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alisonhilyard
12-05-14, 08:57 pm
Greetings! I am reaching out to you fellow piggie lovers for some advice.....

I have 2 guinea pigs, Buddy and Brownie, who are almost 3 years old. I got them at the same time and they are brothers. All has been going great over the past 3 years w/out any issues. Well, the other day, I noticed Buddy seemed interested in food, but would sniff it and then not eat it. He went to the water bottle and didn't seem to be able to open his mouth to get any. So, I waited one more day and things didn't seem better so I took him to the vet. $135 later, I was told his temp was perfect, no issues with his mouth or teeth, no stomach problems and nothing seemed to be stuck. They cut his nails and gave me some meds to help with nausea and asked me to give him a liquid diet for the next 2-3 days. Buddy seems to be taking the meds and food OK, but he's not any better....thought he's not any worse, either. The doctor wanted to do a $400 x-ray (which would also involve sedating Buddy) and I said "no." I can't afford that and I am not willing to spend that much money for something that may or may not show anything.

So, now I am not sure what to do....they said if he doesn't get better over the next week, they either need to do more tests or it might be time to put him to sleep. I feel badly doing that because other than eating (except for what we are giving him in the syringe), he is acting pretty much the same. He moves around in his cage but isn't squeaking like he used to and hasn't pooped in a few days, probably because of the lack of food. Not sure if he's drinking, but it looks like he might have taken some. He sniffed the Romaine lettuce I gave him this morning and took a few small bites, but that is about it.

Any advice? Has anyone had this issue before? I am afraid the outcome is not good.....

Thanks in advance!

Alison

BaconAndEggs
12-05-14, 09:36 pm
I have never had this problem before, so I'm afraid my advice might not be too precise...

Did you separate your pigs? It may be easier to monitor how much he is eating and drinking. It could possibly be nausea, or maybe something is holding him back. Have you gone anywhere that may have left a strange scent on you? Did you happen to switch your veggie, pellet, hay, or water provider recently?

It could also possibly be blockage. This usually only happens in older boars, and he IS getting to that age. I'm guessing that this is also the same with hay, so try to really encourage it. One time my piggies ate part of a plastic bag, and I was told that the solution was to REALLY push the Timothy Hay. Keep a very close eye on him and if he seems to be trying to poop, but it won't come out, there is a pretty good chance it is blockage.

I hope he gets better soon, sending you hugs.

bpatters
12-05-14, 09:40 pm
Was this an exotic vet, or just a dog-and-cat vet? Because small animal (dog and cat) vets don't know much about guinea pigs. The fact that they gave you something for him for nausea makes me very suspicious, because guinea pigs are completely unable to vomit.

What sort of tooth exam did they do? Is Buddy able to eat anything at all? Can he pick up food and get it into his mouth?

What did they give you to feed him? And how much of it is he getting per day?

alisonhilyard
12-05-14, 09:53 pm
Yep, they are separated and I definitely took him to an exotic vet. Correct, the vet thinks it might be nausea, but nothing has changed in their diet. They both eat the same food, hay and veggies. I spoil them! :). He just doesn't seem interested in food but it's not like he's suffering or looking like he's dying. We are giving him a "liquid diet" and the package says its a "nutritionally complete, assist-feeding formula for herbivores." It almost looks like a veggie powder. You mix it with water and put it in a syringe. Buddy seems to like it and even licked the nozzle after I took it out of his mouth.

They gave me the anti-nausea because they can't vomit. They figured he might eat if he didn't have an upset tummy. Yes, he can pick up the food, he just doesn't seem to be interested in eating it. I am certain if we didn't "force feed" him, he would die. He lost weight in the 2 days before I could get him to the vet!

He's not pooping, but the vet didn't seem surprised since he wasn't eating. He has urninated, though. I would love to push the hay if he would eat it...he normally eats a LOT of it, but not now, though I have some in his cage.

The he vet said she doesn't think it is a blockage, but maybe that's what the $400 x-ray is for?

