much for sharing those links and your own personal experience. I’m hoping that as Mavis is only 3 and a half she will have a better chance of a good recovery. I’m pleased to know you’ve had successful spays for your ladies.

I agree, I’m so pleased I took her to the vet, she didn’t have any “normal ”symptoms of cysts so it was a surprise but better to know and be able to do something about it. So sad cysts seem to be so common, I had an 8 year old pig develop an ovarian cyst but she was too old to operate and the vet didn’t mention it could be drained.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you so much for sharing those links and your own personal experience. I’m hoping that as Mavis is only 3 and a half she will have a better chance of a good recovery. I’m pleased to know you’ve had successful spays for your ladies.

I agree, I’m so pleased I took her to the vet, she didn’t have any “normal ”symptoms of cysts so it was a surprise but better to know and be able to do something about it. So sad cysts seem to be so common, I had an 8 year old pig develop an ovarian cyst but she was too old to operate and the vet didn’t mention it could be drained.
Draining is not a method that is known to all vets. By far the most common cysts are the ones that don't cause any classic symptoms. They generally only become a problem when they impact on other organs or if they burst for some reason.

All the best1
 

Gigi and Quinn

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I’m going to contact the vets and see if they can drain the larger cyst. Poor Mavis is not improving and has virtually stopped eating and drinking. Though I am syringe feeding it’s only keeping her stable not increasing her weight enough for her to have the procedure anytime soon and I’m very concerned she is suffering.
 

Wiebke

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I’m going to contact the vets and see if they can drain the larger cyst. Poor Mavis is not improving and has virtually stopped eating and drinking. Though I am syringe feeding it’s only keeping her stable not increasing her weight enough for her to have the procedure anytime soon and I’m very concerned she is suffering.
It sounds like either a cyst has got stuck to the gut or burst because she shouldn't lose her appetite. Please have her seen promptly.
 

Gigi and Quinn

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OK, so I did have her seen by an emergency vet. They checked her throughly and the cysts were intact and couldn’t find anything wrong. I also took her to our usual vet a couple of days later just to be sure.
Since then she spent about a week glued to me so I could monitor her day and night and she improved!
However, I took her back today because she had a wet bottom, was drinking a lot and her weight was going down again. WOW, so glad I did. Mavis had bladder stones stuck in her urethra! (Pics attached). The amazing vet was able to remove them (used a little gas but no GA) and she is comfortable, bright, eating and generally doing well. She also took some blood so we can check her kidney function.
Such a relief to find vets that know what they are doing with our precious piggies.
 

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