Help! Sick guinea pig lots of drooling but not a dental issue

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Post   » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:41 pm

I am wondering if anyonr can help me or shed some light on my piggies health.
I have 3 male guinea pigs who all get on really well.
At the beginning of August I took them for a check up and mentioned to the vet (they are exotic pet specialists) that I thought Hagrid (3 years old nearly 4) was eating a little slower than usual. On first look she didn’t notice anything but on second look she said there was more saliva in his mouth than expected. Just a little. She recommended a sedated oral exam because she couldn’t see anything obviously wrong- wondering if his back teeth were overgrown.
During the oral exam his teeth were in excellent shape but he had an ulcer in his mouth that they suggested may have been from him biting it by mistake or something.
They gave his sulcrate and I gave him 0.15ml every 5 hours day and night.
During this time he stopped eating his pellets and was very reluctant to drink water. He still loved his veggies. I started to feed him critical care food.
He seems to have gone down hill from there. I have been weighing him every day and at the beginning of August he weighted 1015grams. He now only weights 820grams!

He is still not eating his pellet food or drinking water really. He will eat small amounts of veggies in water but it takes him a long time. He loves to eat the oxbow simple rewards hay treats which I soak in water but will not eat hay. I am feeding him between 20ml and 30ml of critical care 3 times a day.
Since August he has had a body X-ray which showed bloating so they gave him some anti acids (I can’t remember the name but it was mint flavoured) and and metacam (I think) for a week.
The vet felt his stomach and it seemed normal at a recheck.

They have also done a regular blood test which showed a slightly elevated liver enzyme so he is having liquid hepato 0.08ml every 12 hours. Otherwise everything else was great.
They did a thyroid test and that came back normal. His heart and lungs also sound great each time he has been in.
He has since started drooling. Which means it is really hard to keep his critical care food in his mouth.
They have done a skull X-ray today and couldn’t see anything abnormal. They did another sedated oral exam whilst they were there and his mouth is now completely healed.
They have given him anti nausea medication for 3 days as an interim and said that they could do an ultrasound of his body- but they think that they are not looking for anything good.
He is pretty sleep today as he’s been sedated but otherwise he is still a happy pig squeaking, running around with his brothers and has a lot of fight in him still.
I just don’t know what to do?! Are we missing something or is it likely to be as bad as it sounds?
Any info or help would be so gratefully received. We are trying everything and he has the vets stumped along with me.

Thank you!

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Post   » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:12 pm

I am so sorry he is doing so poorly. It sounds like you have been diligent trying to get him good care. Do the vets have any other ideas? Are there any vets they would recommend for a second opinion?

I will read this over tomorrow and see if I missed anything.


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:05 am

I think this vets is the only one in our area that is specialized in exotics. Three vets from the practise have looked at him.
I think there is a vet in the next province that is great as when we considered if something was stuck in his oesophagus they said that the vets would have specialist equipment to help. But I don’t think I could put him through the drive it would probably take about 8 hours I think.
Thank you it would be great if you have any thoughts. He was dribbling slightly less tonight and he seems more active so hopefully getting over the sedation now.

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Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:58 am

You are in Canada?

There are a couple drugs that I don't recall being used often in guinea pigs: sulcrate - this is for stomach ulcers - I am guessing they counted on its oral use to help with his mouth. Sometimes vets who are not experienced with dental issues can miss malocclusion (they said his teeth were okay, you said they did do a skull xray). A second opinion by a veterinary dentist could be helpful (Dr. Legendre in Vancouver is very experienced with guinea pigs - your vets could find him at the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry - ). I don't recall antacids being used for bloat.

You just wrote, "...when we considered if something was stuck in his oesophagus...". Why did you think this?

I had a guinea pig years ago who went downhill very quickly. She was drooling and looked like she was gagging. I thought something might be stuck in her throat. A necropsy showed internal tumors. You wrote, "...they could do an ultrasound of his body- but they think that they are not looking for anything good." I wonder if this is what they suspect.

So, rereading, I don't know that I have much in the way of suggestions, perhaps the second opinion of the skull xrays by a veterinary dentist to completely rule out teeth issues.

I am very sorry your guinea pig is having these difficulties.


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:41 am

Yes I am in Edmonton.

I didn’t realize sulcrate was a stomach ulcer medication. It did seem to be effective as his ulcers have all healed up.

Are they able to send x rays to Dr Legendre for a second option? That might be a good idea. They have already taken skull X-rays.

We considered something might be stuck in his oesophogus because along with not eating his pellets and hay when he did eat his veggies he did a funny thing opening his mouth and moving his head to the side (almost like something was stuck). So they did the X-ray of his body and it didn’t show anything in his oesophagus. That’s when they noticed the bloating.

They didn’t say exactly what they were thinking regards ti nothing good but that sound like a possibility.

It’s so tough! He was such a happy bubbly crazy piggie a month ago and now we are at this point. It has happened so fast. And what is so hard is he may be a bit more sleepy but he still seems to be enjoying himself with his brothers.
Thanks for the info on Dr Legendre

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Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:50 pm

For what it's worth, one poster, a long time ago, her vet used a tiny camera on a flexible hose/line/? to take pictures of the throat. I imagine if your vets had done this and had experience, they might have suggested it as a diagnostic.

Yes, the vets would contact Dr. Legendre and could email digital xrays for a consultation.


Post   » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:25 pm

They did suggest a camera in his throat when there was a possibility that there was something stuck in his oesophagus but they haven’t suggested it since. They don’t have a camera that small so said we would have to go to Saskatchewan to get that done.

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