Losing weight

Post Reply
rulerofelves

Post   » Sun Jul 10, 2022 11:40 pm


Hi, I'd appreciate some advice on what to do about my 5 year old guinea pig. She is usually about 1140 grams, but a couple weeks ago when we weighed her she was down to 1100. Since her appetite seemed normal and she wasn't showing any signs of pain or distress, we weren't particularly concerned. However, this week her weight is down to 1050g. We were on vacation this week so she was with a friend, but they have guinea pigs and would have noticed big changes in appetite or signs of pain (she seems completely normal now that we have her back, too).

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.

User avatar
Sef
I dissent.

Post   » Mon Jul 11, 2022 12:38 am


When is the last time you weighed her prior to two weeks ago? I am wondering if that is a sudden loss or gradual. By my calculations, that's a little more than 3 ounces of weight loss, which is concerning. I wonder if the change in environment could be a factor, though, since you mention that she was staying with a friend. Do you know for sure that your guinea pig was being fed the same amount that you normally feed her, and that she was eating all of her food?

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.

rulerofelves

Post   » Mon Jul 11, 2022 1:10 am


I'm unfortunately not sure - it was probably a few weeks before, but it could have been as much as two months (I had surgery in May so my parents had to take care of her until a few weeks ago, and they're not sure if they ever weighed her).

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.

User avatar
Sef
I dissent.

Post   » Mon Jul 11, 2022 7:24 am


Yes, agree. Sounds like a good plan.

Keep us posted!

User avatar
Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Mon Jul 11, 2022 7:51 am


These pages may be helpful too, though Sef pretty much covered potential issues (and it looks like you are on top of this also):
http://www.guinealynx.info/weigh.html
http://www.guinealynx.info/ovarian_cysts.html
Aging
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.
http://jpgpr.guinealynx.info/jpgpr400.html

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2022 6:02 pm


Ditto all the advice above.

With the mildly crusty nipples I'd definitely get her checked out by a cavy-knowledgeable vet.

Good luck and please keep us posted.

rulerofelves

Post   » Mon Aug 01, 2022 5:22 pm


So, after two cancelled appointments and two weeks of quarantining after catching covid, we finally made it to the vet today. Since I last posted here her weight dropped to 1030, and she developed some patches of thin hair on her sides, so I was expecting the vet to find that she had ovarian cysts.

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?

User avatar
Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Mon Aug 01, 2022 10:55 pm


I think it possible to have hormonal issues (which frequently manifest as ovarian cysts) not show up on xray. Yes, guinea pigs can develop hairballs though it is rather rare. Here's a post I wrote about them:
viewtopic.php?p=2266660#p2266660

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:57 pm


Soft-tissue issues (like ovarian cysts) show up much better on ultrasound than on x-ray. Can this vet do ultrasound (not all have the equipment)?

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.

rulerofelves

Post   » Sat Aug 06, 2022 2:13 am


I am going to get in touch with the vet, especially because I haven't noticed her passing any hair which he said to expect (though her poops do look different and her tummy seems a little less round/firm, so maybe they are working. It's hard to say).

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.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2022 4:47 pm


If it were me I'd offer her some. Don't force it, but just offer her some -- maybe make a stiff-ish 'meatball' and put it on a small plate and see what she thinks of it.

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.

User avatar
ItsaZoo
Supporter in 2022

Post   » Thu Aug 11, 2022 2:05 pm


I agree, it’s a good idea. And if she ends up liking it, that’s a plus. Then if she ever falls really ill it won’t be so difficult to get her to take CC. Nothing more stressful than a really sick pig that doesn’t want CC.

Post Reply
12 posts • Page 1 of 1