Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bloat care document, written for rabbits but can apply to guinea pigs as well

(This is something that was shared with me years ago, I believe originally from a UK vet. I am not a vet and am just sharing this information online because SO MANY guinea pigs pass away from bloat and I have nursed them through it before with great success. I originally posted this on my blog for a twitter friend who was having email problems so she could just go to this page and read the document. Ultimately I decided to leave this information up, in the hopes that others may find it helpful when it comes up in google searches. Consult your own vet before following any directions given in the below document-only your vet can guide you on what intervention your guinea pig needs after a careful history and physical exam.)

Normalize body temperature FIRST – be sure not to overheat!

Administer Analgesics for Pain Relief
Flunixin meglumine (Banamine) for up to 3 days usage
1-3 mg/kg IM or SC every 12 to 24 hrs
Contraindicated in animals with kidney disease
Sulfasalazine (500 mg tablets)
1/8 to ¼ crushed tablet per rabbit every 8 to 12 hours

(marjorie's note: I have learned the hard way treating pigs with bloat that any opiate pain medicines block them up even more because they have the side effect of slowing down movement in the gut- I feel strongly that all opiates should be avoided in treatment of bloat if you have any hope of saving the pigs life by getting his gut moving again. I am not a vet. I am speaking from years of experience caring for guinea pigs and discussing their care with highly trained exotics vets).

Subcutaneous fluids (warmed Lactated ringer's solution) - 100 ml/kg/day divided every 8 hours (marjorie's note: I warm the lactated ringers solution bag on a heating pad until it is slightly warm to touch before giving each injection to avoid stressing the system with cold. supplies to ask your vet for if you are going to administer at home: 1000cc bag lactated ringer's solution, large 60 cc sterile syringe for each dose-must use new one everytime, a few large bore 16-20guage straight needles to draw up fluids-can recap and reuse as long as you keep sterile, sterile 20 guage butterfly syringe for each dose, use new one everytime. I clean skin of injection area with a little iodine).

Restore Gastrointestinal Motility
Cisapride given at 1- 1.5 mg/kg every 12 hours
Metoclopramide given at 1 – 1.5 mg/kg every 12 hours
(May work best using both medications in combination)

AVOID in cases of TRUE OBSTRUCTION (xray can usually tell a vet if true obstruction is present or not by analysis of gas patterns in gut).

Stimulate appetite
Vitamin B Complex added to the fluids

Prevent/Treat Enterotoxemia
Questran (Cholestyramine) – 2 grams suspended in 20
ml water every 8 hrs PO 

Or Biosponge Platinum paste (does same thing as cholestyramine, binds to clostridia toxins and renders them inert).
Antibiotics only if indicated (Trimethoprim-Sulfa 48 mg/ml
dosed at 30 mg/kg every 12 hr)

Syringe feed if not eating - liquid important to soften/rehydrate stomach contents
Oral fluids (no sugar) 10-20 mls every 8 hours
Oxbow critical care, feed with syringe every 4-5 hours- YOU MUST WAKE UP IN THE NIGHT FOR AT LEAST ONE FEEDING, THIS COULD SAVE PIG'S LIFE.
First day (rabbit) - feed 20 ml every 6 hours (4X per day)
- increase to 30 to 40 mls every 6 hrs until eating well on

Fresh, wet, leafy greens – 4 cups per 5 lbs of rabbit daily
Kale, mint, basil, dill, cilantro, tarragon, sage, fennel,
Snip ends off stems and wave under nose, place in
mouth, or tap face

Pediatric gas relief simethicone liquid ( 20 mg / 0.3 ml ) – to reduce gas pain
1 to 2 ml once an hour for 2-3 doses

Exercise can help get the gastrointestinal tract moving again

Administer gentle abdominal massage on vibrating pillow as tolerated several times a day to stimulate bowel movements.