This is is the one time I wish guinea pigs could speak words!!

dani_starr
12-05-14, 10:12 pm
I'm confused to as why they would give you something to help with possible nausea, when guinea pigs can't vomit, and therefore I don't think they can experience nausea. Nausea is defined as "a feeling of sickness with an inclination to vomit." I'm pretty certain this means that guinea pigs don't experience this, since they are unable to vomit. They certainly can have a lack of appetite due to illness, but I don't think it can be defined as "nausea." Maybe I'm wrong on this though.

To me, it seems very weird that a vet would give you medicine for nausea or an "upset tummy." What is the name of the medicine they gave you to help with nausea? What does it say on the packaging?

Your sure it's nothing to do with his teeth? What did they do during the teeth exam?

Are you sure this exotic vet is experienced with guinea pigs? Not just willing to see them, but actually is knowledgeable? If you give us your city, we can help you find a good vet if you want :)

alisonhilyard
12-05-14, 10:21 pm
Yep, they did a full exam of the teeth and mouth using a special tool. Spent quite a good amount of time checking the things out..and Buddy wasn't happy about it! Apparently, Guinea pigs can have an upset tummy w/out wanting to vomit....kinda like how people feel when they feel 'blah" and just don't want to eat. The vet I saw is very experienced in guinea pigs. I know several people who went to her with excellent results. That's why it took me a few days to get an appointment!

Fay
12-06-14, 04:01 am
How is his activity level? And is the food passing through? It could be a heart condition or an obstruction of some kind. You will probably need to get the x-ray to confirm as this doesn't sound like a thing easily fixed with some medication so try to figure out how you could pay for a potentially large vet bill. Maybe borrow some money of a friend or family member?

http://www.guinealynx.info/anorexia.html
http://www.guinealynx.info/heart.html

3GPigsplus1more
12-06-14, 06:18 am
A thorough exam for teeth would require putting the guinea pig under anesthesia. Looking into the mouth will not give the vet a look into the back molars which may be causing Buddy not to eat. If he has his appetite and eating Critical care but he will not eat his hay and pellets this is a good indication that there is teeth issues.

alisonhilyard
12-06-14, 07:36 am
Sorry, but I am not willing to spend $400 on an x-ray for a 3 yr old guinea pig. That is a huge cost and frankly I think overpriced. They did a pretty good exam of his mouth and said it all looked OK. I put Buddy back in his cage with Brownie this morning and he got perky and even tried to eat some hay, but again, looked like he physically couldn't do it. I am going to call the vet this morning and see if I can get another one to look at his teeth. I really think its the issue, so I am gong to get a 2nd opinion. We might have another exotic animal vet in a nearby town, so I am going to check that, too. This is ridiculous, because I think the problem is fixable!

3GPigsplus1more
12-06-14, 07:38 am
You do not need an X-ray to do teeth exam unless you suspect root issues.

alisonhilyard
12-06-14, 08:25 am
Thanks everyone! I am calling the vet when they open at 8am and will bring him back and sternly talk to the vet to get more action. I am fine with them giving him anesthesia to take a better look at his teeth...I am not a vet, but I really think that's the problem. He ate his liquid food theirs morning and doesn't look like he's losing weight, so maybe we'll be able to fix this. Stay tuned. You guys are awesome! :)

foggycreekcavy
12-06-14, 09:31 am
Are you weighing him daily? It's the only way to know for sure if he's keeping his weight up.

I imagine that if his teeth looked good on inspection, the vet is concerned about a possible abscess or infection, or perhaps compacted roots, and these would only show up on an X-ray.

alisonhilyard
12-06-14, 09:38 am
His weight is staying the same. She is not concerned about an infection or abcess....she said his front teeth are "a little long" but she didn't think (emphasis on THINK) they needed trimming. I disagree and think it's worth doing. Buddy is much happier in the cage with his brother than he was alone. The doctor doesn't think he has anything contagious so I am going to leave them together. I have an appt Monday morning. The exotic animal vet is not on the office today and the other clinic that treats guinea pigs is closed. :(. We have plenty of liquid food to get him through Monday and we'll see how it goes from there. I'll keep trying to give him fresh veggies and there is lots of hay for him, too!

bpatters
12-06-14, 09:46 am
Actually, 3GPigsplus1more, you DO need an x-ray to do a complete dental check. A visual exam will show overgrown molars, but if the problem is elongated roots, an abscess, or a joint defect, those won't show.

