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' 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 tales

Life with two toddlers

Our family counts 2 toddlers, one of 1 year old and one of 3, and four guinea pigs. Getting rid of the piggies when Ms M was pregnant first time was out of question. And some strict limits are in place regarding the interaction between piggies and kids.

First and most important, piggies are not toys. They have their life and they should be left in peace to live it. This doesn’t exclude playing with them, but the moment the piggies are not comfortable anymore, the play stops.

Since Lil’ M’s birth, piggies started to adapt to the new life. Parents and kid too, but this is about the piggies. New noises, lots of noise in general, toddler jumping on the couch, toddler getting in te cage and stealing food, you name it.

Now Lil’ M jumps from the back of the couch on the couch and Spock and Data keep munching their food like nothing happens.

Lil’ G brought new challenges in the family. He started walking earlier and he didn’t understand much about inflicting pain at that age. So all he wanted was to get in Spock’s and Data’s pen and play with them. That’s why their exit to the couch was blocked. Actually the entrance to their cage was blocked. 😀

Now Lil’ G is big enough to bend over the fence and try to pet them. Weirdly enough Spock accepts it! He usually doesn’t accept being touched.

While Lil’ M steals their veggies and pellets, Lil’ G takes the water bottles and drinks the water. So Ms M must check the food bowls and the water bottles before going to bed.

The difficult part was when Worf died. This had to be explained to Lil’ M and she insisted on playing with Kirk to keep him company and be his friend. She used to ask to be put in his cage and stayed there talking to him and giving food.

Once she insisted on putting a spinach leaf on his head and on hers too and said they were wearing hats. Kirk was not disturbed.

Of course, the adults were always around and the cage is big enough for the piggy to have enough room to hide from the toddler.

Now that Kirk and Archy live together, Lil G goes to the fence and tries to say their names. Achy and Kik. 😀 He even gets super excited when the piggies are roaming in the cage.

Guinea Pigs' lifestyle, Uncategorized

Open Fence Days

Ms M broke all the written and unwritten laws of binding two guinea pigs males. She followed her gut and apparently it works.

Kirk and Archy were out on the couch for few times and they didn’t seem impressed one to each other. They were on the couch, passing by, but not really doing something together.

Wednesday afternoon Ms M decided to open the fence between the two of them and see what happens. The main thing she skipped (and please don’t do this at home!) was cleaning the cages and making sure the odors are neutral. But the boys didn’t seem to mind this.

She had two main concerns: how the boys will react at being together and how the white ones (Spock & Data) will react to meeting Archy at the fence. Spock can be very nasty with Data if something bothers him at the fence.

Well, everything went pretty well. A little bit of teeth chattering, but no biting, no fighting.

Still Ms M hadn’t had the guts to leave them like this over the night, so the fence was back late in the evening.

Fortunately, the other adult biped was at home on Thursday and Friday and the fence was up again, this time for the night too. The boys are fine together, although we do not see any huge friendship there. But tolerance is acceptable if this gives them a bigger space.

Archy is still getting scared of the movement around him, but less and less and being with Kirk seems to diminish it. So far s good!

And Ms M is happy she can take nice photos of both of them. 😀

Guinea Pigs' food

Introducing new veggies

There are two toddlers in the house and one of them was recently weaned. Ms M somehow thought the phase of introducing new veggies to creatures around her to be over. She couldn’t be more wrong…

The Gang is officially on diet. The long story in another post. So carrots, pear, apple, other fruits are out of the question. As they already have some preferences, the humans were left with limited options to build a balanced menu for them.

Broccoli was a “veggie non grata” for the boys, but Ms M remembered that kids need several interactions with a veggie to accept it. So she decided to give it another try for the piggies too.

First time, Kirk was really reluctant. He looked at her with that face saying “are you out of your mind if you think I would even consider eating this thing!”. Spock didn’t even go next to it. Data sniffed it. And we have no idea about Archy, as he was to scared to get out of his wooden house. Probably scared of broccoli.

But they saw there was nothing else for dinner so they took the risk and a bite. And one bite became two and three and look, the broccoli is gone!

Now broccoli is on their weekly menu and they usually eat it.