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Thread: Odeta's Medical Thread (again)

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    Odeta's Medical Thread (again)

    link to past thread

    It's been awhile since I posted here, but I've been busy. I'm at college now, I finally found somewhere I could bring the pigs with me, lol.

    Anyway. Updates on Odeta: She is now seven years old, as of this past fall. She's still bright-eyed, keeping herself clean, energetic and feisty. But with old age comes health concerns.
    Her hind right knee is arthritic, and while it doesn't usually seem to bother her, on days where there's a lot of precipitation it seems to act up, and I give her 0.1cc of Metacam.

    More seriously, she's been having seizures. It's been a month since she last had one, fortunately, but occasionally she'll start doing what looks like itching her back, but then she falls on the ground and it turns into a full-body seizure for 5-20 seconds. Afterwards she doesn't seem at all fazed, so hopefully that indicates that like in humans, she doesn't have any memory of it. I took her to the vet for this, and her physical came back entirely normal, though she is very underweight.

    (Every day, I regret making the mistake with the pet sitter that lost her 59g back in 2018, because she's at 538 now. Still, the vet said that she's in as good health as could possibly be expected given her age. I've been keeping my room warmer (about 75F) because Odeta is so skinny she seems to get cold when it's normal room temperature.)

    She's also lately been having what is to me the primary current concern, which is, incidents when she's eating. Once in awhile she seems to swallow wrong, and does these furious, full-body coughs afterwards, which end with her expelling mucus and often traces of chewed-up food out her nose (and on two occasions, her mouth).

    I expected her to have some kind of dental problem, but the veterinarian says that her teeth are normal, and it's her tongue that's a bit weird- it has an extra frenulum? I don't understand how this works, honestly, or how it could suddenly develop now. These coughing fits have also caused some hair loss and chapped skin on the backs of her front paws, because she wipes her nose with them, and then they dry out and pull out the fur there.

    These coughing incidents seem to be happening more often, or maybe going on for longer, and I suspect it's because the humidity is very low now in the winter, and before I was borrowing a humidifier. I've taken stopgap measures to increase the humidity around the cage, just by leaving shallow dishes of hot water around, and dampening some towels and hanging them over the sides of the cage.

    Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? Do you have any suggestions? I'm honestly at a loss. I've been thinking about trying to make her pellets into a slurry and chop up her vegetables very small, so that they're easier to eat, but her issue isn't dental and I worry that making it so she can eat faster will make the issue worse.

    Thank you!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Odeta's Medical Thread (again)

    Have you treated her for mites? They can cause seizures, and the fact that she's trying to scratch her back when she has them is a clue that they might be bothering her. See https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum...mites-and-lice. I think it would be worth a try.

    I wouldn't chop the food really small. I doubt seriously that her ability to bite things off is the problem, since guinea pig teeth are like razor knives! You might try cutting harder veggies in matchstick sized pieces and see if that makes a difference.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Odeta's Medical Thread (again)

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycriae View Post
    The veterinarian says that her teeth are normal, and it's her tongue that's a bit weird- it has an extra frenulum? I don't understand how this works, honestly, or how it could suddenly develop now.
    Could it be that no one ever examined her tongue previously? It's not something that a Vet would likely include in a physical exam....and I doubt that it's something that she would develop later in life.

    In any event, the frenulum is the piece of tissue that anchors the tongue to the floor of the mouth. As a reference, Gene Simmons of Kiss had his frenulum removed and could thus stick his tongue out until it was a full seven inches long. It was reported that during the band's heyday, he had it insured for 100K.

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    Re: Odeta's Medical Thread (again)

    I treated for mites once when she was much younger, but it's been years. She doesn't seem unusually itchy except when it heralds a seizure, but I suppose it won't hurt to order Ivermectin again and see if that helps, though presumably I should treat all three of the pigs?

    On the phone today the vet brought up that it could potentially be lymphoma, because swelling of the lymph nodes can make swallowing more difficult, as well as causing weight loss. She's also had more gunk on the insides of her ears than usual lately, which could just be due to old age and her not cleaning them as well as usual, but also could indicate something is throwing off the balance in her ear/nose/throat system. I do think that spy9doc is right that the frenulum thing was just a new observation, and I misunderstood the vet as being suggesting it as a potential cause. She just mentioned the 2nd frenulum because it was the first time such a thorough mouth exam was done.

    She also advised experimentation with the vegetables. I'm going to try cutting them in different ways- thin chunks like you suggested, and later, small bits. I'll also see how she handles Critical Care, since mine expired at the New Year, I haven't tried yet to see whether she'll have an easier time swallowing it, or whether she'll try to eat it so quickly that it makes things worse.

    I'm also going to start feeding her veggies outside of the cage, because I think that the competitiveness of group eating causes her to rush in a way that increases the likelihood of her choking.

    If slowing down seems to help her, the vet suggested I could put a golf ball in the food dish that she has to work around like one of those puzzle feeders for cats, which is honestly an adorable idea.

    I'm also going to start giving her 0.1cc Metacam daily, rather than as needed, because it can work as an anti-inflammatory which could help in case her lymph nodes are swollen, as well as easing the general arthritis pain.

    Thank you!

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