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Weight Loss Robin Hood's medical thread

MerryFriarTuck

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Hello everyone... it's been a long time. I meant to say hi with a birthday post for Robin Hood but the forum was closed for improvement.

Long story short Robin Hood has been dealing with some weight loss, an overgrown bottom tooth, loss of appetite, and took a rough turn today but has been doing better this evening.

Hindsight stinks but it's 20/20.

His weight was trickling down slightly but not dramatically the last few weeks. He was still acting his normal self, and eating like his normal self, except for a little less hay and occasional snub of certain veggies treats but none of his daily staples (bell pepper, lettuce, etc).

The oxbow hay had been coarser/less soft, veggies weren't in season, etc, so I had been blaming that (Robin Hood is a bit of a connoisseur :) ).

On the 4th of July our dachshund passed away from a heart tumour, and I feel like I didn't pay close enough attention to Robin Hood this past week with weigh ins. We couldn't get in with our normal guinea pig vet until 10 days out.

This morning he was picking at hay and ate all his lettuce but abruptly stopped eating around 11:30. We squeezed into a emergency 3:00 opening at a new exotic vet who seems very experienced and very kind.

His weight loss slowly dropped but dramatically sped up this past week. His normal average is 1570-1600g (he's a big boy and big boned in all seriousness). Today he's weighed in between 1390-1400.

His bottom front tooth was very over grown and preventing him from opening his mouth all the way (or at least being able to get normal size bites of food past them).

He got them trimmed, and as full an oral exam as possible without sedation. His molars seem near perfect, possibly slightly grown but not the cause.

Our vet thinks he'll grind them back down on his own now that he can eat normally again. But if he doesn't bounce back to his normal self we'll bring him in in another 2-3 days. He didn't want to use anesthesia and risk tipping him closer to GI stasis right now.

There were no signs at all of tumors, abscess, heart, respiratory or any other problems.

I came home fully expecting we'd have to break out the critical care, Pedialyte and Bene bac, but... he's eating! 4 sprigs of parsley, a big handful of corn silk, some corn husk, picking at hay, and he sat and slowly chewed on pellets for a solid 20 minutes.

Hoping for even more good news in the morning!

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts, advice, and cavy wisdom on it all.
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Glad to see you here!

You already know I have a fair bit of experience with dental pigs. That said it really sounds like everything is pointing to a molar problem.

You have stated that his molars are near perfect, perhaps a little overgrown. While it's ALMOST a rule that the incisors need never be touched and it's almost always the molars (and it is) it isn't outside the realm of possibility that this IS just an incisor problem. If so, if he isn't eating due to that issue it's to be expected that his molars would be slightly overgrown.

I know you do everything you can for your boys. Just keep doing what you're doing and continue monitoring Robin Hood. A little diligence will go a long way. Hopefully it's a one and done issue, but monitoring will ensure that you're on top of it if it isn't.

Happy belated birthday, Robin Hood!
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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I would also like to add if the problem persists, personally I would have a full oral exam with sedation. Dr Ker, who is a VERY experienced vet, once examined Sly without sedation and said his molars looked fine. Over a couple of days Sly worsened even more and we had an exam done with sedation. His molars were nowhere near in good shape.

Just thought I would add that, as a bit of foresight.
 

MerryFriarTuck

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I would also like to add if the problem persists, personally I would have a full oral exam with sedation. Dr Ker, who is a VERY experienced vet, once examined Sly without sedation and said his molars looked fine. Over a couple of days Sly worsened even more and we had an exam done with sedation. His molars were nowhere near in good shape.

Just thought I would add that, as a bit of foresight.
Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement as always!

I'm still nervous about the molars for those exact same reasons. But he's still eating on his own and doing a smidge better today, so still very happy so far! I'll do a full update in a few minutes.
 

MerryFriarTuck

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Robin Hood is eating more on his own today and drinking out of his water bottle by himself (so happy!).

Two things I forgot in my orginal post is he's just over 3 years old, and I did syringe him water yesterday because he was off his bottle.

Today he's eaten parsley, lettuce, corn husk/silk, and a little watermelon at various times throughout the day -- on top of nibbling his hay and pellets throughout the day.

This morning I had to roust him out of his hidey whole and really encourage him to eat some parsley and corn husk. The parsley has been a good appetite sparker. He didn't eat much hay but did slowly eat pellets for a while after.

We got him some oxbow botanical hay mixes that are super soft and sweet smelling, and that made all the difference with getting him back on hay. He nibbled those little bits at a time all afternoon, as well as some watermelon for hydration and a little more lettuce.

This evening he's at his best yet. He's coming out all on his own to eat. At dinner (about an hour and a half ago) he ate another single sprig of parsley, a little piece of green bean, left over little piece of lettuce, and some corn silk. He drank from his water bottle by himself (yay!)

Then he slowly ate pellets for a solid 25 minutes (I could hear him crunching so definitely successfully eating them). After pellets he nibbled and grazed on hay until only about 15 minutes ago. Right now he's back in his house.

So the best case scenario I can hope for so far today!

I've been careful to toe the line between getting him to eat anything I can get him and not overindulging veggies that could cause bloat. He still chews a little slow and gingerly, but he seems to have a better "rhythm" (for lack of a better word) to his chewing tonight. He gingerly chewed on the bars at veggie time once today too.
 

MerryFriarTuck

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Is it possible/normal for their mouths to be a bit sore after a teeth trim/exam?

Thought possibly another reason for ginger chewing on top of/besides overgrown molars.
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Is it possible/normal for their mouths to be a bit sore after a teeth trim/exam?

