I took my guinea pig to the vet yesterday as she has been losing weight over the last couple of weeks. She seems happy in herself and appeared to be eating, and I now realise drinking a lot of water (I originally thought she was mucking around with the bottle for a while as a lot of it ended up on the floor of the pen - and she IS the cheeky one of the lot).
Anyway - the vet examined her and thought she might have a kidney infection as one of the kidneys was significantly larger than the other. She was given an antibiotic injection and I took her home. I've kept her with another sow away from the other 2 for the time being so I can monitor them both. (The other sow had an abscess drained and it needs flushing out twice a day plus she has to have oral antibiotics twice a day).
I noticed her poops are quite dry and hard - although have a shiny surface. This is different to her normal poops of the past. Is this something to be worried about? I'd like some advice on how to care for her, as she is loved greatly in the family. I've read about hand feeding her - so have some mashed grain ready to go if necessary.
She seems to be coping with eating a little lettuce - but anything else, she takes a couple of bites but doesn't finish (broccoli, blackberry, apple etc. all things she traditionally love). I was examining her teeth and I noticed the front ones seem to be really long - but they seem to fit together without causing an issue and she isn't dribbling - so not sure if that rules out malocclusion or not?! (I can only see the front teeth) Is it just the antibiotics that is causing her to not be that hungry?
Any suggestions most welcome.
What I found really useful was a pic of healthy incisor teeth on the net (the bottom ones really do start a long way down!) and a basic view of the skull so I can see how far I should put in the syringe for feeding - the assumption being I need to get the food to the back of the mouth where the molars are. I can hear her chewing when I do this. Sometimes she spits it out if I don't put it back far enough. I think it will take practice to get it right.
If I'm trying to get her to re-gain the weight then how much should I aim for her to put on in a day?
Thanks for your help!
I did find the last bag of critical care at another vets a few kms away and made some of that up. Also crushed some vit C and vit B powder into it. I tried so hard to syringe feed her over the last week - first with ground pellets. She basically refused it and even lost her appetite for water. She kept spitting it out so on Friday I made the mix a bit wetter and tried every 1.5 hours to get something into her. I was putting it behind her front teeth. I think I must have managed a bit as I did weigh her before and after (could have just been water - or she could have been holding it in her cheeky pouches) - but I could feel she gradually started giving up, she stopped fighting me when I tried to feed her - I knew she had given up.
After a couple of hours, she started to die. Her eyes became all glazed over and she couldn't lift her head up without effort. I knew there was nothing more I could do at this point. So I gave her lots of cuddles. She died in my Dads arms.
It was a horrible end to the week. I'd lost so much sleep trying to get the pair of them eating and drinking - and took the day off work on Friday so I could focus on just Patch and Petal.
I'm now wondering did I do the hand feeding wrong? Or was she too far gone that saving her would have been a miracle anyway - and being an awesome guinea pig just hid it really well?
On a brighter note, Petal has some anti inflammatories now to reduce the swelling around the abscess, and I spoke to the vet about the Baytril as I thought it was giving her bloat. The vet suggested reducing the dose to 0.4ml/day in the evening. I gave her another dose - but she bloated up almost immediately after. So my gut feel is to stop the antibiotics as she could be having a reaction to them.
Should I get them replaced with other antibiotics?
The wound is healing well - but the lump isn't going down. Her gut has slowed down a bit as well. The vet said to hand feed her as well. I read somewhere that handfeeding a guinea pig with bloat isn't a good idea as it's going in but not coming out! She is doing a few poos here and there which is good, but not enough as far as I'm concerned.
But there is contradicting advice then - do I handfeed her to ensure she is still eating? She is eating a little but no where near as much as the other 2 who practically live in the food bowl!
I have been giving her a warm bath 2x a day to try and ease any discomfort and even got her sitting on the electric toothbrush switched on in a towel so the vibrations help break up the gassiness. Then I wash the wound with the antiseptic stuff the vet gave me and give her the anti inflammatories. The vet also gave me a tablet to crush up and get her gut moving - I have to give her a tiny amount - it's not really meant for guinea pigs. I try and get her to walk around a bit more as well.
Is there anything else I should try? We really don't want to lose this one too!
- Contributor in 2014
Petal may be having some antibiotic intolerance:
You may want to give her some probiotics.
"I read somewhere that handfeeding a guinea pig with bloat isn't a good idea as it's going in but not coming out!"
That's right, you don't want to make the situation worse by overfilling her GI tract. There needs to be output before there can be input. Her GI system must keep moving at all times though. If it stops moving, she may need a motility drug.
"The vet also gave me a tablet to crush up and get her gut moving - I have to give her a tiny amount - it's not really meant for guinea pigs."
Do you know the name of the medication?
The usual motility drugs used on guinea pigs are listed on this page:
Bloat can be very serious, so do what you can to keep that under control. You may want to give her some infant Simethicone to relieve gas.
She takes the medicine quite happily - so it must taste nice.
The only food she seems interested in at the moment is lettuce - but she is maintaining body weight - so must be eating other things.
I had separated her and Patch from the other 2 so I could monitor them more closely. However, now Patch is gone, I thought she might miss not having any cage mates - so I have put her back in with them for the time being.
Is there anything else I should be doing?
She is meant to go back to the vet on Thursday.
Thanks for your help..
It sounds like you are monitoring her closely, especially her weight. Hand feed if you notice her weight dropping and contact your vet too (Thursday is a long ways away).
The lump around her abscess hasn't gone down that much. I haven't given her any more Baytril, and I think it was the right decision.
Still gutted about losing Patch - I wish I had come and read up about skinny guinea pigs before I took her to the vet - but there is little I can do about it now. :(
- LS in AK
- Upside-down & Backwards
Sounds like you are doing your best, and that is all you can do.
Hope Petal's abscess improves quickly.
- Contributor in 2014
I'm confused, according to these posts, Convenia is toxic to guinea pigs?
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AnimalVeterinary/Products/Appro ... cm062340.pdf
Cats and Dogs
For the treatment of skin infections (wounds and abscesses) in cats caused by susceptible strains of Pasteurella multocida.
- Contributor in 2014
This drug is toxic to guinea pigs. That may be a factor in your loss of Patch.
You may want to look for another vet, or at least print out the list of safe antibiotics for this one.
Also the list of dangerous medications: