Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kidney Issues

All the girls were at Chick Weekend
Boadicea has had a lot of ups and downs in the last two weeks.  Her health issues prompted me to bring her and Wedgwood to the Cape.  Thankfully, these two are much better travelers than Cannoli was.  So their unexpected addition to Chick Weekend was less stressful than my last attempt at including the sows.

The long drive down didn't slow them down.  Boadi and Wedg made themselves at home as soon as I had the travel cage set up.  They happily explored, just like any cage-cleaning day, then settled in to eat hay and pellets.  Wonderful!

So... Boadicea had not improved after the vet removed her stone.  In fact, her weight continued to go down and we returned to the vet over Labor Day weekend.  Not cool.  Teeth were fine.  Ultrasound showed nothing unusual.  Blood was drawn.

Look at that sad bare belly!
Poor Boadi arrived home from that visit with a heavily shaved belly and nothing to show for it.  On top of it all, the yeast infection returned.  That's when I concluded she was coming with me so I could apply her various treatments and keep an eye on her.

The Cape air must have agreed with her, for she gained some weight when we arrived.  The blood results arrived shortly after we settled in:  very high calcium and phosphorus levels (three times normal!) consistent with an underlying kidney problem.  It would explain her steady weight loss and the sudden appearance of a stone.  But it's a seriously sucky diagnosis.

Boadi did alright until our last night on the Cape.  She was cranky and appeared to have a blocked bladder.  I was able to get her pee.  Such a relief for both of us!  But it resulted in a long trip the next day, as we swung by the vet before going home.  I'm so glad we did.  No stone, but there was so much sludge it blocked her urethra.  The vet cleared her out and sent me home with even more meds which should help with Boadi's phosphorus levels and hopefully prevent more sludge from forming.

I'm lucky - she loves the flavor of the aluminum hydroxide (mint flavor, I was told).  As I write this, she's comfortably snuggled in her hammock.  I'm trying to focus on the little bits of good news.

eta:  To clarify, bladder sludge and stones are usually from excess calcium (and often not enough phosphorus) in a guinea pigs' diet.  Under normal circumstances they're treated with something that will break up the stone or bind and get rid of the calcium from their body.  Boadicea's sludge is caused from the malfunctioning kidneys.  The aluminum hydroxide is to reduce phosphate levels to help her appetite and to prevent binding to so much calcium as to create all the sludge she's been having.


  1. Egads! To say that's a worrisome diagnosis is an understatement, to be sure. I'm intrigued by your comment that you were able to get her to pee. How did you do that? I wish you all the best in this journey with your lovable B!

  2. Poor girl! Good thing she has you to look out for her.

    May I ask, is the aluminum hydroxide used to treat the sludge? Our Penelope is 6 and has been dealing with sludge and bladder stones for about 2 years. If there was something else we could use to help, that would be awesome.

    1. I updated the post. Boadicea is not dealing with normal sludge and bladder stones - in most cases you need to up their phosphorus to help get the calcium out of the system, not the other way around. A low calcium diet is often the best way to combat stones (I try to stick to, given my stone-prone pigs of the past). Aluminum hydroxide will not be helpful to a normal case of stones/sludge.

    2. Got it! Thanks. Hope she feels better with all the love and meds.

  3. Oh poor Boadi! I'm so glad you were able to get a diagnosis and medication to help, and my fingers are firmly crossed for success in managing the phosphorus levels and keeping Boadi a happy girl.

  4. So sorry to hear it. But it has finally explained to me why one of mine had such bad sludge. Hope things do improve for you

  5. Oh how horrible for you. I hope Boadi is feeling better very soon.

  6. Poor Boadi, having one in the same boat, I know how hard it is :(

  7. I wish Boadi feels better soon. Kisses, Sally.

  8. Sending lots of love to little mighty Boadi!!! Despite being ill, she is still that bold and brassy lil loaf we've all grown to love. Be well little
    Pig. <3

  9. Poor little Boadi :'( Sending you all love xx


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