I am at a loss, the ultrasound did not show anything out of the ordinary. One possible thing is that we got a new puppy a month and a half ago, and perhaps the change in the environment stressed her out? Though I really think that is a stretch, since we already have a dog, and both of my guineas are used to having dogs in the house, and we have not let the puppy bother or harass the guineas at all - she does sometimes sit and watch them from a few feet away, but our other dog sleeps right next to their cage sometimes so I figured they were totally okay with it. It doesn't seem likely, but it's really the only thing that I can come up with to explain the weight loss.
Either that or she had another mini-stroke (see here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=74421&p=2269485&hilit=head+tilt#p2269485) but without any obvious outward symptoms except for the weight loss?
Who knows? But I will absolutely keep weighing her daily and continuing with the Critical Care. If she goes another week without losing any more weight I will slowly try to cut back on the CC and see if there is any change, to see if it is the added CC that is keeping her stable or if she will stay so even without the boost.
She has now become a bit wobbly when she walks (she eats bell pepper and kiwi daily but I also supplement with liquid Cebion Vitamin C drops recommended by exotic vets here in Italy). She still has a great appetite, and eats everything I put in her cage. She does seem to eat a little less hay than she used to but she's not off of it. I have also separated her, on the vet's advice, from her younger cage mate, so that there is no competition for food, since she is much slower eating now than before and the vet was concerned that Olivia would eat all the veggies before Dory had a chance to eat her fill. I can't say if this was the cause, but since separating them, Dory has not lost any more weight. She's active-ish, her fur is nice and healthy, her lungs are clear, the only thing that is visibly wrong with her is the weight loss and now the wobbly gate (she can definitely still get around, but she sort of hops instead of walks).
So my questions are the following:
1) are there any tests should we do that we haven't done, to rule out something we haven't thought of (see above for previous urine tests)?
2) is it possible that she has arthritis, and so is in pain from that and that is causing her to walk wobbly/hop and lose weight? her back is a bit curved, but she is also 5 1/2 years old, and vet said that a little arthritis at this age is normal.
3) could it be something neurological, since all tests/xrays/ultrasounds show absolutely nothing, and she had a major stroke a few months ago?
Again, I appreciate any and all advice. The two vets I have been to are both good, definitely the best I'll find where I am, but after all the tests and things, they just keep saying "who knows what it is?" and giving me suggestions to try. So I kinda feel like I'm just treading water, and not really sure what is working and what isn't. They both have said that it may just be due to her age and that we won't be able to find the cause or treat it, but I don't want to give up if there's something that I or they are missing.
Thanks as always!!
By the way, if you have copies of the dental xrays, you are welcome to email them to me and I can add them to your thread. I would continue to watch for any signs of malocclusion.
You may be right on the neurological front too. An animal not getting enough food will be wobbly but if she is maintaining weight, that would not seem to be the cause. I wish I had more advice for you.
Just as a gauge, this is what she ate today for veggies - fennel tops, mixed greens and chard, a cherry tomato, a few thin carrot slices and her normal 1/8th of a large red bell pepper. That's a regular size plastic plate.
She ate it all. Should I be giving her more? Less? I'm just at a loss because this is her normal amount, she eats it but still loses weight. She's eating hay too, not sure if less than usual because I never really knew how much the two of them ate because they always pulled it out and dragged it all around the cage and I just put new hay in. But she is definitely munching on hay every now and then.
Edited to add: I've put everything (hay, pellets, veggies) on plastic plates since she's unstable, I don't want her to have to get into a bowl or reach up to the hay bin in case that's causing her pain. I've also lowered the spout of her water bottle to just her height so if this really is the culprit hopefully this will help.
I am still giving her CC, only twice a day in the am and pm. She usually takes about 10-15ml per sitting before she gets grumpy about it, and I don't push it since she is eating on her own. Should I continue this? Go back to more feedings a day? My fear is that if I fill her up on CC she'll be less likely to eat on her own, but I also wonder if she'd eat the same amount whether I give her CC her or not, and so the CC would be supplemental and helping her maintain her weight. Any thoughts are very welcome, though I know you guys may not have the answer either.
