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Emergency Guinea Pig Losing Lots Of Weight - Help!

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MarleysMum

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My 4 year old male guinea pig, Marley, used to be a healthy 1.2kg. I know I should have been weighing him more frequently but he is eating, drinking and pooping normally, wheeking for food etc so I assumed he was fine. I weighed him a few times in the last months and noticed a slight downward trend - he was 900g a few weeks ago. I put this down to fluctuations and me misremembering his previous weight as higher than it was.
However, he has also been quite inactive and lethargic and I can feel his bones. I weighed him yesterday and he is only 660g. He has a vet's appointment in an hour and a half from now and I feel so unbelievably guilty and worried. If he dies I will be utterly heartbroken and hate myself forever.
I know I'm a terrible and irresponsible owner and I should have taken him before now. I did have a sense that something might be off and asked my mum if I could take him to the vet but she laughed me off and said he was fine. She still doesn't think he needs to go - or know that I am taking him.
I don't need to be told that I'm a bad person who probably doesn't deserve to have this guinea pig but I do love him and need him to be ok. All I am asking for are suggestions for what could be wrong with him? Thank you.
 

Wiebke

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My 4 year old male guinea pig, Marley, used to be a healthy 1.2kg. I know I should have been weighing him more frequently but he is eating, drinking and pooping normally, wheeking for food etc so I assumed he was fine. I weighed him a few times in the last months and noticed a slight downward trend - he was 900g a few weeks ago. I put this down to fluctuations and me misremembering his previous weight as higher than it was.
However, he has also been quite inactive and lethargic and I can feel his bones. I weighed him yesterday and he is only 660g. He has a vet's appointment in an hour and a half from now and I feel so unbelievably guilty and worried. If he dies I will be utterly heartbroken and hate myself forever.
I know I'm a terrible and irresponsible owner and I should have taken him before now. I did have a sense that something might be off and asked my mum if I could take him to the vet but she laughed me off and said he was fine. She still doesn't think he needs to go - or know that I am taking him.
I don't need to be told that I'm a bad person who probably doesn't deserve to have this guinea pig but I do love him and need him to be ok. All I am asking for are suggestions for what could be wrong with him? Thank you.
It is always trickier when you are a minor and your parents are not aware just how important it is that any weight loss over 100g needs to be checked by a vet, whether it is a gradual one or a sudden one. Guinea pigs are after all very small animals, and they can go downhill far more quickly than many people realise. A slow weight loss can happen without much in the way of other symptoms, but it is often an indication of an underlying issue as guinea pigs get older.

It is good that you have him seen now. However, the extent of the weight loss and the fact that he is very lethargic are both extremely worrying; that is often a sign that his body may already be in the process of closing down. :(

I am not saying this to pounce on you, but there is a real chance that you may be faced with the decision that the kindest thing you can do for him is to have put him to sleep. I know that you love your boy, please be strong for him!

I am very sorry for your nightmare and am keeping my fingers very firmly crossed!
 

MarleysMum

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It is always trickier when you are a minor and your parents are not aware just how important it is that any weight loss over 100g needs to be checked by a vet, whether it is a gradual one or a sudden one. Guinea pigs are after all very small animals, and they can go downhill far more quickly than many people realise. A slow weight gain can happen without much in the way of other symptoms, but it is often an indication of an underlying issue as guinea pigs get older.

It is good that you have him seen now. However, the extent of the weight loss and the fact that he is very lethargic are both extremely worrying; that is often a sign that his body may already be in the process of closing down. :(

I am not saying this to pounce on you, but there is a real chance that you may be faced with the decision that the kindest thing you can do for him is to have put him to sleep. I know that you love your boy, please be strong for him!

I am very sorry for your nightmare and am keeping my fingers very firmly crossed!
Thank you for being so kind. I'm praying he will be ok. Do you have any clue why he has lost so much?
 

Wiebke

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Thank you for being so kind. I'm praying he will be ok. Do you have any clue why he has lost so much?
My suspicion is that either one of the major organs has gone into a decline and is now failing or that his back teeth are overgrown to the extent that he cannot eat anymore and his guts have stopped working (gut stasis) as a consequence. Once you cross a certain line, things go downhill very quickly. :(
 

helen105281

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I agree with Wiebke, my Star also dropped weight that drastically and over a short period of time. The vet found a mass that we suspected was a tumour on her kidneys and we made the kindest decision to let her go as her weight had dropped beyond the point where we would have been able to save her. Will be thinking of you at the vets.
 

