[Gpdd] HEALTH: Bladder Stones, Potassium Citrate, and Distilled Water

Stephen Bradley chiefoperator1 at verizon.net
Thu Oct 9 23:17:02 EDT 2014

The "Three Amigos" (Cuddles, Brownie and Bumper) were definitely bladder-stone pigs, and maybe now is as good a time as any to share with you all a little bit of what we did, what happened, and so on...

At some point, they started getting stones -- maybe this was when they were about 4?  We'd had pigs who pee'ed a little pink before, and mostly given them some Shilintong and had them get over it -- not these guys.  Without going into too much detail, there was a certain amount of suffering and a certain amount of surgery...

After the first one, we absolutely pared down to zero their consumption of any veggies with any calcium at all.  (They *HATED* giving up parsley...)  Our vet also recommended putting them on once a day potassium citrate, which they didn't love but didn't hate.  It's a nuisance, but maybe it helped, so we did it.

It may have helped, but it certainly didn't stop the stones completely, but as we were wracking our brains trying to figure out what more we could do, I learned an interesting thing:  did you know, at least in some municipalities, they add sodium to the water?  I had no idea, but here in Boston we have the "MWRA", who sells us our water, and prides themselves on how "soft" it is.

The way they make it soft, is they take out the heavy minerals, like calcium and iron.  And they add chlorine to disinfect it, and fluorine for our teeth.  But if you do those two things and nothing else, it screws up the pH, and makes the water acid, so it eats away the pipes -- so to bring it back to neutral pH, they add... sodium.

"It's not that much," they say -- certainly not enough to be a cause for concern to a healthy human being...  We have no idea whether it's a contributing factor to our pigs' problems or not, but we wanted to do whatever we could, so we wound up switching Mr. Cuddles (who was the only one left by then) to distilled water, and, while he did get another stone eventually, it also seemed to take a much longer time, thankfully.

For whatever it's worth...

Best wishes to all those still struggling; sympathies to all those who have lost little (or not so little) friends,

Steve and Ginger

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