Pip is my 4-year-old pig who had been showing symptoms of URI for quite sometime. She had been dropping weight for weeks, would randomly be wheezing, and had really light crust beginning to form around her eye. She also had noticeably smaller poops so I couldn't shake the feeling something was wrong. I was going to call a vet sooner but my mom discouraged me because she was still eating and moving around normal. It wasn't until this Saturday when my mom informed me she stopped eating entirely. I immediately called my vet to take her in the same day and she was diagnosed with pneumonia. I'm not sure how much she weighed at the time since I wasn't present, but she was very, very light.
Her medications are as follows:
0.16mL of Baytril (2x a day for 14 days)
0.21mL of Meloxicam (once a day for 7 days)
0.03 of Cisapride (once a day for 5 days)
and 5mL of Critical Care 6 times a day (vet's orders to cut down to 2 times a day for 7 days when she's eating on her own)
The 1st night was really difficult as she was lethargic from all initial shots the vet had given her. She still put up a fight over the syringe, but it was really heartbreaking watching her struggle to eat and be exhausted from eating a tiny piece of lettuce. She was so weak, I had to separate her from her cagemate, Snowball, because she kept mounting her and wanting to pick a fight.
I found it really difficult to tell if Pip was making any progress. She would bottle-feed herself water, but she stopped doing that yesterday, so I tried syringe-feeding her that. I wanted to monitor her eating hay, but Pip doesn't like being watched by other people. Her weight fluctuated wildly on the scale so I wasn't sure what was accurate. She doesn't like my mom at all, but she had the best success syringe-feeding her while I held Pip down, so she was definitely stressed out. Last night, she developed a curious habit of digging into her hay. But little by little, her energy was coming back.
Today when I came home, Pip started wheeking and I breathed a sigh of relief. It's the first time since Saturday she's expressed interest in food. She's not tucked away in her hideys and is lying down outside more. Pip is starting to act more like her old self again.
The vet recommended a check-up tomorrow morning. I've been in a panicked state for the past few days and I just wanted to ask if I should be doing more? I'm not out of the woods yet, that I know for sure. Her poops aren't normal yet but she is pooping a lot more compared to yesterday. Are there important questions I should be asking the vet for tomorrow? A reminder that I'm a first-time guinea pig owner!
Your hand feeding is vitally important and will give her a chance to live.
Today the vet was happy to hear her progress. Her lungs were a lot clearer compared to Saturday. Her droppings are small but proof she is eating hay on her own. She still lost weight though, but that's probably because her appetite barely came back yesterday. I told her Pip stopped drinking water on her own and if I should syringe feed her more of it. She said the Critical Care should have enough fluids for the day, but it's okay to suppliment for more hydration. Pip responded to cucumbers really well instead, so she said that was okay.
I asked the vet about her teeth and she said she didn't see or feel anything abnormal. Pip is too weak for an xray, but if her appetite drops off again, she'll check for that more thoroughly.
Thank you for the links, we are definitely weighing her everyday now!
I'm also still hesitant to bring her back with her cagemate, Snowball. We've noticed that since Pip has been so weak, Snowball constantly attacks her and I have to step in to separate. Her new behavior has been preventing Pip from eating and drinking normal. It's frustrating because I know Snowball can't be by herself outside the cage, but I want Pip to get better. Any reason as to why this is happening?
Not all guinea pigs assert themselves with their ill companion but I do think you are right to keep her on her own until her strength returns. It is also possible to have them in a large cage inside with a wall between so they have company but Snowball can't bother her. I think keeping Pip inside will be better for her recovery.
Pip's pneumonia cleared after about 2 weeks. It took another 3 months for Pip to get to a healthier weight. She became much more talkative and active in the coming months- she had changed into a completely different pig! Everything was normal up until 1 month ago when she started dropping weight again. Pip had become much more pickier about her food to the point of refusal. She preferred eating cardboard and attempting to chew on plastic. I took her to the vet and was given an antibiotic to clear a little bit of congestion in her lungs. This was cleared after a week. Unfortunately, she had lost so much weight, she could not recover from this second round. Pip passed away at the age of 5 last week.
So for anyone going through a similar situation (old pig with pneumonia), don't give up! She may have had an underlying illness I missed and the vet couldn't diagnose, but I got a lot more extra time than I expected.
I'm sure Snowball knew how sick Pip was- she didn't protest as much when Pip got near her to take her spot. Snowball was ultimately the one who alerted us to her passing. After we buried Pip, she would stay in one spot without moving and I had to encourage her to eat and drink. We gave her lots of love and attention. Thankfully she didn't lose much weight and she returned to her normal self on Friday.