Guinea Pigs' food, Guinea Pigs' health

What we’ve learned from the recent piggies’ health issues

Until recently Ms M was pretty sure she was doing a super job taking care of the piggies. Since all the health issues started, she changed her opinion. And this is what she learned.

First, even if the way you take care of your piggy is fine for a young age, in the long run it may not be enough. To be more specific, she was sure the healthy and balanced diet was enough to cover for the vitamin C. Just that it wasn’t on the long term.

While they were young it was sufficient, but vitamine C deficiency installed quietly and at 5 years old the signs are becoming visible. For Data they become visible at about 4 years old and translated in dental problems like cracked teeth. Kirk has his joints consistency modified forever and it is not confortable anymore to jump up and down on his wood house. Idem for Spock.

So, our conclusion is that although veggies are good, the normal supermarket veggies don’t have enough vitamins anymore. But neither too much unhealthy pesticides or other substances – the small and frail piggies don’t seem to get sick due to chemicals. So safe even for human consumption, but not enough.

Second, and probably the most important: when your vet shrugges his/her shoulders and the only explanation to teeth issues or weird behavior or URI is “they are small animals, it happens and they die”, find another one. Fast! Or you may be left with big regrets.

Third. Even if a piggy never needed a vet until 5 years old, that doesn’t mean he will never need one. So always be prepared. We discovered a mammary tumor when Kirk was almost 5,5. And two months after he got pneumonia.

Fourth. Each piggy is different and they react differently to the same disease. Worf stopped eating when he had pneumonia and we could see he was not happy. Kirk never stopped eating, only at a later stage as a side effect of the anti inflammatory medication.

Also, they react differently to the same medication. No other piggy lost his appetite from Meloxidil, Kirk did. Big time. And lasted few days after we stopped the treatment.

To boost the appetite of a sick piggy and for a healthy, natural probiotic prepare a hay infusion and feed him the liquid by syringe or put it in his water bottle.  

Fifth. Carrots, apples and other sweet treats are treats and not daily food, no matter how much your piggy likes them. Kirk started to have white spots on the eyes and they seem to be the effect of too much sugary food. (Their dry food has no sugar added.)

Sixth. Timothy hay all over! And over again. I know the Oxbow one is expensive, but there are some other cheaper options. In the long run, it will help prevent dental issues when the piggies get older. And it helps even if you pass to it later. It is about the fiber quality.

And seventh. When you have more piggies that get older at the same time, at some point you’ll have the feeling that there is always at least one sick piggy in the house. Top up two small children, and the feeling is doubled.

We hope this helps. 🙂

 

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Guinea Pigs' health

Update on Kirk and something about luck

Kirk seems to be doing fine. Breathing normally, taking his meds. Some loss of appetite, but apparently normal due to the antibiotic and anti inflammatory meds. Nothing to panic, he still eats and poops.

Ms M is looking at the last photo she took of Worf few days before he died. And she is struggling not to cry. Somehow that Saturday end January when she took Worf to the animal clinic she had a feeling he would not come back.

He came back though. He wanted to fight, but he relapsed. And unfortunately the vet that should have taken care of him considered he is not worth fighting. She couldn’t even say if it was pneumonia or a tumor.

The humans still blame themselves for giving in to tiredness due to dealing with two small kids and accepting an easy solution for the vet. They believe they should have followed all their warning signs and find a second vet faster. It was not done, Worf died.

Actually, when it was done, after almost two months of struggle, he was to weak to keep fighting.

Of course the (not so) cavy savy vet that actually had no idea how to put a diagnostic, nor to treat pneumonia had it’s share in this tragic happening. But the main responsibility is on the humans’ shoulders. Or at least this is how they feel it.

After Worf’s death, Ms M searched on the cavy savy groups and web pages and found useful info about how a pneumonia should be addressed and what were the odds for a longer, heavy treatment to be needed. To bad she didn’t do it before…

Now Kirk got hospitalized for a similar issue. His (new) cavy savy vet was not there; she is on site only on Wednesdays. But he was consulted by a generalist that got in contact with the cavy savy vet, explained the situation, decided together the treatment and so on and so forth.

Two days after, he was discharged by the cavy savy vet and Ms M received an explanation about the course of treatment. The vet prescribed a longer period for the antibiotics, mentioned that there is a chance a second course should be needed etc. And, the most important, she said that if he would have again issues breathing, to go back asap.

For Worf it was just a shoulders raising, a condescend smile and “well, if he has issues again we should put him to sleep”.

Life is not fair. At all. But apparently Kirk is luckier than Worf. Or the humans had a wake up call. But still not fare. At all.

And Kirk refuses to stay still for a photo. 🙂

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Guinea Pigs' lifestyle, Uncategorized

Power struggle

Kirk is back home. Not cleared, but stable and not in need for oxygen therapy. So all the other medicines can be given at home.

