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Small pets

Older guinea pig ailments

12 replies

BananaFronkle · 08/03/2016 10:23

Hi, We've got an older female guinea pig. Sadly her friend died last year, and we've been dithering about whether or not to buy her another companion or just to make lots of fuss of her. She is 6 and a half.

She had a successful removal of a huge bladder stone about 15 months ago, has been healthy since until just before Christmas where she had an eye infection. We took her to the vets who gave her the once over, checked teeth etc, said she was in excellent condition generally and gave us eye drops. Eye infection cleared up quickly with drops.

A week or so ago, her eye became weepy, exactly as it had last time, so as I still had some of the drops, I started putting them in her eye again, but without much improvement. A few days after this, DD noticed bright red blood in her cage, just over one night. So red, it was almost as though she'd cut something, not just bloody urine. We took her to the vet immediately, but around her vulva etc was completely clean and healthy, vet was baffled, even suggested maybe we had confused red dye from newspaper (we hadn't!).

The vet also looked at her eye and said this time, it looked like she had an ulcer in her eye from a hayseed or suchlike. (This is not visible to the naked eye; the vet could see it when she put dye in the eye.) Anyhow, the vet gave us a fresh bottle of the same eye drops and antibios for the 'urine infection' even though there were no obvious signs of a urine infection by then - no more blood, no soreness etc.

Gosh, sorry this is so long. Four days later, and the eye is pretty much the same. I am cleaning round it with saltwater and putting in eye drops twice a day, and doing the antibios twice a day. Meanwhile, her wee has gone dark brown. Absolutely no signs of blood, and clean undercarriage still, but this weird dark brown colour. My mum (medical, but no guinea expert!) says in humans that's a sign of renal failure.

So, she is in no obvious discomfort, munching away on the first of the spring grass and her hay etc. I will take her to the vet if she worsens, or if there is no improvement in either eye or wee by Friday.

I just wondered if any of you experienced folk had seen anything like this at all, and whether our old girl is grievously ill, or if she will get over it? I imagine the eye and bladder things are completely unrelated. The vet's parting shot to us (DD and me) as we left was 'I'm not sure what we do if that ulcer doesn't clear...' and she sort of left it hanging.

Sigh, sorry this is so epic. BTW I have namechanged, not because I am a guinea troll, but because this is so detailed, and I don't want it linked to my usual name.

OP posts:
FernieB · 08/03/2016 18:08

Sorry, no experience of this, but at 6 and a half, she's doing very well. As long as she is in no pain and is carrying on as normal with her daily piggie activities, I'd leave her to it. Keep up with the eye drops and meds and just see how she goes. I wouldn't put an older pig through too much vet attention.

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 08/03/2016 20:59

Poor love Sad

Banana have a look back through some of fortifiedwithteas threads, one of her sows had passed blood (I'm 100% sure, but cannot off the top of my head remember which piggie, I think coco )

Renal failure is a consideration , is she puffy and bloated ?
Is she hunched or shrieky when she pees , is she showing any sign of pain?
Is her pee smelling?
Is it cloudier than normal? Chalky? (Calcium)

Could be a second bladder stone or sludgey gravel which is irritating off and on. Has your vet tested her wee? (Good luck getting a pee sample, they don't oblige. You'd need to cuddle her till she tells you it's 'time' then put her on a hard surface/ plastic cover and hope she pees to order)

I'd be worried about her eye, is she scratching at all, maybe catching her skin? (Maybe file the tips of her claws blunt)

She might have a foreign body still in there but salt water bathing will help relieve it and the drops to heal it.

Play it by ear and see how she fares I'd say.
6+ is a good piggie age but , yes, they wear out bit by bit Sad

BananaFronkle · 08/03/2016 23:39

Thanks Fernie and 70. Yes I'll look through some more threads on here. I've been looking at the guinea pig forum too, as a google search for brown urine in guinea pigs brings that up!

No, she's not puffy, and is the same weight as she has been for a while (just over 1 kg). She's not showing signs of pain although she squeaked a bit when the vet palpated her bladder - it could have just been indignation, but I think there was tenderness there. No smell, and it's not cloudy.