I agree that $400 for an x-ray is ridiculous. But I disagree that his front teeth are the problem. Problems with the front teeth are almost always due to problems with the molars in the back, unless the front teeth are wonky because of some root problem or injury. But in those cases, they're not uniform in length, and may not be straight. I definitely would not have my pigs' front teeth trimmed unless the vet also addressed the problem with the molars. Guinea pigs don't need regular tooth trimming like some other rodent types. Mine are 5+ years old, and neither has ever had a tooth trimming.

If he's having trouble eating, he's having trouble with his molars, or one or both of his jaw joints have problems (rare, but possible). But you need a good piggy dentist to plane his molars.

What kind of hay does he get, and how much of it? Hay is what keeps their molars ground down, as well as their guts moving. But some hays are better than others at doing that. And how many veggies and pellets does he get? Pigs can prefer pellets and veggies to hay, and not eat enough hay to do the job on their teeth.

ClemmyOddieIndy
12-06-14, 09:47 am
[QUOTE=alisonhilyard;906667]Sorry, but I am not willing to spend $400 on an x-ray for a 3 yr old guinea pig. That is a huge cost and frankly I think overpriced. [QUOTE]

It probably depends on where you are, but that is high for around here (Iowa). It's been a while since I've had to have an x-ray for a pig, but if I remember right is around around $130ish. I don't understand what you mean when you say "for a 3 year old guinea pig". He's not very old at 3 years.

I've never dealt with teeth issues so I can't be any help there. But, I would recommend starting a medical fund. I have a medical fund for my pigs and it's been extremely important. I've spent around $8,000 in the last two years on medical expenses for only two pigs. Guinea pigs are expensive little creatures, but oh so worth it.

ETA: I changed the amount I've spent. I realized I way did my math wrong, and I had to bring it down a bit.

alisonhilyard
12-06-14, 10:01 am
I give them timothy hay, orchard grass and oat hay and the bin in their cage is always full of one type. Buddy normally LOVES hay, but sniffs it now and won't eat it. We'll see what the doctor says on Monday. She did say the $400 x-ray was for a full body shot, which maybe we won't need if she only wants to do his mouth. However, the other day she didn't think it was necessary. I am hoping she's just not trying to get me to keep coming back to get more $$ out of me, but it's the only exotic pet hospital in the area and it has a really good reputation.

I am very sorry, but I am a big animal lover and want to do what is best for them, but for a 5 "ish" year life span and there is no way I would ever spend what you did on my guinea pigs. I don't like to put a value on an animal's life, but I am not even sure I would spend that much on any animal. If it's costing $12,000, it would seem to me that something is wrong to the point that I wouldn't want the animal to suffer. For instance, my friend spent $6,000 on her dog to treat it for cancer. The dog was extremely sick during that time and died quickly, anyway. She felt tremendous guilt afterwards for all the "suffering" it went through for nothing. I would never do that to my animal. I would rather him leave this world peacefully than fighting for its life. If it gets to that point with Buddy, then that is a decision I will have to make. It hurts me and makes me sick to my stomach, but I will do what's right for him. I give your props for loving your piggies so much that you would spend a large amount of money on them, but for me, it is not an option.

3GPigsplus1more
12-06-14, 11:13 am
bpatters, I am looking at this case individually. I would start with a more thorough exam with anesthetic and do any necessary trims. Once the vet looks at the mouth and suspects other issues I would then do the X-ray. @$400 I would not start with the X-ray, only to find out it was unnecessary. Without an X-ray my a vet is able to see signs of abscess and joint defect and then he would go ahead to do the X-ray to confirm. I would also do the X-ray if he continues not eating and all else looks well, if it still looks like it could be teeth issues.

bpatters
12-06-14, 12:12 pm
3GPigsplus1more, but you didn't make your statement applicable to an individual case. You just made a general statement that x-rays aren't necessary to do tooth exams unless you suspect something else, and that's not the case.

