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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21201
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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One of my guinea pigs, only three years old lost weight

Customer Question

One of my guinea pigs, only three years old lost weight while I was away although I had a friend looking after both guinea pigs! She was making crackling noises coming from her nose and had messy stools. I wonder if this could have been caused by the stress in me going away? One vet has sent off a stool sample and the emergency vet who I saw last night, has given antibiotics! I am giving the poorly guinea lots of love and cuddles but am worried. The vet told me not to worry but she has a swollen neck and the vet isn't sure if it is a bacterial infection or not so I am concerned!
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

How long has she had these signs since you've been home?

Has she been eating less or drinking more?

Does she seem to have heavier breathing? Any coughing, sneezing or nasal discharge?

What antibiotic was given?

Can you take a photo of this neck swelling so I can see what you are seeing? To post it, you can use the paper clip button on the tool bar above the text box (last icon). Or if you cannot see that, then post it on any site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr Instagram, etc) & paste the link here for me

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Dear Dr. B,
Thank you for your reply!
The emergency vet gave me Baytril and Ranitidine as well as Metacam(pain killer). My guinea pig is now outside n the tunnel although I kept her indoors overnight and have been giving her TLC as usual!
She has been eating, although I noticed when I hand fed her some red pepper, she looked as if she was having difficulty chewing and it is taking longer to chew things! She has lost weight according to the first vet I saw. Both vets think it is a bacterial infection and one has taken a stool sample. Ebony(the poorly guinea pig), had really messy stools this morning, green in colour and seems to be crouching as if she is uncomfortable or having difficulty. Last night she was burrowing hard and seems to be hiding in the tunnel at the moment whereas the other guinea pig is busy nibbling the grass! Ebony has been licking the other guinea pigs' eyes!
It is difficult to take a photo this second, but I can post one later if this is alright!
She was making crackly noises and doesnt drink much which is why I have been giving her cucumber.
The normal diet I give my guinea pigs is eating hay in abundance, spinach in abundance, parsley and occasional treats such as strawberries, blueberries, orange.
Ebony was fine when I went on holiday! A friend looked after the guinea pigs and was given instructions on what to do!
I am stressed as I went for a well earned holiday and have all this to cope with!Kind regards,
Alison
Could I call you?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I think I have paid £28 but I have had a message to ask if I would like a call , I need to pay more!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Hello Alison,

Please disregard the auto-call offer, as its from the site not myself. And you are welcome to post a photo when you can.

Now I cannot see any mention of how long you have been back from holiday. Though the reason I asked was because while stress can impact their stools and their health generally, to see it with you home suggests this isn't just stress. It may have dampened her immune system but to see signs continue once all is back to normal at home usually is a sign that bacterial (sometimes viral or parasitic) infections gaining a foot hold. And for her to have increased respiratory noise rings alarm bells of a brewing airway infection, so the Baytril is not unreasonable here and the stool sample is spot on to look for infectious causes for the loose stools.

That said, one issue that does concern me is your mention of her struggles with the pepper. This is because we can see situations where their molars overgrow leading to difficulity eating. And when that happens they can selective graze (eating less hay and leaning to softer foods) which could in turn could affect stool quality and her weight. As well, if she is loose with her stools, there will be nutrient loss there from reduced gut absorption and that too will negatively impact Ebony's weight. So, we'd want her teeth checked if the vets have not done so already.

Furthermore, besides what has been dispensed, we need her vets putting her on a probiotic to support her good gut bacteria. This will help with the stools but also reduce any gas from pathogenic bacteria (a concern if she is hunched up as that tends to be a sore gut sign in this species). There are a range of cavy probitoics that can be used but as her stools aren't formed, you can have her vet dispense Fibreplex to firm them as well as support the good bacteria. Plus increase her dietary fiber. If she isn't eating a good amount of hay, use canned pumpkin (from the International aisle in most big grocery stores), veggie baby food, etc. as those will bulk up stool too. And if you are modifying her diet, make sure spinach isn't given in abundance since its too calcium rich and can cause bladder stones for this species. And if she isn't drinking well, you can flavour her water with low sugar fruit juice of you can syringe feed fluids (aim for 4.8ml per 100 g of her weight daily).