No, vet hasn't tested her wee, and not sure if it's wishful thinking but her wee seems very slightly less browny today.

Yes, the eye is worrying me too. I'll try filing her claws but I don't think she's scratching. I will keep a watchful eye. We'll go back to the vets on Friday I think if she's just the same. The vet told us when we went at the weekend that the thinking is now that guineas can happily live to 8 and that she wouldn't consider her geriatric, but I think I agree, 70, that things are starting to wear out; She has been such a healthy guinea up to a year ago.

Bless her, we'll just keep a close eye and go back to the vets. I wouldn't opt for anything very intrusive and surgical at her age I don't think. Yes, we collected her in mid December 2009. She must've been at least 8 weeks then, so almost six and a half!

Thanks again for your help.

OP posts:
GinBunny · 08/03/2016 23:52

Having had piggies before I know that diet can affect the colour of their wee. Early spring grass is full of sugar and it could be something else she is eating - red peppers for example can cause red pee.
Finding a vet who really know about any small furry is tough - they aren't researched on as much as dogs and cats - but it sounds like you've got a good one so I would trust their judgement. And forums are fantastic for advice and research.
We think our last one was about 8 when she died but she was a rescue so hard to tell. Hope she's ok Thanks

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 09/03/2016 00:01

My GP1 ate his own bodyweight in red pepper and did peach pee
I was Shock to see discoloured bedding then remembered the beetroot salad they'd been scoffing............

Beetroot gave aubergine poohs to GP3

But they were diffused colours, not bright.
I'm sure one of fortifieds sows peed blood on a cabbage leaf, pure blood. (I'll have a searchy tomorrow, need to get to bed now)

EastMidsGPs · 09/03/2016 11:31

๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ฏ so sorry to hear this but be assured you made the correct decisions and she was chirpy till the end. Hugs for you

BananaFronkle · 09/03/2016 13:54

Oh no EastMids, she is still perky! Sorry, I can't have been very clear in my last post!

TBH, I think the wee situation is pretty much better - a much more normal colour today, and no repeat of that bright red blood.

Her eye is still slightly worrying though. It's the same I think; still weepy, still a bit cloudy. I'll take her back to the vets on Friday for a review. If she is in no discomfort, she should be fine to keep pottering on, but if the eye is or gets sore for her, we will probably have to make some tough decisions.

OP posts:
FernieB · 09/03/2016 14:22

Oh definitely leave her perkily pottering on if she's happy. I've just weighed my lads and my older (nearly 5 year old) boy has lost a bit since January, but as he's pootling about in his usual way, I shall leave him alone.

BananaFronkle · 14/03/2016 12:32

Just to do a little happy update, we took our guinea back to the vet on Saturday for another check-up. I was quite worried about it as we had again seen red blood on Wednesday night, and her eye had also continued to be weepy.

However, apparently the ulcer has cleared in her eye, and the vet managed to squeeze out a smallish bladder stone from her (which as you can imagine she objected strongly to, poor old girl).

As a little bonus, the vet must have taken pity on us and only charged us a fraction of the usual consultation fee!

She is now home and seems herself again. Smile

OP posts:
EastMidsGPs · 14/03/2016 12:34

And here's me got her dead and buried ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
Lovely to hear i am wrong x

BananaFronkle · 14/03/2016 12:41

Ha ha, no worries, EastMids, I think I had too in my head! Now I have a feeling that she may just go on and on (fingers crossed).

OP posts:
70isaLimitNotaTarget · 15/03/2016 21:10

Ooh I bet she loved the vet after that (and by association, you too are Guilty Wink ) , but passing the stone will make her feel better.

Does she have a low calcium diet (I was surprised that some green veg is really high in calcium. In small amounts fine, but limited )

Though as a vegetarian myself, I know that things like green spinach and broccili are rich in iron and calcium, it's not a con to make us eat them Grin )

They are complicated little rodents and quite smug in their "Exotic" status.

Keep up the good work BananaPig

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