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Thread: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    Hi all,

    We've had Magneto for 4 years now; we adopted him from his previous owner who couldn't bring him to his new apartment. He's been a great joy to both my girlfriend and I. As he's gotten older, he's become more picky with food, and consequently dropped some weight. We brought him to the vet twice, who said he's losing muscle mass and we should supplement his diet with Critical Care. Other than that, there were no obvious signs of any health issues. We've done that, which has helped stabilize his weight for the most part of the past year.

    However, over past 2 weeks I noticed he had sporadically stopped eating. At first I brushed it off as one of his "episodes" where he would go through a day or so without eating as much. He still ate most of his veggies and his go-to treats of pepper, cilantro, and carrot without issue. He took his Critical Care with the usual gusto, too. At first I thought it may have been malocclusion but I see that when he does eat, he doesn't seem to have any issues with food spilling out. When I hand-fed him seed heads he ate them without issue. However, over the past 3-4 days it's gotten BAD. Like, his hay is so barely touched I can give it to the other cage and they'll eat it as if I just took it out of the box. This morning, he ignored his pepper and carrot and it remained untouched when I got home in the afternoon. He poops so little I haven't even really needed to clean his side of the cage. When I tried to force feed him his Critical Care, he spat out a lot of it. He's essentially skin and bone at this point such that I don't even want to weigh him anymore because it'll just be disheartening to me. It was a real sudden turn for the worse.

    I have a vet appointment for him in 2 days, so I have that covered (yes, I understand I should've taken him in earlier but it really didn't strike me until a day ago). But I'm not optimistic. I really want to know, is this the end? I've heard anecdotal stories of some animals just "giving up" once they "know" their end is near, but what I can't reconcile is how sudden it was. He went running to the edge of the cage, begging for his treats, devouring his hay, taking his Critical Care like a champ, and being fairly chipper, if a bit skinnier, to being...very decrepit looking.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience with their senior guinea pigs...?

  2. #2
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    Get him in to the vets quicker if you can. If they're cavy savvy, they will understand what an emergency is and how time is critical. It may or may not be malocclusion, but if he isn't eating you of course need to supplement with the Critical Care and get him in now. Not pooping means not eating enough and that spells disaster. Whatever it is, it's being going on for some time if he's lost THAT much weight and you have very little time left to waste.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    Get him in to the vets quicker if you can. If he's lost THAT much weight, you have very little time left to waste.
    I absolutely agree with @GuineaPigPapa! So long as his quality of life is still good, don't give up on him until he gives up. Both of us have been in similar situations and have had the cavy in question do a bit of a "miracle" recovery.

    Your boy needs to see a cavy savvy Vet today.......if not sooner! A cavy that is not eating and pooping is a dying cavy and needs some emergency care. Be prepared to leave him at the Vet's for a couple of days if necessary so that he can receive some IV nourishment and 24 hr. care.

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    Thanks. Summary of how this played out:

    Last night I called his vet and they paged their oncall. I got the number of a hospital but when I called no one picked up. It was just about midnight. I decided, I'm going to bring him to the vet as soon as it opens. And I really, really hoped he would make it until then.

    This morning I woke up and checked on him. My girlfriend is in China and was observing him through our camera; she said he was still moving around as late as 3am and it looked like he had eaten a little bit. Sure enough, there were signs of (very dry) poop around the cage. He was lying in the corner. I went to pick him up...he didn't even try to stand up or react anymore. I tried to give him a little CC and he didn't even flinch; his cheeks just puffed out a bit. So I put him in his carrier and brought him straight to the vet. It was a 45-minute drive and partway through I heard him scritching, almost like he was trying to run. Eventually he stopped and splayed out in his carrier; I thought he had died but noticed he was still breathing and gave an occasional twitch.

    The vet was open (Tuesdays are their emergency walk-in days). It was 8:50 and the tech said that the doctor would be in at 9:30. She took Magneto out, put him in an oxygen tank with a heated blanket, and gave him some pain medication. He looked like he was breathing better and for a moment I was optimistic. My girlfriend is on video call and she's watching everything unfold.