After three days of being the king of the pen, Archy seemed a little bit disturbed by Kirk’s return. Kirk didn’t take it well neither, so they picked a fight. Not the usual rumbling and teeth chattering, but really some biting and Kirk ended up with some scratches on his nose.

The logical thing to do was to separate them. Kirk is still under treatment and avoiding supplementary stress should be a priority. Of course, from the logistic point of view, this separation caused a mess.

The grids were used to build a shelf. Now the shelf had to be dismantled in a hurry (kids were demanding attention too). The VetBed was placed in such way that they both sleep on it, but is not large enough to cover the full cage. So it had to be moved. And redecorating was necessary too.

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On the other hand, Spock was out of the house for less than nine hours. When he got back, both Data and him were so happy for the reunion that they hid in the same little wood house and just enjoyed the closeness.

Now we just hope Kirk and Archy will accept once again to share the same cage.

Guinea Pigs' health

When the humans are freaking out

Kirk has troubles breathing so he is in hospital waiting further investigations.

Since yesterday morning when Ms M noticed this she is literally freaking out. Especially that Worf died end March due to a bad managed pneumonia. And that Kirk had a mammary tumor removed some weeks ago and the vet explained it could give metastasis to the lungs.

Unfortunately our new cavy savy vet comes to Brussels once per week, on Wednesdays. And her very good clinic is quite far from the town.

So Kirk was taken to the clinic where she consults in Brussels and the generalist vet will follow the cavy savy instructions in order to investigate.

So far no news and Ms M already cleaned her desk twice. She is almost trembling and in a very bad mood.

Fingers crossed for Kirk.

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Guinea Pigs' health, Uncategorized

Bumblefoot and The Gang

Disclaimer: This is not medical advise. This is just our experience with pododermatites in Guinea Pigs and the purpose of this post is to offer our experience in case it can help others. Please talk to your vet before administrating any treatment.  

Worf had pododermatites to his back paws and one of the front. We didn’t realized and, by the time we got to the vet, it was pretty bad.

The vet we had at that time said it was quite common in Guinea Pigs and, unfortunately, there was not much we could do. But she proposed laser therapy.

After 14 sittings, he was cleared. His paws were “like new”.

The vet that performed the laser therapy suggested to use VetBed too, at least in his hidings where he loved to hide and sleep. By the time it was ordered and arrived, Worf got pneumonia and died. (I feel like crying now.)

Data had pododermatites. He has some soft poop, we are trying to clear that out now, and it gets stuck to his paws so the moisture got to him. Not as bad as Worf had.

The old vet noticed nothing. The new vet saw it immediately. We missed it, of course.

The new vet proposed Traumeel cream (composition for 100g: arnica montana radix D3 1,5 g, calendula officinalis Ø 0,45 g, hamamelis virginiana Ø 0,45 g, echinacea Ø 0,15 g, echinacea purpurea Ø 0,15 g, chamomilla Ø 0,15 g, symphytum officinale D4 0,1 g, bellis perennis Ø 0,1 g, hypericum perforatum D6 0,09 g, millefolium Ø 0,09 g, aconitum napellus D1 0,05 g, belladonna D1 0,05 g, mercurius solubilis D6 0,04 g, hepar sulphur D6 0,025 g). We had to apply this twice per day for about one month. Paws got cleared.

VetBed was implemented in their cage. Spock takes advantage of it too.

Archy had / still has some pododermatites. He used to have saw dust as bedding and most probably the wet one was not cleaned often.

I have noticed some dried “skin” hanging from his soles and clipped it while taking care of his nails. As it didn’t get worse, we leave it like this and mentioned it to the vet when we were last week. She showed me some scars (little ones) and said it was pododermatites, but almost cured so no need to do anything else.

Archy is on VetBed since 10 July and most probably this helped a lot. Vitamine C and the fact that he is younger too.

Our conclusion: bumblefoot can be treated. But, most important, it can be prevented!

  • Use a bedding or clean the bedding as often as needed so it stays dry under their buts.
  • If your piggy doesn’t move a lot due to age or other conditions, definitely invest in VetBed.
  • Paws check should be part of the weekly routine, along with weighting and feeling for lumps.

Live long and prosper!

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Guinea Pigs' health

Archy went to the vet

Yesterday 3 piggies were scheduled to see the vet. Two of them should have had also some minor surgery. But it’s summer and computers and humans go crazy so our vet’s agenda was messed up and only Archy got to be “solved”.

So, Archy had a check up to make sure he is healthy and fit. He got the clean bill.

Apparently he had pododermatitis but everything looks fine now. How he got this diagnosis? Well, he had some “dry skin” hanging from his paws. Ms M cut this and it never came back. The vet said it was for sure pododermatitis and showed some leftover scars. Small pieces, but still there to prove the diagnosis. According to her, moving him on a VetBed was the best thing to do and due to that he is now almost pododermatitis free.

We will come back with another post on our experience with pododermatitis.

Meanwhile, this is Archy and his busy, Kirk, enjoying breakfast.