I live in Italy and have done some research - it doesn't look like the same medicines to treat diabetes in guinea pigs (glucotrol, etc.) are available here. But I also read that with the right diet many times you can reverse or at least alleviate some of the symptoms of diabetes. I thought she was eating pretty healthily - lots of hay, a few pellets, and a variety of veggies - but I just googled "sugary vegetables" to see what besides the carrots I could cut out, and many of the staples I give them are all on the list of the 15 top sugary veggies - who knew!?!? I feel terrible - I mean I knew carrots and cherry tomatoes were meant to be given more rarely (they're a once or twice a week thing here), but I regularly give fennel, bell pepper, radicchio (red cabbage) and zucchini to my girls and those are all on the list of top 15!!! Plus every so often a sliver of apple or a piece of watermelon or kiwi, and it seems I've been sugar loading my girls without knowing it.
So of course I'm looking into changing what I feed them asap - but wanted to know what, besides red and green leaf lettuce which is easy to find here and I already feed almost daily, can I give her? Most common kinds of leafy greens in Italy are escarole, chard, and Italian kale (and of course romaine, iceberg, butter lettuce, but I know those aren't the greatest for guineas).
Would vitamin C drops (brand Cebion from the pharmacy) via syringe be a better solution than giving bell pepper for her daily vitamin C? I've done this in the past when she's was going through a picky phase and wasn't eating her pepper. She's easy to syringe.
Any advice you can share would be greatly appreciated, I feel horrible but I honestly thought that the varied mix of veggies was good for her. :(
And ditto PooksiedAnimals.
Your guinea pig may also have stones:
What do you mean by a significant drop in weight? Can you be more specific? How frequently are you weighing?
I would also be weighing daily right now.
- You can quote me
Ditto the advice you have received. Many things other than diabetes can cause what you're describing. Hyperthyroidism can be treated with a simple (and fairly cheap) med called Tapazole (methimazole).
I took Dory to the vet last evening and she actually suspects renal issues, given that she is losing weight but still has a good apetite and is not overactive. We sent her urine out for labwork and will know more tomorrow and decide what to do from the lab results. For now til then (tomorrow), Critical Care and encouraging her to drink water. Eventually if the labwork is inconclusive, we will do an eco.
Thank you all for your helpful advice.
To answer Lynx - approximately 150g total lost in a month's time... every summer she usually drops 50-60 grams so I wasn't initially too concerned but then in the last 1-2 weeks she really started dropping. Edited to add: I was weighing once every week (or so) - sometimes I am not exactly precise so it may have been more like once every week and a half. Now I am weighing twice a day ..
- You can quote me
Weigh every day or every other day, **at about the same time of day**. Look for trends, not so much day-to-day variations.
You're doing the right things. Best to her and please keep us posted.
So the results of the lab work are back and inconclusive. Not sure if anyone here knows how to read it, but my vet went through it with me and said that the only thing that was out of the ordinary was a fairly decent amount of sediment in the urine. Her kidneys are just within the limits of normal, so she doesn't think that renal disease is causing the weight loss, and it's not diabetes as there was no glucose found in the urine.
REAZIONE (ph) 8,5
PESO SPECIFICO 1,008
PROTEINE (mg/dl) 1
GLUCOSIO (mg/dl) Assente (not found)
CHETONI (mg/dl) Assenti (not found)
EMOGLOBINA Assente (not found)
BILIRUBINA (mg/dl) Assente (not found)
NITRITI Assenti (not found)
SEDIMENTO Abbondante materiale amorfo (Abundant amorphous material)
Rapporto prot/crea urinarie 0,19
She recommends an ultrasound which we'll do next week.
I'm supplementing with Critical Care a few times a day and her weight has stabilized at around 770/80 grams depending on the time of day I weigh her. She has fluctuated anywhere between 830 grams and 990 grams over the years (she was 950 grams this spring after she had her stroke, and that was her start weight at the beginning of summer) so she's dropped a good 170/180 grams. She usually drops 50-60 grams during the summer, so somewhere in the mid-800s would be fine for me, but 770 is definitely too low!
I'll let you know after the next tests, what we find/don't find. Any tips in the mean time for palliative care and weight-boosting are much appreciated!
- Supporting my GL Habit
This may help you:
And here's an article on hyperthyroidism in a guinea pig:
- You can quote me
You can also do the same with pellet stew -- soften some pellets in a tiny bit of warm water until crumbly, then mix with canned pumpkin, or carrot or squash baby food. We've used this as a supplement many times at our house to help pigs maintain or regain weight.
My vet ruled out hyperthyroidism as she did not find anything when palpating during her physical examination, and Dory is, if anything, more subdued and less active than usual. I wouldn't say she's lethargic, but she is definitely not hyperactive, quite the opposite. She used to be the first to wheek in the morning for veggies, now it's her cagemate that starts the ruckus and she'll pipe up for a few seconds but not nearly as wholeheartedly as before. She still does her typical moving around and does not seem to be in any pain, but she has slowed down in her middle-age.
She isn't a huge fan of pellets - she eats them but does not go crazy for them - so I have been continuing with the CC. She mostly takes it willingly, sometimes I have to do a little convincing but she does take it. I don't force her since she is still eating on her own and I don't want to stress her. Sometimes she devours it, other times I need to coax her, and a few times she outright refuses but I think that probably it's because she just ate so I wait half an hour and try again and she's usually more receptive. I will definitely try making a little CC "meatball" with some veggie puree (we have a centrifuge juicer and the veggie pulp that comes out is one of their favorite treats, so I'll try mixing that in too. The only problem is that her "little" sister (twice her size) is such a food bully and so I'll have to separate them while I offer it, and give Olivia something else.
The other thing I've been doing is once I've given her 8-10mls of CC via syringe (at which point she stops cooperating), then I've given her little lettuce wraps with more CC inside - I've been able to get another 2-3mls of CC in her this way too.
Her weight has stabilised at around 775/780 grams, her lowest having been 765grams last week, and she hasn't lost any more since the visit to the vet. If I can get her back up to 800 grams I'd be thrilled but I know it's a slow and painstaking process, and the underlying culprit needs to be found before we can rest easy.
The vet also said that fresh grass would be a good way to get her weight back up, but unfortunately right now it hasn't rained in months where we live so there is no grass in sight. I was wondering if another type of hay, like the specialty hays that Oxbow sells (Orchard Grass, Meadow, Alfalfa, etc) might be a good way to encourage her to eat a bit more? Thoughts?
Not sure what to make of this all, but if she is holding steady for almost two weeks now, perhaps whatever was going on has subsided?