Thought possibly another reason for ginger chewing on top of/besides overgrown molars.
Glad to hear he seems to be on the mend! Sounds like he had a better day today and that's great to hear.


It is normal for them to be sore for a couple of days after any dental work. Leo broke an incisor a couple of months ago and had some work done to fix it. I didn't detail it here because I was accidentally banned at the time lol.


Tomorrow should be an even better day. I do wonder if he may not have a hay splinter in his upper gums. I sincerely hope not but I would say monitor him for sure.
 

MerryFriarTuck

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Tomorrow (yesterday) was indeed a better day...and today the best yet! 🎉🥳

Yesterday morning was the first day he stayed out and ate and nibbled greens, hay, and pellets for nearly 3 hours straight! Ate a few more sprigs of parsley at lunch, napped the afternoon, and at dinner time til dark came out to munch pellets and nibble a bit of orange.

Today...a marathon breakfast! Corn husk after corn husk (even bigger strips), some lettuce, and lots of hay and finishing off with pellets.

Drinking out of his big water bottle by himself (was only hesitantly drinking from a hamster size bottle before). Peeked at him at lunch and he was already out nibbling hay. Healthy poops and more of them today.

Tonight at dinner he ate more corn husk, and for the first time in a week 4 matchstick sized bell pepper slices, and a whole green bean. Polished off almost half his pellet bowl, and is still rooting around in and munching hay. His chewing seems much faster and more even today. Gained a tiny bit of weight back.

Long story short, very happy and couldn't ask for more!
 

MerryFriarTuck

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No news has been good news! Sorry for the gap in updates.

Robin Hood was the same amount of better the last few days as he was Sunday -- but today's been another big improvement!

He was chewing on the bars for breakfast for the first time this morning. He's getting his voice back with little burbles and rumbles. He's even more active today, and was out eating hay and pellets literally almost all day -- and he's truly excited about hay and food again. Lots more healthy poops and pee. Drinking out of his orginal big water bottle like normal. He's gained about 35-40g.

So happy!

The one and only thing he's still not big on eating is bell pepper for some reason, even in matchstick servings. But he eats other equally crunchy/thick veggies again. Should I worry about vitamin c even though he's eating his oxbow pellets normally again?

How long does it usually take them to build their weight back up once they're eating normally?
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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So very happy to hear he continues to improve!

I remember very well those days, after Sly had his dental work. The elation after every little victory. The eating of hay and veggies again. Using the water bottle. Every little victory was more weight that lifted off my shoulders.

You CAN feed him other veggies that have vitamin C in them, though peppers are the best source. Sometimes my boys would go off peppers for awhile. They always seemed to come back to them.

Oxbow pellets are fortified with stabilized vitamin C, so if he's eating those in decent quantity I wouldn't worry about it. You can always supplement with Vitamin C drops via syringe if you remain concerned.

As far as weight goes, don't fret. As long as he stays even or gains slightly, call that a win. He may NEVER gain back the weight he lost. But there's a good chance he'll gain some of it back. As long as he isn't losing, don't worry about it.
 

MerryFriarTuck

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Hello everyone! It's been forever, but happy news is Robin Hood is doing wonderful, except for (not so happy news) what I'm pretty sure is a touch of cheilitis.

I'll bring him to the vet soon, but just wanted to do my homework first.

What's the best treatment for cheilitis?

Anything I can do in the meantime?

It doesn't appear to be bothering him at all presently so that's good.

I just noticed the greenish kinda chapped look to the split in his upper lip (for lack of a more scientific term) and it seems to match mild cases of cheilitis pictures online. I'll try and get a good pic of his own lip tomorrow.

Hope all the people and piggies here have been well, and looking forward to some cavy wisdom!
 

MerryFriarTuck

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I already have silver sulfadiazine cream from treating Friar Tuck's bumble foot in the past. I remember having to rub it in well so they couldn't lick it, so I'm guessing that's a big no for lips/cheilitis?

Just wondered if i should mention to the vet. I know Neosporin is a no for guinea pigs as well (?) at least places it's possible for them to ingest it.
 

MerryFriarTuck

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There's some good info here: https://www.guinealynx.info/cheilitis.html. You may be able to treat it yourself if you've caught it early. An infection that has really set in will probably need a vet.
Thank you!!

So it's ok to use neosporin or silver sulfadiazine sparingly even though it's his lip?

And how long do I give it to clear up before a vet visit?

It's mild enough I was trying to give it a chance to clear up on it's own but it isn't going away. Looking back I could see a touch of it about a week ago, but was thinking it was just a bit of food or something.
 

bpatters

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Does the split in his lip go all the way into his mouth? If so, you'll have to be very careful not to get anything in his mouth.

You can use those if you apply sparingly with a q-tip and rub it in well.
 

MerryFriarTuck

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Does the split in his lip go all the way into his mouth? If so, you'll have to be very careful not to get anything in his mouth.

You can use those if you apply sparingly with a q-tip and rub it in well.
It doesn't go all the way in his mouth, and good news is it's much better today plus I believe we found the culprit!

He had a tiny hay splinter stuck in his lip, kind of that lip into nose area guinea pigs have. I got it out with tweezers, and applied the silver sulfadiazine this morning and tonight, and it's already looking so much better.
 

bpatters

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Great! That's good news!
 

MerryFriarTuck

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After about a week of silver sulfadiazine/ neosporin Robin Hood's lips had completely cleared up, stayed clear for about 4 days so I stopped applying the creams.

But it came back again now with a vengeance since the day before yesterday.

Wanted to post the same pics here I've sent to our vet just to get everyone's opinion it is indeed cheilitis. It still doesn't seem to bother him at all; he's eating like a piggy and doesn't act as if it's sore when you touch it.
 

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