Kira's Med Thread

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Mon Jan 01, 2024 10:02 am


Thanks for the update. Hoping the abscess is under control!

Annapox

Post   » Fri Jan 12, 2024 11:31 pm


On the evening of 1/8 I noticed that the abscess was getting bigger again, so on 1/10 we went back to the vet. He said the area wasn't more swollen than before but was slightly more inflamed. He put Kira on meloxicam for seven days (today was day 3). As of this evening, the abscess is bigger than it was on 1/8 but about the same size as on 1/10. I'm supposed to keep monitoring the situation and keep the vet updated. He's not recommending surgery just yet, but it's sounding like that's where we'll end up sooner or later.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sat Jan 13, 2024 8:19 am


Is she still on antibiotics? Maintaining her weight still?

I see that this swelling near her vulva ("vulvar abscess") was most recently treated for 28 days with chloramphenicol (you mentioned this on 12/5/2023). I posted a pic of a curved tip syringe for flushing the abscess. Have you ever incorporated flushing the abscess with a warm saline solution into the treatment?

Image

By the way, has an xray ever been done to examine the uterus and bladder? I somehow wonder if there is another infection or issue somewhere that is affecting this abscess.

Annapox

Post   » Sat Jan 13, 2024 11:10 pm


Kira is not currently on an antibiotic, just the meloxicam. Her weight is stable, and I see no other symptoms.

The abscess hasn't been drained in a long time, so I haven't had the opportunity to incorporate flushing it with warm saline because there's no hole to put a syringe into. When I took Kira to the vet on 12/1, the vet said the abscess was too small to drain, and it stayed the same size for the entire course of chloramphenicol. The vet did say that if the swelling continues to get worse and we're not ready for surgery yet, regularly draining the abscess (using light sedation to manage pain) would be an option, but that seems like figuratively kicking the can down the road to me.

No X-rays have been done since I adopted Kira, and none are mentioned in her medical records from foster care.

I am trying to take a photo of the area with my phone every couple days to be able to see any changes better, but I live alone, and it's very difficult to hold a guinea pig still with one hand and take a clear photo with the other. From what I can tell, though, the swelling/inflammation is about the same as it was before the meloxicam, maybe a little better.

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ItsaZoo
Supporter in 2023

Post   » Sat Jan 13, 2024 11:20 pm


I hope you can get on top of this and get the abscess cleared up. Getting pictures is a good idea. One way to do that on your own would be to set the camera on timer for 10 seconds. Prop the phone up, pick Kira up, press the camera button and you’ll have 10 seconds to get her in position before the camera takes the picture.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sun Jan 14, 2024 8:05 am


Yes, very challenging to take a picture then! I find on my old pixel 3a that the selfy setting is not as good as the regular setting so I have used a mirror to see the screen (big mirror in bathroom) to see if I am pointing the right way.

Possible to do a movie? Resolution might not be as good but for your own purposes (then pause and do a screen shot to get the "vital" information?).

And I haven't used it recently but it used to be when I took a pic, if I held down the camera button, it took a string of pics so I could pick out the best one.

By the way, I take lots of pics of fungi and like taking some of them to show the underside - which I do by turning my phone upside down. So consider which orientation works better for you and you can rotate the image later.

p.s. I agree with you that regularly draining the abscess (if it never heals and periodically gets worse) does seem like kicking the can down the road.

Annapox

Post   » Sat Feb 10, 2024 1:57 pm


My photo-taking strategy is to sit with my feet out in front of me and my knees bent and use one hand to prop Kira up against my legs and the other to take the photo. The photos are slightly blurry, but still good enough to judge the size of the abscess.

On 1/30 I noticed that the swollen area had gotten very big again. It took me a week to be able to see the vet, but on 2/6 the abscess was drained (the vet estimates he got 4 or 5 mL out of there!) and repeatedly flushed with a curved-tip syringe full of an antibacterial solution (I can't remember the name, but the vet described it as "like Listerine but different") until only clear fluids came out. Kira is on sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim for 14 days (starting on 2/6), and I've been instructed to give her what I have left over of the meloxicam from when she was on it before.

