- I dissent.
I think, as Lynx suggested, it might be a question for your vet. I'm glad to hear Zuki is doing a bit better.
I'm leaning toward doing it again even if she seems okay, rather than waiting for hair loss to perhaps return. But since we're not there yet I'll read some more, ask him what he thinks, and perhaps check with the triple-boarded vet I knew back in Boston area (who told me subcue was okay after I worried this Philly vet should have done IM injection).
- I dissent.
It sounds like contacting the more experienced vet in Boston would be a good next step. Keep us posted!
- Supporter 2016-2021
As advise discuss with your vets but like I said Jessie had 3 doses(6 injections) then when needed. After 12 months (4 injections) another ultrasound. Good luck to you and Zuki !
Around March I wanted to bring her for repeat Cystorelin injections since her hair loss returned and she seemed uncomfortable... I thought due to her cystic ovaries. The hormones helped her last year, and vet (#1) seemed on board to repeat.
BUT around the same time she was straining, hunching, and whimpering during urination and perhaps defecation (hard to correlate with pee and/or poop). I also saw decreased urine output, so thought maybe she had a calcium issue (stones). Xrays last August 2020 showed 2 stones in her urethra, and we tried anti-inflammatory med (metacam) with antibiotic, to see if she could/would pass them and to fight any UTI. After the meds, Zuki did seem better, so I thought the stone had passed (undetected by me).
I postponed the plan for hormone injections and had Xrays done instead (April 2021) to figure out her straining. Sure enough, a large stone toward the end of her urethra. I'm wondering if the two from last August combined to form one. This time vet (#1) prescribed prednisone, antibiotic, and motility med... different durations, but overall 3 weeks of meds (had to taper off the prednisone). She may have been more comfortable during that, but her problem continues. And that vet didn't/doesn't seem to have other ideas -- he said urethra inoperable because too small to suture back together, so I think my options were to wait for an emergency (obstruction) or euthanize Zuki.
In early May, I brought her to a different vet -- sent the Xrays from April plus an article about stone removal in guinea pigs (from my favorite exotics vet back in Boston): Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 36(2021) 11-15, "Non-surgical removal of urethral uroliths using a self-retaining retractor with elastic stays in female guinea pigs (2006-2019)" -- good results among the 16 subjects and good diagrams/photos, so I'm sorry I don't have link for access. Anyway, I don't know whether Vet #2 used that exact procedure or not, but he got the stone out -- wphew! My photo is not handy right now to embed in this update, but suffice it to say I think her stone would hurt even a human!
A week later I had to board all 3 piggies during a few days of travel for a family situation. The clinic was aware of her stone removal and that she's been fussy as to what she'll eat, so eating less than normal. I was supplementing with Critical Care a bit since Zuki didn't eat enough pellets and veggies by herself. When I picked them up, not only did I notice bloody urine for a day but also Zuki seemed smaller/lighter. And she's still whimpering as though something hurts her inside -- doesn't really correlate with output. So the problem was not solved... or returned... or something else going on now.
Currently I'm trying to keep her from losing more weight and hope to bring her for an appointment to get the first hormone injection AND another Xray (at vet #1, since he's only doc who's willing to give Cystorelin). She may have another stone; I've heard/read they can recur quickly. If so, then we may go back to Vet #2 since he seems more invested in helping her with calcium issues... also a more impressive hospital, though pricier. I haven't found a vet here in Philly who has my complete confidence re guinea pig expertise, which is why I didn't have Zuki spayed when cystic ovaries discovered (that was actually another vet entirely!).
At last, here's my question: How much baby food is okay per day? She likes Critical Care mixed with a bit of 100% cranberry juice, but I learned she LOVES Critical Care mixed with sweet potato baby food. I give her some throughout the day since I'm mostly home lately. I also bought pumpkin baby food and a mix of squash-apple; we haven't tried those yet. No additives, and I know decent amount of fiber. But I don't want to impact her GI if too much natural sugar... and certainly I'm trying to avoid high calcium veggies (though I've read Critical Care is also high in calcium?). I've been tempted to give her oat flakes, too, but the carbs scare me -- again, don't want to upset her GI while she has at least 2 other issues right now (cystic ovaries and the whimpering/discomfort that's perhaps due to more stones).
Zuki is almost 6 years old and lately weighs about 700g. She used to weigh 900-1100g, years ago. I know they lose with age, plus I think her pain and meds decreased appetite. Maybe even her loneliness factored in, after Izzy died and before a new pal arrived. I need her to not get any smaller!
Thanks for reading and for any suggestions for weight gain, especially if someone has experience with baby food amounts. Zuki remains a real trouper through her struggles, so I'm not ready to give up despite MY struggles with confidence in vets here, finances, and other personal challenges going on.
- Supporter 2016-2021
As for straining and pushing and blood Zuki may have IBD-irritable bowel disease. Our Jill has it and it is like she is trying to give birth when she pees and poops. Her bowel is inflamed and this causes the cries and blood. She is on Predmix and Anaplex both steroids which help her. Predmix is suppose to increase appetite.
Jill's problems started when on antibiotics for a few weeks. She has had poop sent off twice and tested, X-rays, Urine sent off, Ultra sound, Vet went onto VIN a website for vets and that is how they decided Jill had IBD. She is also on a Probiotic, poop soup and Metomide.
I know how scary it is when they lose weight, 2020 Jill was 1175grams and now just over 800grams, I too don't want her to lose any more weight. You may wish to add her favourite veggies to a blender and add to Critical Care or you may syringe them on their own.
