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Gradual weight loss in senior

hannahs26

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Hi,
I've noticed a very gradual weight loss in our eldest girl, of around 250g over the ten months since rehoming her. Last September she was around 1250g. She hasn't had a dramatic loss of weight anytime, it's always been a small amount over a few weeks or more. She's thought to be around five years old, and seems healthy, other than not very active. She eats plenty of timothy hay, and I feed her the recommended small amount of pellets and freshly foraged garden greens each morning, and veg in the evening, and she has lots of space to roam. I know that the rescue center said she was seen to be eating a muesli mix rather than hay-based pellets when they got her, and I'm wondering whether this weight reduction is due to change to a healthier diet, or whether it's a normal thing for older girls.
any insights would be appreciated, thank you :-)
IMG_20191221_185946.jpg
 

Siikibam

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Hi. Afraid I have no clue if prolonged weight loss is a thing in older piggies. Possibly but don’t quote me. Has she been given the once over by a vet to rule out anything? And is it a constant loss each week or a loss then gain?
 

hannahs26

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Hi, thanks for your reply. She's not had a vet visit, no, as seems in good health otherwise. It's been a small loss, then a small gain, then a small loss, then a small gain, then staying around that, then another small loss etc, continuing like that. She was housed in a small cage with little enrichment or space, and not such a good diet before coming to us, which makes me wonder whether she's just balancing out to a more healthy weight now she's cared for better.
 

Siikibam

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How is her heft? It does seem gradual but if it’s generally been a downward trend with no recovery I would think about having her checked out.
 

hannahs26

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I will have a good feel of her tomorrow and let you know. My daughter - who is Lola's favourite - has a good feel all over her for any changes/lumps and bumps each day, and hasn't noticed anything of concern, but we've not thought about checking her heft. Thank you.
 

hannahs26

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Weight - Monitoring and Management
You may find the above link helpful.
Thank you, it is a help. It states "Guinea pigs over 4 years old will gradually lose condition and become bonier especially around the hops and spine as they age. Please still have any weight loss checked by a vet to make sure that it is not due to an underlying health condition; this should include a check of the back teeth." So I guess I will need to make an appointment for her. Do I take all four girls together, rather than remove her alone for an hour or so?
 

Wiebke

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Hi,
I've noticed a very gradual weight loss in our eldest girl, of around 250g over the ten months since rehoming her. Last September she was around 1250g. She hasn't had a dramatic loss of weight anytime, it's always been a small amount over a few weeks or more. She's thought to be around five years old, and seems healthy, other than not very active. She eats plenty of timothy hay, and I feed her the recommended small amount of pellets and freshly foraged garden greens each morning, and veg in the evening, and she has lots of space to roam. I know that the rescue center said she was seen to be eating a muesli mix rather than hay-based pellets when they got her, and I'm wondering whether this weight reduction is due to change to a healthier diet, or whether it's a normal thing for older girls.
any insights would be appreciated, thank you :-)
View attachment 148099
Hi!

Older piggies over the age of 4-5 years will usually gradully lose some weight but any major weight loss should be checked by a vet to make sure that there isn't a specific underlying issue.

You can find more information in our weight guide. Weight - Monitoring and Management
 

piggieminder

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I agree, taking all 4 might be a bit of a handful! I hope everything goes well at the vet and your girl is just slimming down with age.
 
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Hi there! Could you give us an update after the vet visit? I am having the same issues with my Mango.
 

Siikibam

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Hi there! Could you give us an update after the vet visit? I am having the same issues with my Mango.
It's best you take her to the vet rather than wait for someone's update. Whatever is going on could be different. Start your own thread as well if you want, it's more likely to be seen.
 
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You are right, today we are going to the vet. He is happy and eating well so I am not too worried, but when I hold him I kind of fell he is a bit lighter. I have to start measuring him every day :)
 

hannahs26

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You are right, today we are going to the vet. He is happy and eating well so I am not too worried, but when I hold him I kind of fell he is a bit lighter. I have to start measuring him every day :)
Hope Mango is ok. I've a non-urgent appointment for mine to have a check up next week.
 

Freela

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Awww, what a cutie! I do find that older pigs tend to lose muscle over time, causing them to feel bonier through the shoulders and hips and leading to a gradual reduction in weight (because muscle is heavier than fat.) The age where this happens seems to vary a bit... my older pig, Hadley, will be 6 in October and still feels pretty solid, but I know that at least one of our previous pigs had noticeably thinned out by that age. If you're not weighing regularly, I would start doing so, just to keep an eye on things, as prolonged weight loss can be a sign of problems other than aging and it's always good to have a weight baseline to catch developing problems early. And a vet visit to check for obvious issues when you see a change is never a bad idea. That said, losing body condition/muscle mass is a normal part of the aging process as well, so you may well see that with older pigs.
 
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