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Timeline For Recovery In The Hours After An Operation

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Danielle Smith

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My two boars have just been neutered. I've brought them home from the vet and set them up in their respective hospital cages, and they're just sitting and staring straight ahead. This is very unlike them, they won't even touch a pea-flake or tomato. Initially they wouldn't move off the puppy pads so I had to physically place them on the vetbed.

I know that some pigs take a while to perk up after having anaesthetic, but I just want to be sure of what "milestones" indicate a normal recovery period. I've seen the excellent Post-op Care Tips thread, but I'm looking for some description of the time more immediately after an operation.

What can I expect over the next hour, evening, morning? Their last meal was 7am this morning, when should I offer syringe feeding if they continue to be rooted to the same spot?
 

Danielle Smith

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I have metacam (Loxicom), but was told they'd been given their dose for today and to start with it tomorrow (incidentally, dosage is around 0.4ml once a day per pig... does that sound right? I've been given the dog formulation).
 

Flutterby

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Poor guys. When I had my boar neutered he was like this for a little while, he soon settled. It's good that you've got pain relief for them, some vets don't send them away with any. Sending lots of healing vibes!
 

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My two boars have just been neutered. I've brought them home from the vet and set them up in their respective hospital cages, and they're just sitting and staring straight ahead. This is very unlike them, they won't even touch a pea-flake or tomato. Initially they wouldn't move off the puppy pads so I had to physically place them on the vetbed.

I know that some pigs take a while to perk up after having anaesthetic, but I just want to be sure of what "milestones" indicate a normal recovery period. I've seen the excellent Post-op Care Tips thread, but I'm looking for some description of the time more immediately after an operation.

What can I expect over the next hour, evening, morning? Their last meal was 7am this morning, when should I offer syringe feeding if they continue to be rooted to the same spot?
Please start syringe feeding and watering asap to keep the guts going, little but often for as long as they are not eating fully on their own and are able to hold their weight; it is going to be a mainly sleepless night for you, I am sorry to say.

Give them each time you syringe as much feed and water as they will take in one go. It is not a quick process. You can offer a bit of coriander or pasley and see whether they like a mouthful of fresh herb while you are syringe feeding. Fresh grass and herbs are usually the first things that will be accepted when a piggy is starting to regain its appetite. I would recommend a mix of formula powder and their usual pellets for a more familiar taste. Syringe feeding an unwell piggy that has no appetite is no fun, but you have to be tough and persist. Your aim at this stage is to get 40-60ml in over the course of 24 hours to keep the guts alive. The less they eat in one go, the more often you need to feed.

HUGS

If necessary, ask your vet for painkillers (which they still got from their operation cocktail) and gut stimulant if the appetite is not kicking in. :(

The reaction post-op depends on what kind of GA, how much and how long for has it been used for.
 

Danielle Smith

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Thanks everyone. They've taken ~5ml of water each plus ~7-8ml of critical care. They've had a little half-hearted munch of their pellets and veggies, but not eating away yet, and no hay at all. I'm hoping if I leave them quietly for a couple hours now, they might perk up, else it's more critical care at 10pm.

Would you recommend syringe feeding at 3-4 hour intervals throughout the night tonight, @Wiebke?
 

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Thanks everyone. They've taken ~5ml of water each plus ~7-8ml of critical care. They've had a little half-hearted munch of their pellets and veggies, but not eating away yet, and no hay at all. I'm hoping if I leave them quietly for a couple hours now, they might perk up, else it's more critical care at 10pm.

Would you recommend syringe feeding at 3-4 hour intervals throughout the night tonight, @Wiebke?
Yes, as they are actually taking some food and are nibbling and not are completely off it (which is actually very encouraging), just stay up late for a last feeding session, get up in the middle of the night for a check-up and a feed, and then early in the morning again. They will hopefully perk up at some point, but it takes as long as it takes...
Just continue to offer it for the first day until they are fully tucking in at all meals and in the hay and holding their weight.
 

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Ah, it's good they're perking up! I've only just seen this thread, but just wanted to say when my sow Willow had a GA for an abscess op, she was what I'd describe as 'spaced' for a few hours. I put her on a soft fleece so she was comfy, but she just peed all over it and sat in it :))
I covered her with a light fleece and checked on her every now and then, but she just needed dark snuggliness for a few hours.
 