Hoping I have helped. Keep us posted and we have everything crossed for you and Zuki! Jill will be 7 in December 2021. Good luck to you both!
I also hadn't heard of those meds. One sounds similar to prednisone, which we tried right after stone (that was removed) was confirmed. It did cause her to drink more and pee more. That vet (#1) said not good as a long-term med for inflammation/pain. The other looks like almost an antihistamine (?), though I just did a quick search on it.
Definitely I'm continuing supplemental feedings. She likes regular Critical Care (think we have apple-banana) and powder made from our pellets...whether mixed with water, cranberry juice, or baby food. Pureed veggies is doable, but can they gain weight from veggies?
I forgot to mention: I'm also mixing in some shilitong (herb that supposedly relaxes urethra) and confess out of desperation I gave some Chanca Piedra for about a week, an herb that may break stones. In the past I've given shilintong to another pig without side effects and think maybe it helped that pet. But I ended up stopping the other herb with Zuki in case that was making things worse, possibly creating sludge (if breaking up stones) that may not pass if she's got some partial obstruction. We need more Xrays to take a look. I also add probiotics powder to her slurry sometimes, though I think that diminishes the taste for her since she becomes less willing to take syringe.
Thanks for your ideas and crossed fingers!
- Supporter 2016-2021
I've been giving metacam, leftover from vet's last prescription. Will ask if that should continue, and we'll need more soon (whatever pain med is appropriate). And I do give shilintong, usually half a pill per day (crushed into powder, mixed into Critical Care), sometimes full pill in 2 servings per day. She is not suffering, but I don't want her uncomfortable throughout the day nor whatever problem to get worse.
I asked vet #1 (who diagnosed stone in April) how much she weighed then, since I had to wait outside during exam. He wrote back 610g, which I don't think is correct... but if so, my goodness! I've only had one piggy get down that low, with thyroid problem. She died at half her normal weight, years ago. Zuki is now 700 or 710 on a good day (maybe baby food helping?) or 680-690 on other days.
- Supporter 2016-2021
I'm still trying to help her maintain and hopefully gain weight. Most of the time she's around 700g, though I've seen 715 a few times. I've been mixing Critical Care with baby food and giving at least once or twice per day -- so far she seemed to like sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash with apple, and we're gonna try green bean. I'm trying to minimize sugar, carbs, and calcium for her. She also eats pellets, hay, and veggies with her cagemates. And I sometimes add pure cranberry juice to her supplement, in case that may help with urinary issues... plus I add half a crushed shilintong pill.
So far I'm nevous to try oats, but I've come across sellers of pea flakes (on Etsy, of all places!). What's the deal with them -- helpful for weight gain? Potential side effects, or precautions? I want to assess risks versus benefits. I did read through a few forum threads but hoping to learn more. Thanks in advance!
- Supporter 2016-2021
I wouldn't use oats as read somewhere piggies have trouble digesting them. As to pea flakes I am sorry but can't help you there. Wishing you and Zuki luck and healing vibes from me and the girls. If you find a way let me know!
How's she doing? Zuki still has hair loss from cystic ovaries; I have not scheduled more Cystorelin injections because her low weight is main concern currently. She's 700g on a good day, sometimes more like 685. I'm still giving her supplemental syringe feedings -- usually baby food mixed with ground pellets, plus a splash of pure cranberry juice, a pinch of shilintong, and sometimes probiotic. She helps herself to syringe whenever she's ready for another dose from Mama and tells me when she's had enough (I give as much as she wants).
I sometimes apply diaper rash cream to her bottom due to occasional urine scald, because it doesn't squirt out normally (she had a calcium stone removed and may still have calcium issues). She doesn't hunch and whimper so much while pooping and peeing, yet to me I think that's because she has less output overall (though I also hope maybe any recurrent stones/sludge passed). Only occasionally do I give metacam or Reglan, especially since the meds I have on hand are older leftovers and I don't love the 2 vets I've tried for her. Understandably she's not as active as her younger cagemates (and younger self) -- mostly stands still for a while, often under a shelter, but can still walk around and stand up at hay rack. Unfortunately, it's rare that I see her resting comfortably (curled and/or flat). And she doesn't like being handled, though we have a certain way I pick her up and move her to a comfy blanket for petting, checking her body condition, and giving treats.
I've been considering another vet visit, not just for hormone injections (from Vet #1) but also maybe another Xray to check her calcium (perhaps Vet #2 since he removed the stone from end of her urethra). But I'm nervous that both of them may not be invested in helping an older piggy and/or may recommend a bunch of tests that will confirm what we already know (cystic ovaries and calcium issues). So mostly we're taking things day by day... and I'm grateful for whatever time we have together. And though Zuki has challenges, I don't think she's suffering. She also remains the alpha within my trio -- tells the others when to back off.
- Supporter 2016-2021
My vet even consulted with a vet in the UK when Zoe was sick. My vet will treat any type and what ever the age. Just pick one and ask them. If they say no go for the other vet. Wishing you Zuki luck. I see no pictures, thought it was my TV. Thinking of you both!
It's so disappointing that the Exotics section at UPenn closed and has been "restructuring and trying to hire team" for at least the 4 years I've been living here. Philadelphia is just not such a piggy place, I've learned. I do consult with a former vet back in Boston who's Board certified in Exotics with 20 years' experience, but she hasn't practiced for past few years and admits she's not always knowledgeable about the "latest and greatest." Thanks for your well wishes.
On a brighter note... I just tinkered with coding and succeeded with photos from Flickr. So here's Zuki's birthday party!