    At 9:30 the doctor walks in, checks him out. She said his teeth didn't look too bad and I explained to her how he had been fine up until a week ago until he started eating less, but he was still eating. Then he just seemingly stopped for the last 2 days (though the dry poop indicates he was at least having a bit). She said he looks like he's lost too much weight for her to put an IV in and said she'd gladly try to do anything she can to save him, but at this point she said it's unlikely he'll even make it to the next day. Again, at this point he's still breathing and giving the occasional movement but otherwise is completely incontinent. After a brief consultation, my girlfriend and I decide to put him down.

    The doctor gave him the first injection which she said was meant to calm him further; among other things it had B12 in it. She gave us about 10 minutes with Magneto. Right before she came back in, he gave one last gasp, then...nothing. I told her, "I don't think that last injection will be necessary" as I notice fluid beginning to fill his eyes. She checks his pulse and said, "Yeah, he's gone." We're going to cremate him.

    I have no doubt in my mind that if I had been paying more close attention I would've caught this and done something about it. But up until two days ago it didn't appear to be such an emergency that it necessitated an emergency visit (I was going to bring him in tomorrow) as he was still eating something even if it was less (he's had previous episodes where he would straight up not eat for a day or so). I primarily wish I didn't take away their fleece and put them back on paper bedding temporarily because then I would've noticed the extreme lack of poop.

    Vet costs are expensive. I have 3 guinea pigs and I always joke to my girlfriend that for the price of a visit we could easily pick up 2-3 more instead. But once you spend close to 4 years bonding with your pets, rational economic thought gets tossed out the window.

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    Cavy Slave LemonySnickers's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  6. "Thank you, LemonySnickers, for this useful post," says:


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    Cavy Slave SSLee's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    I'm very sorry that you lost Magneto and glad you were able to be with him at the end.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    I'm very sorry you lost him.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    Oh, I was afraid of that. Afraid that he was that far gone.

    I'm so sorry. I know how much you loved him.

    Rest in peace, Magneto.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    Fly free over the Rainbow Bridge, Magneto! And, know how much you were loved.

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Rest in peace Magneto ❤

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    I'm so sorry you lost your piggie.

    I actually did have one of my pigs go down nearly that fast. I had noticed that Flower's weight had been dropping over the last 3 weeks. It wasn't a huge amount of weight loss (only about 3 ounces in total). But for close to 2 years since I'd brought her home from the rescue, Flower's weight had never varied more than a few tenths of an ounce, so losing 3 ounces over 3 weeks was highly concerning. I brought her to the vet and he found a mass in her abdomen, likely a malignancy. She had been behaving entirely normally except for the weight loss. She had still been playing and eating and scolding Tribble (they were like a cantankerous old married couple). That very same evening, I noticed a change in her behavior, and the next day, she was clearly very sick. I did what I could to keep her comfortable, but I knew that there wasn't much else I could do. I had already discussed options with the vet and decided that the best thing would be to keep her comfortable until she couldn't be kept comfortable anymore, and then I would put her to sleep. This was the end-game, and all three of us knew it. I ended up taking her to the emergency vet early in the morning to be euthanized when I woke up to check on her in the night and found that she was bloating. She went from having weight loss with no other symptoms to being euthanized in less than 48 hours.

    As I'm sure you know already, guinea pigs are very delicate animals. They just aren't as robust as other creatures like a dog or a cat. They can become sick and die very quickly, and it's often hard to catch onto the fact that they're sick before the illness becomes advanced. Even very experienced owners can miss the signs. Don't beat yourself up. You took very good care of your piggie and did all you could to protect him from suffering. That's all you can ask of yourself. Rest in peace, Magneto.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Is this the end? Guinea pig has slowly stopped eating, dropped weight suddenly

    Condolences, sorry to hear of his passing.

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