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How far is fair for a very poorly Guinea?

(35 Posts)
HorseDentist Tue 01-Mar-16 21:33:11

I have two beautiful Guinea pig sisters who are about 4 years old, who we have had for the last 6 months after getting them from a rescue centre.

Over the last two weeks one of the girls has swollen to almost double her size. It started as a bit of extra double chin and has spread to her whole chest and underside. The Vet thinks it feels like just fluid and is very soft. They have tried antibiotics and anti inflammatories but with no change to her condition. She also has a rash, runny eyes and nose and diarrhea. She is really very poorly. The vet has suspicions that the cause is heart failure and the next step will be an x-ray under anesthetic.

Her illness is so sudden and i'm still in shock a little bit to be honest. The vets keep asking how far I want to take things. Is it fair to even attempt an x ray on her heart, which would lead to extra treatments and a lifetime of medication. I'm not sure she would even survive the anesthetic at the moment. Would it be fairer to treat her with painkillers and snuggle her up in a nest with her sister until the end is reached?

My poor squeaky girl, i'm heartbroken for her.

headinhands Tue 01-Mar-16 21:42:14

I'm so sorry about your gorgeous ninny pig. I would make the sad decision to pts as I can't bear things to suffer. You'll need to get a new mate for her friend though obvs. thanks

FernieB Tue 01-Mar-16 21:45:43

So sorry to hear this. Your poor little pigthanks. She must be feeling miserable. You're the best judge of how far to take things as you know your piggies.

People have their own approaches to treating their pets. I tend towards as little vet intervention as possible. If they're eating okay and don't seem in pain then I leave them to it. If they're young, then I might be tempted to let them go through an operation, but once they're older I just wouldn't put them through the stress.

HorseDentist Tue 01-Mar-16 22:48:09

She is still eating a small amount and drinking fine but is Very uncomfortable from all of the fluid. They said that they can't just drain it off as she will go into shock, it is nearly 150g of fluid in her chest (i usually weigh her monthly).
We have another appointment tomorrow afternoon for more pain killers and I will need to decide then if we risk the X ray or not.

I can only think of her sister too. She is so shy and just will not cope without her noisy, bossy twin.

FernieB Wed 02-Mar-16 08:04:02

If your vet is exotic-savvy, they'll give good advice. Talk to them and ask what they would do if she was their pig. Any operation is a risk at any age but obviously more so in an older, poorly pig. I put one through an X-ray under anaesthetic once but he was about 1 at the time and a hefty boy. He was fine and even forgave the vet!

If she's uncomfortable and unlikely to improve, I may be tempted to PTS. Then you'd have to make a decision about her sister. I paired my bereaved boy up with a baby boy last year (he was almost 4 at the time). I did this via a rescue. You'd probably be able to find a single older neutered boy in a rescue so she has company.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 02-Mar-16 11:13:13

Ohhh sad poor soul (and what a gorgeous piggie she is)

She's got a lot going on at the moment.
I'd worry about the loose pooh as well but it might be that she's going overboard trying to get rid of the fluid but it's not getting reabsorbed through the intestines (because she's basically waterlogged) so it comes out where ever it can.

Your vet has targetted infection so that's been taken care of.

She's most likely got a guinea form of congestive heart failure (just like people do) so the logical solution is diuertics but that will make her heart work harder.

An X Ray gives you an insight (maybe they're looking to see if the heart is enlarged)

TBH, if she was my piggie, I'd be unwilling to risk her under an anaesthetic.
I'd ask the vet to treat her symptoms if she was happy in herself. But monitor the result and take it from there. Maybe a course of diuertics will get the fluid shifted but it would be a temporary measure.

If she was suffering and unhappy , I'd say "Enough" and let her go, while she still pootling but not too far gone.Especially if she's struggling or labouring with her breathing.

Difficult decision, best of luck shamrock < clover substitute.

And if you do send her to The Bridge, lots of cuddles for her sister (and my sows recommend a neutered boar)

EastMidsGPs Wed 02-Mar-16 11:45:34

Hi so very sorry to hear of your poorly piggie. I personally wouldn't go down the route of lots of tests and interventions. Been there done that and really all we did was give the piggie extra stress when she was feeling pretty grim looking back i would have just spoilt her more than usual and then made the decision. I'd wait whilst she was still happy and eating and then pts. Their metabolism is far faster than ours and they do deteriorate quickly .. you'll know.

fortifiedwithtea Wed 02-Mar-16 14:58:18

Oh poor little love, she looks the spit image of my dearly departed Coco sad

With fluid on her chest I'd be worried that she could drown.

Its very sad and a very hard decision to make but I think its time to let her go.

I'm so sorry flowers

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 02-Mar-16 20:26:47

Any update on DentsistPig ?

Crossing paws that she's either happier with medication or resting calmly at peace. flowers

HorseDentist Wed 02-Mar-16 21:13:40

Hello, sorry for a long delay in getting back to you.
Piggy girl is currently munching her way through a massive mound of veggies and chatting away to me whilst sitting on my lap. She is currently comfortable but no improvement in her condition overall.

After talking with the vet this morning we have made the decision to try and do an x-ray on her chest whilst lightly anaesthetised. She will be admitted as an in patient tomorrow morning and they will do that and observe her. Once we know if it is her heart or something else we will go from there.
She is still, for now, a happy pig. I agree with you all that I will not go down the route of invasive treatment but at least if we know what is causing it we can control the symptoms and make her as comfortable as can be.

