I'm trying to schedule a vet visit but I'm curious how concerned I should be and if there's anything else I need to be doing. My other guinea pig passed about 6 months ago so I am aware of the signs that something more severe is going on, but I honestly wouldn't realize anything was different if I wasn't weighing her.
- I dissent.
As guinea pigs age, they sometimes do lose weight. I think a health check-up is a good idea, though, just to make sure there is nothing going on with her such as dental issues, which would be one of the first things to rule out.
I'm not sure exactly how much food she was getting when she wasn't with us, but it was definitely a change in her diet because we usually give her several hours a day to graze on fresh grass in our backyard. She was definitely getting unlimited hay and plenty of pellets, but of course I can't be certain how many veggies she was eating (she's always been picky about veggies anyway). I'll definitely weigh her more this week to see if it goes up now that she's back with us.
Something else I just noticed as I was examining her a little more closely is that her nipples look kind of crusty so now I'm wondering about ovarian cysts. I'm not sure if that could explain the weight loss, but either way it seems like one more reason to schedule a vet visit and get everything checked out.
As our guinea pigs get older, their bodies change. We need to pay special attention in order to catch problems early. Vicki of JPGPR has written a useful and comprehensive article on aging in guinea pigs called "Old Timers". She suggests monitoring several important health issues.
But the x-rays didn't show any reproductive problems - instead, based on the imaging they said she has hair stuck in her GI tract that is causing a partial blockage. They gave us Reglan and a gel that contains petroleum and mineral oil meant to help hairballs in cats. They also suggested we give her less grass to make sure she is getting enough fiber from hay.
I had never heard of guinea pigs getting hair balls before but the vet seemed pretty knowledgeable, does anyone have experience with this? I'm also still a little concerned about the ovarian cyst symptoms, is it possible for those to not show up on x-rays?
- You can quote me
The motility agent and hairball remedy should not hurt her and may help, but everything you're describing still says cysts to me. I'd ask about ultrasound as a diagnostic if it were me, especially if her weight does not stabilize.
Her weight is about the same, now hovering around 1010-1020ish. She is still eating, but would it be a good idea to supplement with a little critical care? She's not underweight at this weight (if anything, her weight was probably a little high before) but I definitely don't want her to keep losing weight either.
- You can quote me
I think you are wise to proactively supplement to help maintain her weight. She may turn up her nose at it, but she may really like it.