People depend on this forum for accurate advice. Many of them are very young, and not skilled at understanding when something is an individual case or a general case, and they tend to be very literal in applying advice. It would be helpful if you'd be more specific about what you're recommending, and under what circumstances.

ClemmyOddieIndy
12-06-14, 01:10 pm
I give them timothy hay, orchard grass and oat hay and the bin in their cage is always full of one type. Buddy normally LOVES hay, but sniffs it now and won't eat it. We'll see what the doctor says on Monday. She did say the $400 x-ray was for a full body shot, which maybe we won't need if she only wants to do his mouth. However, the other day she didn't think it was necessary. I am hoping she's just not trying to get me to keep coming back to get more $$ out of me, but it's the only exotic pet hospital in the area and it has a really good reputation.

I am very sorry, but I am a big animal lover and want to do what is best for them, but for a 5 "ish" year life span and there is no way I would ever spend what you did on my guinea pigs. I don't like to put a value on an animal's life, but I am not even sure I would spend that much on any animal. If it's costing $12,000, it would seem to me that something is wrong to the point that I wouldn't want the animal to suffer. For instance, my friend spent $6,000 on her dog to treat it for cancer. The dog was extremely sick during that time and died quickly, anyway. She felt tremendous guilt afterwards for all the "suffering" it went through for nothing. I would never do that to my animal. I would rather him leave this world peacefully than fighting for its life. If it gets to that point with Buddy, then that is a decision I will have to make. It hurts me and makes me sick to my stomach, but I will do what's right for him. I give your props for loving your piggies so much that you would spend a large amount of money on them, but for me, it is not an option.

Who said they live 5ish years? They can live up to 9. My oldest is 5.5 at the moment with no health problem (except she's overweight). One of my vets has said the average age she sees them live to is 7.

Neither of my pigs were suffering, they just had chronic medical conditions. One had an enlarged heart that required monthly cardiology appointments. Chronic medical conditions are not rare in guinea pigs. Once they get sick it tends to just snowball. I was raised that when you commit to an animal you commit to that animal. I would never put an animal to sleep or deny my animal medical care it needed because of money. I would make that money doing whatever I needed to do, because that's part of being a responsible owner. I don't know much about teeth problems, but I know they can be chronic so I'd start saving if I were you.

Lewis3265
12-06-14, 02:28 pm
IMO I am surprised they didn't offer to do blood work to find out what might be wrong with him. I would say, take him to another vet.

Lewis3265
12-06-14, 02:35 pm
@3GPigsplus1more (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/member.php?u=26979), but you didn't make your statement applicable to an individual case. You just made a general statement that x-rays aren't necessary to do tooth exams unless you suspect something else, and that's not the case.

People depend on this forum for accurate advice. Many of them are very young, and not skilled at understanding when something is an individual case or a general case, and they tend to be very literal in applying advice. It would be helpful if you'd be more specific about what you're recommending, and under what circumstances.
And your advice is better than anyone elses advice, is that what you are trying to say? :crazy:

alisonhilyard
12-06-14, 03:07 pm
There really isn't another vet that specializes in exotic animals but when I take him back on Monday, I will ask about it. On the good news side, he is much perkier today, even greeted me at the door of the cage when I came home from shopping and ate a few bites of lettuce & parsley. We will still give home the liquid foot and water.....but he seems to be taking that better, too. I still plan on taking him to the vet just to see if any vitals, or his weight, have changed since I took him last week.

3GPigsplus1more
12-06-14, 03:16 pm
And your advice is better than anyone elses advice, is that what you are trying to say? :crazy:

I am sorry this is not where I expected my response to get to. No one's advice is better than anyone else's. Many of us base our advice on personal experiences. My experience has been with many malo chinchilla's and guinea pigs. I just wanted to pass on what I have learned along my adventure with dealing with malo. We are here to share our experiences with others not say my advice is better. I just made the mistake of assuming I was responding to the previous post without being more specific as to what and who I was referring to.

