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Thread: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

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    Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    Hi Everyone

    I am worried about my guinea pig Big Boy, who is 4. A few months ago he lost his companion Little Boy to GI Stasis :( The vet mis-diagnosed him and by the time I found a competent vet it was too late.

    Since then Big Boy has been alone. He was fine for a month or two but I've noticed that's he's not relishing his food as much as he usually does and is less active and drinking very little. He's not touching his hay or pellets so his stools have become dark and soft. I'm planning to stop with the fresh veggies to see if he starts eating more fibre. He hasn't lost weight at this stage but I am noticing the same signs as Little Boy had. I'm saving his stools so I can monitor if they become less or smaller.

    Having learnt my lesson last time I took him to the vet the second day. Unfortunately there are not many vets in my area with guinea pig experience and the one I saw last time is on vacation. However I thought as they had my file for Little Boy they could follow the same procedure.

    He had an xray and the vet found that he has quite bad arthritis in his hips even a small piece of bone that has split off. This obviously explains why he's not moving around as much. The vet said there didn't appear to be anything wrong in his stomach. It was full and there was a little bit of gas but he said that was normal.

    We gave him some IV fluids and meloxicam for pain which seemed to perk him up a little bit (even using the ramp between the 2 cages) but now he's back to how he was before.

    I have 2 more doses of oral meloxicam that I could give him. I also asked the vet for a dose of the medicine that kick-starts the digestive process (can't remember the name) which is what Little Boy was given when he became anorexic. I asked for this because we are on lock-down for the whole weekend because of the virus and I was worried that he might stop eating completely.

    I have 2 new babies to keep him company but I'm waiting for their lab results before I can physically put them together. They can see and hear each other but this hasn't improved his mood as of yet.

    What I am wondering is should I give him the other doses of meloxicam, even though it didnt seem to help him much? And at what stage should I give the medicine for his stomach?

    I realise I should be asking a vet but that's really not an option right now. Thanks to anyone who can offer any advice.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    Meloxicam is not an instant pain reliever as much as it is an anti-inflammatory. Reducing the inflammation reduces the pain. And it can work well for arthritis alone -- I had a senior guinea pig with terrible arthritis in her knees that was on it for a long time. There are some side effects to giving it that way, as it's not generally used long-term, but my pig tolerated it well, and it worked for her.

    I also think it works better if it's given twice a day rather than once, which is what vets seem to prefer prescribing. It just won't keep them comfortable for a full 24 hours. With my vet's approval, I split the dose in half and added 10% each time, and it worked much better.

    However, I don't know if, or how well, it would work with a chip of bone in the joint. It might work ok, and it might not. @spy9doc, would you comment on this?

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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    I also think it works better if it's given twice a day rather than once, which is what vets seem to prefer prescribing. It just won't keep them comfortable for a full 24 hours. With my vet's approval, I split the dose in half and added 10% each time, and it worked much better. However, I don't know if, or how well, it would work with a chip of bone in the joint.
    I think your advice is sound.....that's the way I dose in an effort to provide a 'steady-state" of pain relief rather than a bolus of medication all at once which won't cover them for a an extended period of time.

    With regard to the bone chip, there's no getting away from that, especially if it is floating around in the joint. If that is the case, depending on where in the joint it is at any given time, it may cause pain on movement....or not. It will, however, cause irritation and inflammation in any event. Meloxicam should help with that.

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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    Thank you both for your replies. When I can get back to the vet I will ask for a longer supply; he would only give me 2 day's worth as he said it's bad for the kidneys.

    However my concern is more now about the fact that he's not really eating his hay and pellets or drinking much at all. His cage is less wet than normal. His stools are not as soft but they're getting smaller and less frequent. These are the same signs that Little Boy had before he was diagnosed with GI Stasis. I can't leave the house today (still under virus curfew) but will take him to the vet tomorrow.

    What do you think I should do in the meantime? Should I give him the digestion medicine? Syringe some water? I can see him shutting down!

    Many thanks

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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    The motility medication you are probably referring to is Metaclopromide (Reglan). Also, it might be worth a try to use OTC Simethicone (marketed as children's gas drops, available at most drug stores or in the drug section of grocery stores). The latter should be a staple in every piggy parent's medicine cabinet. I generally give them a full dropper on the first dose and then cut it down after that. When he starts pooping, then you can discontinue it.