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That's great that they are getting more into their food.

Follow Wiebke's advice and you won't go wrong.

Please keep a really close eye on them for the next few weeks, not just days. I have had an extremely experienced piggie vet neuter two of my boys and both died a few weeks afterwards. I don't want to worry you (ok, I know I already have) but it's unusual with an exotics GP vet who does hundreds a year). But I just want to warn you to weigh them twice a day and keep a very close eye on what they are eating for a long time.

For both of these they were fine after a week then went down hill, so just monitor them v closely. My vet had just successfully neutered over 100 RSCPA rescue piggies in the couple of weeks before with no trouble at all, so it definitely is not doom and gloom - but I just wanted to share my experience and urge you to be on the look out for problems even when you think they're on the mend.

The signs look good with yours and it's great they have pain relief - it makes such a difference!
 

Danielle Smith

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Thanks for the note of caution @Posyrose. I've read enough sad stories on the forum to know that the side-effects of neutering can raise their head far after the actual event.

Update on the chaps: earlier seems like a false start, back to eating practically nothing (odd strand of hay, tiny piece of vegetable but both only when offered by hand). Given ~3ml each more of syringe feed and water. What's really worrying me is one has peed once and neither have done a single poop in the six hours I've had them home. Should I keep syringe-feeding while nothing is coming out?
 

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They will probably feel very out of it, the pain relief by injection before they leave the vets can knock them for six, but they should be showing a little bit of interest in veg/hay within the next couple of hours. Pee is a good sign :) Poop can take a couple of hours as the meds will slow down their guts a while, but carry on with the syringe feeding, as long as they are swallowing it ok it will get through their system pretty quick.
 

Danielle Smith

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Been feeding them ~3ml by syringe throughout the night, every 3 hours or so. At 5am both pigs were eating a little hay we put in front of them while on our laps, but still would not eat in the cage. No poops during this time.

Come 8am, both pigs were eating a little hay in the cage. Tubs was squealing when trying to poo, so I gave him his split dose of metacam and was rewarded with a little pile of poop in my lap, plus a couple more when put back in the cage. Flubs isn't really pooping yet, only six since he came home. Hoping him eating hay will get things moving.

Both are now dosed on metacam, have been hand fed some veggies and pellets alongside critical care, and are doing tiny rumbles at each other in the cage. Hopefully they'll keep improving, I'll keep topping them up with syringe feed too.

My plan now is to leave them from 8am-12.30pm to give them the opportunity to eat for themselves (as they are now much brighter, even struggling during syringe feeding). Fingers crossed they manage something.

Sorry for the essay, just trying to record everything!
 

Danielle Smith

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Bit of a non-brilliant update I'm afraid. Since a couple days after the operation, they've been munching away on their hay and veggies like usual. However, they won't touch their pellets (I've tried them on 3 different kinds) and have steadily lost quite a lot of weight over the past week and a bit (Tubs has lost 100g since from before the op, and Flubs 70g).

When I offer critical care on a spoon or via syringe as a top-up, they will gobble it up, pulling at the syringe like I've seen dental pigs do. It's a toss-up as to whether they will eat it out their bowls, and they won't touch softened or mushed-up pellets.

I took them to the vet yesterday, all wounds were healing well, temperature was fine and guts were making good sounds . I was advised to keep going with the loxicom until they started gaining weight again, as the vet was worried it could be a pain issue. Like me, she was quite confused as they have no problem eating crunchy veg and they are eating as much hay as they ever did before the op (not as much as I'd like but still a fair amount...).

Has anyone else had this issue, where a pig is losing weight after an op despite still eating? I know pigs sometimes go off pellets, but they absolutely loved theirs and used to hoover them down before touching veg at all. They're moving around as much as usual and popcorning more than I've seen them do in the last couple of months; still rumblestrutting at each other through the bars too, so they don't appear to be suffering aside from the large weight loss and apparent hunger.

Any advice is much appreciated! :hmm:Oh, poos are normal, though a little smaller now, not the bigger banana shape they used to be.
 
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