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Weight Loss Guinea Pig Losing Weight but Still Eating

Elysium

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Hey all. Long story short, my little buddy named eclipse, who is nearly 5 years old now, has thinned out significantly. Compared to his cage mate (who is older by a few months) he looks like a baby sized pig. He is very boney which is uncharacteristic for him.

The thing that is strange to me is he is still eating, drinking, running around, begging for food, etc all on his own. None of his behavior has changed.. he has simply thinned out and can't seem to put weight back on. I have been giving him special extra feedings outside of the cage to make sure he is taking in enough food, but he still seems to stay thin. He is possibly even dehydrated, his eyes seem slightly sunk and his fur is slow to return to shape. I am trying to keep him hydrated and fed but I can't seem to get him to put weight back on or become fully hydrated. This has been going on for about 2 weeks now (possibly more, but I have noticed it for about 2 weeks).

His cage mate has not exhibited any of the same weight loss. They do not sneeze, cough or anything like that outside of normal amounts (the occasional sneeze if they dive nose first into a pile of fresh hay for example). There is no drainage from the eyes, I don't see blood in the stool. Droppings look normal color, shape and consistency. Neither of the two show signs of lethargy, or physical struggles (such as going up the ramp for food, etc)

So I have no idea what to do, I'm very worried about my little friend. I would love some advice if you have any. The only things I can seem to find that might explain the issue would be worms/parasite, a heart condition, or a thyroid condition. The worms/parasites are lacking the other symptoms like diarrhea and such in my pig, and the latter two problems would require very expensive diagnosis and tests which are either unsafe for his age (drawing blood) or too expensive for me right now.

As an aside.. a trip to the vet is not possible at this time. I do not have the money to seek treatment at this time for any of my animals. I was diagnosed a few months ago with ulcerative colitis, ended up in the hospital and out of work. I am already over my head in medical debt scraping to get by due to the unforseen chronic illness that has sprung up in my life. So really a trip to the vet right now just isn't possible, if things change then I will surely seek their help but for now I have to do whatever else I can to help him.. so if you have any suggestions for me I would appreciate it.
 

spy9doc

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From my own experience, cavies start to decline in health and function as they reach 5 y.o.......despite great care. It's difficult to put weight on a senior piggy. Remember that cavies differ as much as we do and the other cavy just may have better longevity genes.

In your particular situation, I would sprinkle oats in his pellets. They are full of vitamins and most cavies find them quite tasty. If his cagemate is at all inclined to be overweight, then you may have to feed them separately.

With regard to hydration, most cavies like Pedialyte and will readily accept syringe feeding. Buy the unflavored generic type vs. the more expensive name brand. You can also mix some baby food in with the pedialyte to create different tastes. Beechnut has some quite clever flavors made without added sugar. I had to syringe feed one of my cavies for the last six months of his life, so it can be done......especially if you are at home at present. Buy a 30ml small pet feeding syringe (usually in the kitten or puppy section) and you can pour/spoon whatever you wish into it for the feedings.
 

Elysium

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From my own experience, cavies start to decline in health and function as they reach 5 y.o.......despite great care. It's difficult to put weight on a senior piggy. Remember that cavies differ as much as we do and the other cavy just may have better longevity genes.

In your particular situation, I would sprinkle oats in his pellets. They are full of vitamins and most cavies find them quite tasty. If his cagemate is at all inclined to be overweight, then you may have to feed them separately.

With regard to hydration, most cavies like Pedialyte and will readily accept syringe feeding. Buy the unflavored generic type vs. the more expensive name brand. You can also mix some baby food in with the pedialyte to create different tastes. Beechnut has some quite clever flavors made without added sugar. I had to syringe feed one of my cavies for the last six months of his life, so it can be done......especially if you are at home at present. Buy a 30ml small pet feeding syringe (usually in the kitten or puppy section) and you can pour/spoon whatever you wish into it for the feedings.

That sounds like a great solution. He is eating and drinking on his own but I want to supplement it to make sure he is getting everything he needs. I will absolutely get some pedialyte to keep him well hydrated, thank you for that.

On the subject of declining health.. is this about the time I should expect end of life signs? Not necessarily that tomorrow is the last day, just that they might be on their way out? I know they say the average is 5-7 but he technically isn't even 5 yet. I just don't want this to be a sign of "shortly after turning 5, he will pass" and not be prepared.
 

Shieme

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You will never be prepared for the lost of a love one, even if you put it in your callender. Yes they can decline before 5 years. That's the average, 5 - 7 years. I like what [MENTION=19714]spy9doc[/MENTION] said. Remember unflavored pedialyte and the off brand works just as well. Just watch for high sodium because that can cause a UTI.
 

Elysium

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Unfortunately this morning I was woken by my GF who stated that eclipse had passed when she had woken up this morning. I had spent extra time with him last night feeding and trying to keep him well, but I guess it wasn't enough. He passed away at roughly 4 years and 9 months of age. He was a beautiful long haired two-tone pig that kept his cage mate in good company and always put a smile on my face when he would squeek for his food (eclipse was my only vocal pig, the others rarely if ever squeeked out loud).

I will miss him a lot and I thank you two for offering your advice while he was still here.
 

spy9doc

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As I said, cavies are as different as we humans are. I'm so sorry that Eclipse didn't make it despite your good intentions. Fly free over the Rainbow Bridge, Eclipse!
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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I read through this thread a couple of times, but I really didn't have any pertinent advice to offer.

I would at this time however, like to offer you my heartfelt condolences on your loss. It's so hard to lose one of these little ones, for me it's no different than losing a family member.

Rest in peace, Eclipse. Enjoy your time and new friends at the Rainbow Bridge until it's your time to cross together.
 

Elysium

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thank you all for your support. Yesterday we buried him underneath the big tree near a local creek, we built him a little gravestone with a collection of rocks that my girlfriend has been picking up over the years. I chose a spot that would be easy to visit and with plenty of room nearby. I will probably bury his cage mate alongside him when the day inevitably comes. I'm missing him a lot right now.

Eclipse resting place

not sure why the picture is sideways, i can't seem to get it to rotate properly..
 

CavyTV

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I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry you have to go through the pain. You did your best. Eclipse was grateful, I'm sure. May he fly free over the Rainbow Bridge, squeaking in excitement as loud as he pleases with his piggie friends and his beloved owner and cagemate forever in his heart.
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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I'm sure he would love that spot as a final resting place. Lots of greens, shade and trees to sleep under. As close to the Rainbow Bridge as you can get in this life, I imagine.

Sleep well, Eclipse.
 

Elysium

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i appreciate that you all care for his passing as we grieve over his loss. My final post in this thread will be recent picture of when he was healthy, to remember him fondly by, and as I haven't posted any pictures of him yet I wanted to share him with you all. He brought me a lot of happiness. You may notice how his face fades from white to black so sharply, which is where he got his name 'eclipse' from.

Eclipse memorial
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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As soon as I saw the picture I knew where his name came from. An absolutely perfect name for an adorable little pig.

Thank you for sharing him with us.
 

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