Between 1/29 and 2/4, Kira also managed to lose 5% of her body weight, and her appetite decreased. We're hoping that this was because of the discomfort from the abscess and that her appetite will return soon. She has regained most of the weight she lost, but she still isn't finishing her lettuce. She's back to eating the rest of her veggies right away, though. The pellets, which used to disappear well before noon, now last until the evening but are always gone by the time I go to bed. Kira's cage mate, Lily, has never been one to finish a full serving of pellets (except after her previous cage mate passed away), so I'm fairly certain Kira is the reason the pellets are disappearing more slowly.

The vet told me to bring Kira back in if her weight drops below 930 g (she had been stable in the 960–990 range before the weight loss) or if the swelling gets back to the size it was when I brought her in. Before it seemed like he thought surgery was the best option if this kept happening, but now it sounds like he's leaning toward draining the abscess regularly if meds can't get rid of the infection. He said we could bring her in on a surgery day and wait in the waiting room so that we wouldn't be charged for an exam.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sat Feb 10, 2024 2:10 pm


By the way, I don't know how she feels about the abscess area being handled, but you might be able to familiarize yourself with how it should feel and if it feels larger (note if it is tender). I am sorry this is proving difficult to clear up.

Annapox

Post   » Sat Feb 10, 2024 2:34 pm


She doesn't like it when the vet feels it. When I've had to touch it to apply antibiotic ointment, her main complaint has been that she doesn't like being propped up against my legs (I guess it feels too close to being on her back). She doesn't squeal or flinch or anything when I touch the abscess, but she does try to turn over if I hold her in that position for too long. So I guess light touch isn't too bad but firm touch is unpleasant.

Up until now I've kind of avoided touching the abscess except to put ointment on it because I don't want to hurt Kira, but you're right that it would be good for me to know what it feels like.

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that this infection is so stubborn. I come from a medically complicated family, so Kira fits right in. :p The good news is that she really likes both of her meds, so I don't have to force-feed them to her. She's actually really excited to take them.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sat Feb 10, 2024 2:42 pm


I thought perhaps feeling it would help you gauge size (though this will depend on good memory!).

Annapox

Post   » Sat Mar 02, 2024 3:28 pm


This update is very belated because I've been having a lot of migraines, but the short version is that Kira is doing fine (for now).

Kira's antibiotic was supposed to last through 2/20, but on the morning of 2/18 I found that there wasn't enough left in the bottle for a full dose. I called the vet's office to ask for more (which I was able to get that afternoon), and while I was on the phone I gave an update on Kira. Because her appetite hadn't increased by much and the swelling by her vulva hadn't changed, the person on the phone told me to bring Kira in for a re-check, which I did on 2/20. The vet tried to drain the abscess and found that there was nothing really there to drain. What looks like swelling is actually scar tissue, and it's here to stay.

So Kira is done with the meds, and if her vulva becomes very inflamed ("angry-looking like a boil that's about to pop") or I see discharge, I'm supposed to drop Kira off on a surgery day to get the abscess drained again. I'm a little nervous about this because the last time her vulva was inflamed, I thought it was swollen, and apparently those are two different things. The vet specifically said I shouldn't worry too much about how big the lump gets since it seems to fluctuate in size, but that I should only look for inflammation and discharge. My parents said they can help me keep an eye on Kira since they have a better idea what the difference between inflammation and swelling is.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sat Mar 02, 2024 6:02 pm


Sounds like a plan.

I think of inflammation as a condition that would generate heat. It may also be possible to keep track of it by temperature with a heat gun (I love those things for cooking!). (p.s. this is an Amazon affiliate link - I don't usually track them down but I love infrared thermometers!!):
https://amzn.to/3TjMV6s

If you give that a try, record time of temperature check, ambient temperature, and activity level (if she has been running around or lying on a cozy piece of fleece).

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