Finally, I am keen to see her neck if you can post a photo. The treatments she is on should help with an abscess or soft tissue inflammation, but I have to note that we could also be seeing this from her blood proteins being too low (as they lose protein with diarrhea and when the blood proteins drop, fluid leaks into places like under the jaw, belly, or legs) or secondary to tooth root abscesses (though usually hard unless there is secondary infection). So, we'd want to keep an eye on that but would hope that as they treat and as we reduce the looseness in her stools that will settle; else an xray may be the next step for Ebony.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

******************************************************************************

I aim to provide best care for you just as I do for my own clients & their pets. If you have any other questions, please ask – I’m happy to help but please rate me with the **STARS** (or leave a written rating of 1-5; 5 being great) as this is the only way I am credited for my work by the site & this allows me to continue to help here. This is included in your question fee. Once you rate, your question will not close & you can still ask follow-up questions. Thank you. : )**

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Dear Dr. B,Thank you so much!!
The emergency vet did suggest checking the teeth but hasn't mentioned canned pumpkin or soft foods! It sweet potato ok?
I have been back since Tuesday evening! Ebony seems active when I pick her up and although she is sometimes happy to be stroked, she can be wriggly, which is normal. I was frightened to go to sleep last night and kept checking on her!
Should I wait until tomorrow to request an appointment or do you feel that this needs to be done immediately?
I will ask my 22 year old son to upload a photo later if this is acceptable? I really hope it's nothing sinister!Kind regards
Alison
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Hi again,

That is totally fine, he can upload that that at any point.

Otherwise, as long as she is eating for us, breathing normally and not seeming depressed or painful; we can wait for her regular vet to open. Of course, any change to those and we'd want her seen sooner.

Best wishes for wee Ebony,

Dr. B.

******************************************************************************

I aim to provide best care for you just as I do for my own clients & their pets. If you have any other questions, please ask – I’m happy to help but please rate me with the **STARS** (or leave a written rating of 1-5; 5 being great) as this is the only way I am credited for my work by the site & this allows me to continue to help here. This is included in your question fee. Once you rate, your question will not close & you can still ask follow-up questions. Thank you. : )**

Dr. B. and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Dear Dr. B,Thank you very much for all your feedback. I will give you an excellent rating, of course and upload the photo of Ebony later! I have mashed up sweet potato and carrot in the meantime and added freshly squeezed orange juice to the water bottle!
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello Dr. B,
Should I separate the guineas, or are they alright together? They are inseparable so it would be difficult to do this! My son and I cannot upload the photos unfortunately but the pictures are not clear anyway as she has a lot of fur around her neck!
Alison
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Hello again,

If they are happy together and Ebony isn't being bullied, I'd be tempted to leave them together. We just don't want to stress either of them more here.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello again,I have rated your service and I wanted to ask you another question please!
I have weighed Ebony today and she appears to be 986 g. She was weighed a few days ago when I took her to the vets and was 1 kg. If this a significant weight loss? Should I be overly concerned? I have made an appointment today for a vet to look at the teeth! Ebony keeps licking the other guinea pigs' eyes. I am wondering if she has caught an infection in doing this!Kind regards
Alison
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello Dr. B,Ebony has an abscess on the neck, according to the vet who I saw today! I have been advised to have it removed! Is the operation safe?Kind regards
Alison
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Good morning,

My apologies for my delay, but as I am sure you can appreciate I am in the clinics during the week.

We do always need to be careful with weight loss in these wee ones since they don't have much to spare. But as we can have a bit of water weight or bladder fullness shift the weight, do weigh her daily. If we see that loss continue to we don't see her pop back up to 1kg, then we'd assume it was significant but we'd hope that if we can keep her eating well we can tackle that. And in regards ***** ***** suspect abscess if it is severe then they do tend to need to be opened/drained on top of antibiotics. And I do have to say that it is usually for the best but there is a risk with anesthesia in this species (they are quite delicate) though I'd expect her vet to take that into account and use low doses for her. Still speak to her vet about whether she is strong enough for that but it would be ideal if we can get that infection cleared for her and get her onto the road to recovery.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello Dr. B,
Thankyou.
I had to take Ebony to an emergency vet because she reacted to the antibiotic. She is now eating well. She is staying overnight with an exotic pet specialist ao that the vet cam monitor her. Ebony is with Maisey as they are inseparable! The vet said that they will need to do tests to get to the root of the problem and that if Ebony wriggles they may need to use anaesthetic which is like gas. I asked the risk about anaesthetic but the vet said that they are all different. I am very anxious but have been advised that the abscess is now quite large
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Oh no, the poor love.

She has been very unlucky as its rare they have a reaction to that one. Still glad to see that she is doing well with the specialist and that they are looking into this properly for her. And it does sound like she is in good hands there.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.