Lewis3265
12-06-14, 03:26 pm
I am sorry this is not where I expected my response to get to. No one's advice is better than anyone else's. Many of us base our advice on personal experiences. My experience has been with many malo chinchilla's and guinea pigs. I just wanted to pass on what I have learned along my adventure with dealing with malo. We are here to share our experiences with others not say my advice is better. I just made the mistake of assuming I was responding to the previous post without being more specific as to what and who I was referring to.
Sorry 3GPigs, I was talking to bp not you. LOL

3GPigsplus1more
12-06-14, 03:36 pm
Sorry 3GPigs, I was talking to bp not you. LOL

I know you were, I just wanted to point out bpatters had a point that I was not specific enough and should have referred to the previous post and given more of an explanation. ;)

pinky
12-06-14, 03:39 pm
I give them timothy hay, orchard grass and oat hay and the bin in their cage is always full of one type. Buddy normally LOVES hay, but sniffs it now and won't eat it. We'll see what the doctor says on Monday. She did say the $400 x-ray was for a full body shot, which maybe we won't need if she only wants to do his mouth. However, the other day she didn't think it was necessary. I am hoping she's just not trying to get me to keep coming back to get more $$ out of me, but it's the only exotic pet hospital in the area and it has a really good reputation.

I am very sorry, but I am a big animal lover and want to do what is best for them, but for a 5 "ish" year life span and there is no way I would ever spend what you did on my guinea pigs. I don't like to put a value on an animal's life, but I am not even sure I would spend that much on any animal. If it's costing $12,000, it would seem to me that something is wrong to the point that I wouldn't want the animal to suffer. For instance, my friend spent $6,000 on her dog to treat it for cancer. The dog was extremely sick during that time and died quickly, anyway. She felt tremendous guilt afterwards for all the "suffering" it went through for nothing. I would never do that to my animal. I would rather him leave this world peacefully than fighting for its life. If it gets to that point with Buddy, then that is a decision I will have to make. It hurts me and makes me sick to my stomach, but I will do what's right for him. I give your props for loving your piggies so much that you would spend a large amount of money on them, but for me, it is not an option.

One of my guinea pigs lived to be 9.5 years. I currently have a 6.5 year old and 6 year old and two younger ones. Guinea pigs can live much longer than 5 years with good care.

blessedmom
12-06-14, 11:33 pm
One of my guinea pigs lived to be 9.5 years. I currently have a 6.5 year old and 6 year old and two younger ones. Guinea pigs can live much longer than 5 years with good care.
I'm glad I read that. I was reading this and started to really feel sad as I was reminded how short their life span is and that 5 years was all I might have. I realize it could be that short but I'm going to hope my boys make it to 9.5 as well!

alisonhilyard
12-08-14, 01:25 pm
Just an update....Buddy was euthanized this morning. I checked on him when I woke up and he was making this "clicking" noise when he took a breath. It was loud, too. I already had an appt to check on his teeth and called when they opened at 7am to see if I could get him in earlier. He was barely moving by the time I got him there. The vet said he has pneumonia and wouldn't live another 48 hrs. So, I made the decision to end his suffering. I was with him the whole time holding and kissing him. I was SO upset I could barely talk. He went very peacefully and my husband and I are going to bury him in our backyard when he gets home. Now Brownie is alone, so we'll see how he does w/out Buddy. Looks like I might get another GP....my vet said Brownie would be OK with a baby GP as long as I introduce them slowly. We'll see how he does over the next few weeks.

ClemmyOddieIndy
12-08-14, 03:03 pm
. Looks like I might get another GP....my vet said Brownie would be OK with a baby GP as long as I introduce them slowly. We'll see how he does over the next few weeks.

I'm sorry for your loss.

I just wanted to comment on the advice from your vet. You should not introduce them slowly. You should do a 2 week quarantine, and then introductions once. It really sounds to me like your vet is not an exotics vet.

LoveMyHerd
12-08-14, 03:10 pm
I just wanted to comment on the advice from your vet. You should not introduce them slowly. You should do a 2 week quarantine, and then introductions once. It really sounds to me like your vet is not an exotics vet.I though it was a 3 week quarantine?

