Stay calm – It’s just a sick guinea pig

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Over the last week, I have been having trouble getting Lily to take her usual treats from me. She kept asking for snacks, and then telling me it wasn’t a snack, and walking off. Alright. Maybe it’s a spell with her sniffer?
Turns out, not entirely, and when I was cleaning the pig pen on Friday with my step daughter, I realized that Lily was very light.
“Oh no.” and I rushed to the kitchen to pull out the scale and the guinea pig container.
The color flushed from my step daughter’s face. “Oh no?”
“Yeah…Yeah, that’s what I thought”

Lily has lost over 300 grams. Her gimpy rear right leg was very lame. However, she’s still got her personality, still interested in food but not taking it, and was definitely eating her hay. I called the vet and they said they could do an emergency visit at the end of the day for an additional $75, and that nothing was available until Monday as Saturday was all booked out. I told them we would wait until Monday.

Her appointment is in three hours. She’s not dead yet. She’s actually okay. Why would I wait until Monday?
Because I have had guinea pigs for almost a full 11 years. Lily is heading towards age five. I still have non-narcotic pain relief from her spay in April. I know how to find the dosing for her new svelte weight. I also have liquid vitamin C supplement from a previous vet visit. I know how to hand feed formula through a syringe. If she’s going to die over the weekend, there is not much I can do about it aside from run up a very large veterinary services bill, and then have a deceased piggy.

I’ve been giving her medicines, just got her handfeeding formula yesterday, and her weight stayed the same from Friday to Sunday. She was eating cucumber all weekend along with her Oxbow Natural Science vitamin C hay tabs (cookies) and loose hay in the cage, but this morning didn’t go so well. She came up to me for treats, and then told me that the cucumber wasn’t a treat. She again came up to me for treats, and then told me her cookie wasn’t a treat. She’s barely nibbling at the hay today. We did get 5mL of formula into her. Yesterday afternoon it was 8mL, but I’ll take what I can get. Ideally you would want your piggy to have 10-15mL in a single sitting, but I am sure her tummy has shrunk way down.

So, what’s the plan?
I’m going to take her to have her teeth checked and get a good and thorough groping. I don’t want to run up a big bill with blood work and x-rays. I want their best educated guess. If it’s her teeth, we will trim them. If it’s an obvious tumor somewhere, we will continue with medicine and hand feeding as long as she will allow. If it’s a cyst, we will drain it.

But she’s spayed…Why would she have a cyst?
This is a good one. My previous 8 year old guinea pig (who was spayed) ended up with a massive cyst on her kidney. They wanted to remove her kidney (because cysts can return), so we did blood work to make sure her kidney function was great, and then we tried to get her weight back up for surgery, but she never gained. I was hand feeding her 4 times a day, along with her medicine, and it was only keeping her weight from plummeting.
That guinea pig wasn’t even the only one; just the most obvious one. I had an ultrasound done on Mr Emerson near the end of his life, and he had polycystic kidney, which is a more common occurrence in canines. Mr Emerson had health problems all his life, but I adored him.

Getting ready to do this. All her other daughters have died besides Murphy, and Murphy may be alone soon. I can handle this. *sigh*

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