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Weight Loss Our Carmel is losing hair, weight, and kinda wheezing/coughing

carmalfie

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
4
We took Carmel to the vet the other day, and had an ultrasound done on her and bloodwork. The vet we saw didn't see or detect anything out of the ordinary. Me and my husband are baffled. She just recently lost her "sister" Alfie and could it be the stress she is under? She lost quite a bit of weight and the vet might think it might be she has too much calcium. We were given the option of spaying her. The hair loss too is baffling us. It is bilateral, but there isn't any scabs or anything. If there is anyone who might have some advice to share with us, me and my husband would appricate it! Like I said, we might have to end up spaying her. Also, if anyone had any experience spaying a 4 1/2 year old piggie, I would like you to share that with us. Thanks!
 
Guinea pigs are definitely social critters and can suffer lonliness and even depression over the loss of a roommate. Have you thought about possibly adopting her another female roomie? It can cause the things you mention. Is she eating? Lonliness after losing a roommate can cause loss of appetite which, of course can lead to weight loss. Hair loss could be stress-enduced. If there are no scabs, that probably means the hair loss isn't from her scratching herself.

What kind of pellets and hay are you feeding her? Alfalfa is high in calcium and might be the cause of the vet suspecting high calcium.

Did the vet say why he thought spaying would help? Unlike with dogs, spaying and neutering does not affect their behavior or personality.
 
Was this an exotic vet who saw her? Regular vets aren't usually very good at reading guinea pig x-rays and ultrasounds.

Bilateral hair loss definitely sounds hormonal, unless it starts in the middle of her back and runs in a curve down her flanks -- that's the pattern you see when a pig is biting at mites. And it's possible, but not likely, to have that pattern with no scabs.

I know of several piggies of that age that have survived spaying, but it's definitely a risky surgery. There are injections that can be given for ovarian cysts that can postpone a spay for quite a while, if that turns out to be the problem.

As far as the calcium goes, what is her diet like?
 
Her diet consists of Kale, Green Leaf Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Parsley, Green Pepper, Tomato, and also we feed her Oxbow Pellets. That's not the entire list, but the most "popular" items in her diet. I'll have to call around and look for a vet that deals with exotics. Thank you very much for your input. We do really appreciate it.
 
That is way, way too much calcium in her diet - kale, mustard greens and parsley are very high in calcium and although they're favorites with the pigs, should be fed in moderation and only one or two of those per week. I'd focus on lowering the calcium in her diet.

I'm not sure why the vet would think the hair loss is related to the calcium, but s/he is correct - that diet is waaaaay too high in calcium. The hair loss pattern you're describing sounds like ovarian cysts, which you can read about at the link provided. Spaying is really the best option and if she's otherwise in good health, I'd not worry too much about the surgery as long as the vet has experience and is confident in doing it.

If calcium is an issue, you might consider switching to KMs pellets instead of Oxbow. They use calcium carbonate in their formulas, which could possibly be a contributing factor with stone pigs.

Good luck!
 
Cysts should show up on an ultrasound, but I suppose if the vet wasn't cavy savvy he could miss them. Did her uterus look normal? There's a possibility of pyometra or a tumor there, I suppose.

I have had older pigs spayed without problems.
 
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