AmberCalzone
12-08-14, 03:18 pm
I'm sorry for your loss.
I do agree that your vet gave you incorrect advice about introducing guinea pigs, though. You need to go through the introduction process (which includes scrubbing out the cage entirely/washing everything/soaking everything/etc to get rid of your current pigs scent in the cage... introducing them on neutral territory... sometimes giving them a "buddy bath" together... and leaving them together). Once pigs meet, you should not separate them, unless actual violence takes place (i.e.: blood, or them being locked onto one another in a ball). "Play dates" or "slow introductions" do not work for guinea pigs, because they establish dominance EVERY single time they meet, which becomes very stressful for them if they are forced to meet more than once. The stress can make tensions high, which can make it less likely that the pair will work out.

ClemmyOddieIndy
12-08-14, 03:21 pm
I though it was a 3 week quarantine?

My vet told me 2 is fine, but I believe GL recommends 3 weeks.

alisonhilyard
12-08-14, 03:37 pm
Everyone sure is quick to tell me my vet isn't right...she IS an exotic animal vet and was wonderful to me and Buddy today. I didn't want to give the blow-by-blow details of what she said since it wasn't important to the overall story, but here they are:

She said to thoroughly clean the current cage, then put the new GP in another cage and over the first few weeks, slowly bring the cages closer to each other so they smell each other. Then introduce them on neutral territory outside of the cage and then put them in the cage together right after that and see how it goes. She said Brownie will be the probably be the dominant GP since he is bigger and older. However, I haven't even decided if I am going to get another one....we'll see how Brownie does alone, thought I really like having them in pairs.

ClemmyOddieIndy
12-08-14, 04:04 pm
Everyone sure is quick to tell me my vet isn't right...she IS an exotic animal vet and was wonderful to me and Buddy today. I didn't want to give the blow-by-blow details of what she said since it wasn't important to the overall story, but here they are:

She said to thoroughly clean the current cage, then put the new GP in another cage and over the first few weeks, slowly bring the cages closer to each other so they smell each other. Then introduce them on neutral territory outside of the cage and then put them in the cage together right after that and see how it goes. She said Brownie will be the probably be the dominant GP since he is bigger and older. However, I haven't even decided if I am going to get another one....we'll see how Brownie does alone, thought I really like having them in pairs.

We can only go off what you tell us, and we respond with concern for helping you. I still don't think that's good advice. What's the point of quarantine if they are close enough to each other to smell each other? I know some vets who are exotics vets, who are very competent in selling themselves to their clients, but are dumber than a rock when it comes to guinea pigs. But, it's your pig and your choices not mine.

AmberCalzone
12-08-14, 04:08 pm
Except I strongly suggest thoroughly cleaning the cage right before you put both pigs in, instead of it being the first step. The reason you clean the cage is to get the scent out, so your existing pig doesn't become territorial over it when the new pig is introduced to it. If your existing pig's scent is in it (which it would be, if he is living in it while the other pig is living in the separate cage) it can cause problems once both pigs are put in the cage together.

The reason I assume she's said to clean the cage out now as well, is help your pig with the grieving process (i.e.: to remove Buddy's scent from it). A lot of times pet parents do that to try to ease the pain of their existing pig. If he can still smell Buddy, it may take him longer to realize/accept that he's not coming back. Poor baby, they do form tight bonds with one another :/ Did it appear to you that Buddy and his cage mate were very close? If your piggy seems depressed, sometimes getting a new friend helps them out of the depression. Just something to consider, as you said you're on the fence about it. Only you and your pig can know when it's the right time to get a new friend, though <3

bpatters
12-08-14, 04:15 pm
Ask your exotic vet how many pigs she's introduced to each other? I'll bet not NEARLY as many as the various rescuers on this board and over at GL have introduced.

Vets often have a very different view of pets than owners, and their skill sets are different. There are some issues that I'd certainly take a vet's word for, and there are others where I'd listen to the people who have the most experience. In this case, it's the rescuers.