Again thank you for all your guidance. I feel a bit helpless at times as I watch her struggle, trying to do what I can for her but not knowing the cause of her problems and not knowing how to find it out. And I'm afraid in the meantime she's just going to disappear before my eyes. :(
I guess living in Italy means at least good fresh veggies are super easy to find. I think my girls may be some of the only guineas in the world who LOVE zucchini and I have a feeling it has to do with how fresh and local our zucchini are! Now just waiting for the summer-long drought to pass so the grass will grow.
I will call the vet on Monday to ask about a prescription for Metacam/Meloxicam. Is there anywhere I can find a dosage /kg for guineas to bring with me to the vet, just in case?
Now that Dory and Olivia are separated, Dory is maintaining her weight. She hasn't gained anything, but she's stopped dropping and is hovering around 730 grams. Ideally I'd like her to be 200 grams more, but I know that's not going to happen, so I am going to settle for no more drops.
If anything else comes to mind that I could be doing or could at least give a try, let me know! These are my first pigs, and though I have had Dory for 5 years now and more or less know the basics, they are still so many firsts for me, no matter how much I try to read or learn.
The only good sign is that after months of this, fresh grass just started to grow where I live now (we've been in a crazy drought period till now), and in the past week or so that I've added that to her diet, she has gotten as high as 760 grams and is normally hovering around 740, which is better than the 692gr that I saw on the scale a few weeks ago that made my heart stop! So going into the winter I am definitely going to start growing my own grass on our terrace. And I guess another good thing is that, after months of this, she's still with us, still wheeking, still eating and hobbling around as she can. So whatever the cause (old age, arthritis, something else) it is not as grave as I had originally thought and gives me hope that she'll still be with us a year from now. <3
Tonight I had her out for floor time together with her old casemate, and I saw that she's walking in circles. She can go straight just a bit, but she mostly just walks in circles. And when she sits still, her head very slowly drifts from one side to the other.
Is it possible, with the stroke in April, and the weight loss/fluctuation, that this is something neurological?
I will take her to the vet tomorrow, it is late Sunday and there are no vets, much less exotic vets, open where I live. I do have some Baytril left over from the stroke this April (tabs), should I start her on that just in case? I'm afraid that an antibiotic will upset her tummy and make her drop in weight again, but if she does have an ear infection, then do I need to start antibiotics asap?
Oy oy oy... *sigh*
But the strangest thing is that she's gained so much weight back in the past two weeks or so. Nearly 100g.
I know I should be thrilled, but I'm concerned that it's not actually her putting on the weight and she's got a tumor or something. But the vet found nothing, and heck, a 100g tumor wouldn't be hard to find, right?
I dunno. Anyway, if the trend continues I am going to attempt reintroductions with her old cagemate.
I'm just so baffled.
Dory is doing just fine now, I took her to two separate vets who are the most highly recommended exotic vets where I live (one is my usual vet) and they both could find absolutely nothing to explain the weight gain, which is not fluid, nor explain why she had dropped so significantly this summer. My only possible thought might be that she does not tolerate the warmer months well, though our apartment is air-conditioned as we also have two french bulldogs and they can't deal with the heat either, so it doesn't really seem likely.
Anyway, the circling has also stopped for the most part - she can and does walk in a straight line, but if she has to turn, she always turns to that one side. The vet thinks that her balance may be a bit off, as she does have a head tilt which was left after her stroke in April, so this might explain the reason she favors turning to one side.
She is eating, wheeking, jumping like her normal self again, and is up to 830 grams, which is just 100 grams shy of her average lifetime weight (the highest she's gone is 990 g, lowest this summer at 690 g). So the mystery has not at all been solved but she is doing okay for now, and so we'll just keep taking it one day at a time.
Thanks all for the help and support that you have given over these trying months. It is terrible when our furballs are sick, but heartbreaking when you try everything possible and you can't find the cause! Thank goodness it has passed, fingers crossed it stays this way!