Long story short, my darling guinea pig Daisy passed away earlier this year, and I still can't make sense of what happened to her and want to make sure it doesn't happen to my remaining piggies.
Daisy was quite healthy all her life, except for some problems squeaking when she went to the toilet from one year old. The vet said it was just a UTI, but it didn't improve over time. I thought she might be having issues with high calcium foods because she often had urinary calcium deposits, so I cut them out of her diet and it made a big difference. Then, she began having episodes where she was making a hooting noise every so often which I believe can be a heart condition, but the vet said her heart was fine. I kept a very close eye on her, and she had no problems until last year.
In July 2016, she got an upper respiratory tract infection that never fully cleared. Then in January of this year, I suddenly noticed that she had trouble walking out of the blue so she went straight to the vet. (She was three months shy of turning six at this point.)
The vet said she was just a little overweight, and to cut back on pellets. But I knew something wasn't right, as she was having only a small amount of pellets and no more than my other guinea pig, who was fine.
Over the next week or so, Daisy's weight skyrocketed without any change in her diet except for even LESS pellets. She developed urine scald due to being too overweight to clean herself, so the vet shaved her abdomen and I began applying an antibiotic cream twice a day. Her weight kept increasing, so much so that she couldn't wash her face, and it wasn't just her abdomen putting on weight, it was her whole body.
Soon she became lethargic and could barely move, and stopped being able to go to the toilet by herself. The next night after whimpering in pain, she passed away. I am still shocked, and can't work out what happened to her, other than I'm sure she was misdiagnosed. And yes, her vet is a small animal/exotics specialist. Could it have been bloat? I just don't want such a mistake to ever happen again.
- And got the T-shirt
It's also possible that it was ovarian cysts, which would explain, to some extent, the weight gain. It could have been a tumor. Another likely possibility is a heart condition, which would explain both the hooting and the weight gain.
Not all exotic vets recognize heart disease in guinea pigs. It can't always be diagnosed by listening to the heart. X-rays can give some information, but it's often diagnosed because the symptoms respond to heart medication.
There's no way to know what happened without having had a necropsy done.
Did the vet do any x-rays or ultrasounds? Either might have you given you valuable information about what was wrong with her.
At the time I was too upset to think of doing a necropsy. The more I think about it, the more sense heart failure makes. Her weight gain was very much like fluid retention.
And yes, I was weighing her as well as going by how large she looked. Towards the end she was putting on about ten grams every two days. If any of my other piggies ever get the same symptoms, I'll insist on an Xray.
Thank you again.