I can't resist posting another picture. My two pretty girls before she got sick.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 02-Mar-16 21:44:27

Guinea-pigs are born to eat (why else are they born with teeth and open eyes wink )

Hopefully your vet can give you some definitive answers tomorrow and you know where you're headed next.
For now, spoil her rotten smile

FYI- you think she's chatting. She's being as judgey as heck, good job they speak a completely different language. Those vets have nasty cold stainless steel tables, cold shock on guinea pig paws (worse for boars they have more to dangle ).shock

EastMidsGPs Wed 02-Mar-16 22:39:15

Wow they are 2 beauties. The more ouggies i see and hear about the more i want to have smile
Lovely to hear she is eating and happy and that you've a 'medical plan' going forward and a sensible one.

They are such a worry aren't they?🐹🐹
🍏🍉🍇🍓🍀🍀 for the twins from EastMidGPs (who am i kidding as if they'd willingly part with food gringrin)

EastMidsGPs Wed 02-Mar-16 22:40:52

Ouggies ???? Have obviously invented some sort of cross breed there ☺

HorseDentist Thu 03-Mar-16 10:32:29

Little squeak has been dropped off at the vet, without breakfast much to her disgust.

We should know more in a few hours. Fearing the worst but hoping for a little bit more time.

FernieB Thu 03-Mar-16 11:34:56

Fingers and paws firmly crossed for you and your gorgeous piggie (beautiful colouring). No breakfast won't have gone down well, but if your vets are anything like mine, she'll be very well spoilt once her procedure is completed. I have one pig who seems to prefer being at the vets. The other just wheeks and chats to them constantly, no doubt complaining about how badly treated they are at home.

When she gets home later she'll need an enormous meal to make up for missing breakfast, second breakfast, tensies, elevensies, lunch, second lunch and afternoon tea. Her sister will need one too as she'll have been very worried all day and even though she ate her meals, wasn't able to enjoy themconfused

Hope it all goes well.

HorseDentist Thu 03-Mar-16 14:25:48

She survived the x Ray but the news isn't great. She has Cardiomyopathy and is full of fluid in her chest and body.
The vet wants to start her on diuretics and a medication for heart function. Two tablets twice a day!! I can't do that to her can I?
My poor girls. I can't stop crying.

EastMidsGPs Thu 03-Mar-16 14:43:01

Big hugs.
My immediate thoughts.
If vet has suggested the tablets it is worth a try isn't it? And hopefully Liitle Squeak will be feeling more comfortable.
The long term outlook is probably pretty bleak but you'll buy a bit more time - aa long as she is happy and eating - to come to you decision re pts and thinking about her twin.
I'd give it a go. You have nothing to lose AND i'm intrigued to know how you get a piggie to take tablets smile

flowers for you
🍀🍀🍉 for the pigs

PurpleDaisies Thu 03-Mar-16 14:48:07

Aw bless your little piggie. Her and her sister are lovely. It definitely seems worth a go-one of ours was on long term painkillers through a syringe and he coped surprisingly well with it. If she seems really unhappy you can reevaluate later.

flowers for you and shamrock for your pigs

FernieB Thu 03-Mar-16 16:02:15

If it's just a case of tablets, I'd give it a go for a month and then reassess. They adapt amazingly well to taking medicine. One of mine loved his syringe painkillers and looked forward to them - he came running when he saw the syringe and just opened his mouth ready. She may well get used to the tablets, particularly if they're followed by parsleywink.

PurpleDaisies Thu 03-Mar-16 20:08:37

fernie was it metacam by any chance? Mine all love that one. I had one fake a limp (I'm sure she was faking-it went away straight after seeing the vet) for metacam.

FernieB Thu 03-Mar-16 22:39:26

Think so. He loved it. Had to have it 4 times over his lifetime. I'm fairly sure he only really needed it once - the other three occasions were faked limps.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 04-Mar-16 09:48:17

YY, I think see how she goes if she's happy and re-assess her progress.

A heart problem she might have had all her life but now she's middle aged a bit more mature, it's catching up.
How you get tablets down a piggie though........... they are not the most obliging of patients.
They don't care it's For Your Own Good
And they are armed with very sharp teeth wink.
<<Ponders wrapping a tablet in cucumber and trying to hoodwink a guinea. >>

I think I'd be relieved to have an answer and a solution, though it might be short term, you can't tell with hogs.

My boar had Loxicam after he was neutered, there was no struggling to give the dose , he practically arm wrestled us !

FernieB Fri 04-Mar-16 17:42:06

My pigs will eagerly take Current Buns special biscuits if I hold them out for them. So they'd probably assume a tablet was a biscuit and take it. Can it be crushed and fed on cucumber slices? Obviously need to hand feed to make sure it all goes down

MsMims Fri 04-Mar-16 17:48:58

Sorry - no experience with a Guinea pig with this condition but my beloved cat has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He is on a small cocktail of drugs including diuretics and a heart drug. He enjoys a brilliant quality of life at the moment. Always purring and still a very happy, loving cat. Diagnosed last July. I would attempt treatment and reasses periodically.

FernieB Fri 04-Mar-16 18:33:59

That's good to know MrsMims as piggies are often given cat medicine in similar doses (sometimes larger doses for reasons I can't remember but were explained to me). Glad your cat is doing well.

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