    If you can connect with the Vet, be sure to ask about Metaclopromide.

    http://www.guinealynx.info/motility.html#reglan

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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    Meloxicam IS bad for the kidneys, but arthritis is bad for life! There's no fixing the arthritis.

    IMO, living in pain is pretty terrible. With my Mocha, the vet and I made the choice to give her the Metacam for as long as either it controlled the arthritis pain or the side effects began adversely affecting her. When it stopped alleviating the pain, I had her euthanized, but she got several good months of life while on it.

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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    If he is not eating enough you will have to force feed. Do you have Critical Care and syringes? You can also use pellets mushed up with water but he has to keep food moving through his system. Is he interested in a little fresh grass? Not a lot, but a few blades to get him interested in eating again? When mine was ill from Baytril, the only thing that kept her going was she liked corn husks and I had some in the freezer. Good luck, I hope you find a way to get some food into him.

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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    Thanks again for replying. I tried another vet in the next town and thankfully he seems to know what he's doing. He said there are no internal problems and that his arthritis doesn't seem to be causing him any pain.

    He suspects it's a tooth problem so filed his incisors and said to monitor him for a few days. He said they might be stopping him closing his mouth far enough to use his molars.

    This morning he seems a bit more sprightly but he's having trouble picking up his veggies. Maybe they're too short or he's just getting used to his new teeth? Also no sign that he ate any pellets or hay overnight. But I've soaked and crushed some pellets and he's munching away on that so at least he is eating something.

    If he's still having trouble eating tomorrow I'll take him back to get his molars properly checked.

    I'm not sure how his incisors became overgrown. He's always got hay and pellets and other toys.

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    Re: Guinea pig with arthritis, loss of appetite and play mate

    Overgrown incisors can be caused because the teeth aren't in quite the proper position in the jaw. Nothing necessarily "happened" to cause it.
    @ItsaZoo's right in that you absolutely need to hand feed him if he's not eating. Guinea pigs MUST have food moving through their guts at all times, or they'll develop painful, even fatal, stomach ulcers.

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    Re: Still not eating - dental treatment

    Hi. I thought I'd update on Big Boy's condition.

    So after he had his incisors filed he still wouldnt eat - even veggies which he was eating before - so I suspected they were too short or he had a problem with his back molars. So I syringe fed for a day and took him back to the vet.

    He checked his molars and said he had a spur. Big Boy was sedated the next day and had the spur filed. After that he was on metacam for 3 days and was prescribed Baytril for 7 days. When we got back after the surgery he took a long drink from the bottle himself for the first time and nibbled at some veg so I was hopeful.

    I gave him them both along with probiotics and Vit C 2 hours after the Baytril. I also gave him gas drops just in case. After 5 days on the Baytril he was taken off as he had become extremely lethargic and still wasn't eating. I was worried he was having a bad reaction as I've read on this forum. The next day he came out of his house for breakfast and ate a nice small handful of veggies for the first time, so again I was hopeful. it didnt look like he had any mechanical problems or was in pain from his teeth. But since then he hasn't eaten anything by himself.

    I took him back to the vet yesterday as I was worried that maybe he'd developed bloat or gas. He had an xray and the vet said there was a small amount of gas but nothing to worry about. He couldn't find any other reason why he's not eating. He prescribed metaclopramide (0.1ml once a day) and a herbal appetite stimulant. He had his first dosages last night. Today I have seen no change.

    I havent managed to feed more than 60ml a day. He won't take the Critical Care alone so I'm blending it with mashed pellets and some green pepper for taste. I've also tried baby food but that didn't help. He wont eat more than 10ml at a time and now I'm having to wrap him in a towel to get him to chew. I'm giving 4ml of water at every sitting. Since I took him the first vet he's gone from 1.3kg to 1.16kg yesterday. His poop has varied - sometimes bigger and wetter, other times small and dry and sometimes they're linked like on a string. I guess this depends on how much I've managed to feed him.

    So I'd appreciate any advice on:

    Is it normal for a GP to go this long without eating after dental surgery?
    Is the Metaclopramide dosage enough?
    How long does it usually take to work?
    What else can I try to get him to eat?

    He looks like he's given up and I really don't know what else I can do!

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