MarleysMum

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I just got back from the vet with Marley. He was just 640g on their scales :(
The vet had a look at his teeth and said they are a little overgrown so that might be causing it but since he is still eating normally then it could be something else. He said that at this weight it would be more dangerous to put him under an anaesthetic. So, he gave Marley some sort of injection and sent me away with two different food supplements to feed him every day for a week. I have to take him back for an appointment next Thursday and we will see if he has gained weight.
If he hasn't gained, the vet said they can do his teeth and X-ray him for other possible problems next Friday but he would need to be under anaesthetic for that which has its risks.
I'm so so worried and scared. Does the vet's advice sound good? I did ask whether I should have his teeth done now but was told he is probably too underweight. I accept that but I'm concerned that if Marley has gained next week, they will send him away without doing his teeth or X-raying him so we will never discover and treat the underlying problem and he will start to lose again.
Please pray for him - or cross your fingers, whatever it is you do. My poor little guy. I let him down so bad :'(
 

MarleysMum

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My Mum is going to kill me when she finds out I took him to the vet too. She thinks anything smaller than a cat isn't worth the money. I don't care about her being angry but I'm worried I may not be able to afford the treatment on my own. The appointment today was over £70 and I now have under £100 in my bank account. What if I can't afford the next appointment or an operation? I will have to try and get my brother to lend me some money. He loves Marley too so I hope he will.
 

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Sending healing vibes! I hope they get to the bottom of it!
 

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My Mum is going to kill me when she finds out I took him to the vet too. She thinks anything smaller than a cat isn't worth the money. I don't care about her being angry but I'm worried I may not be able to afford the treatment on my own. The appointment today was over £70 and I now have under £100 in my bank account. What if I can't afford the next appointment or an operation? I will have to try and get my brother to lend me some money. He loves Marley too so I hope he will.
I am ever so sorry for the pickle you find yourself in! Could you please add your county, so we can help you better? You do that by clicking on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!

Here is our step-by-step syringe feeding guide, which tells you exactly what you have to do and how best to do it.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/complete-syringe-feeding-guide.115359/

Unfortunately, as long as you and your vet don't know what your boy is up against, you cannot address the problem and can't heal him if that is possible. but any further examinations, like an x-ray, may be quite expensive, and any operation even more so.

It is a pity that your mum has such an outdated attitude. Guinea pigs can live to 5-7 years of age, and some can live even longer. The longest lived guinea pig died at 17 years old last year - that is as old as an old cat!
 

MarleysMum

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I am ever so sorry for the pickle you find yourself in! Could you please add your county, so we can help you better? You do that by clicking on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!

Here is our step-by-step syringe feeding guide, which tells you exactly what you have to do and how best to do it.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/complete-syringe-feeding-guide.115359/

Unfortunately, as long as you and your vet don't know what your boy is up against, you cannot address the problem and can't heal him if that is possible. but any further examinations, like an x-ray, may be quite expensive, and any operation even more so.

It is a pity that your mum has such an outdated attitude. Guinea pigs can live to 5-7 years of age, and some can live even longer. The longest lived guinea pig died at 17 years old last year - that is as old as an old cat!
It's ok! I just phoned my brother and he says he will fund all of Marley's treatment. I'm so relieved - at least I now know I am in a position to do everything I can for him now.
Oh and I am in Middlesex, just added it to my profile.
 

MarleysMum

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Just in case it is Marley's teeth which are the problem, what easy to chew foods should I be feeding him for the next week?
 
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Wiebke

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In case it is Marley's teeth which are the problem, what easy to chew foods should I be feeding him for the next week?
Keep syringe feeding; fibre should make 80% of the daily food intake. You can also mush up his pellets and grate any veg in his diet, so he can pick them up and chew more easily. Please weigh him daily at the same time in the feeding cycle, so you can check on his food intake and see how much you need to feed him via syringe. You also need to offer him water by syringe. Our syringe feeding guide has got a chapter on dental guinea pigs with more tips. ;)

I am tagging our dental expert for you who runs a sanctuary for guinea pigs with dental problems, either temporary ones or chronic ones.
@furryfriends (TEAS)
 

MarleysMum

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Keep syringe feeding; fibre should make 80% of the daily food intake. You can also mush up his pellets and grate any veg in his diet, so he can pick them up and chew more easily. Please weigh him daily at the same time in the feeding cycle, so you can check on his food intake and see how much you need to feed him via syringe. You also need to offer him water by syringe. Our syringe feeding guide has got a chapter on dental guinea pigs with more tips. ;)

I am tagging our dental expert for you who runs a sanctuary for guinea pigs with dental problems, either temporary ones or chronic ones.
@furryfriends (TEAS)
Thank you! He's actually drinking a lot of water so do I need to syringe feed him more water in addition to the water he is drinking from his bottle?
 

Wiebke

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Thank you! He's actually drinking a lot of water so do I need to syringe feed him more water in addition to the water he is drinking from his bottle?
No, not when he is drinking well by himself. There is often a danger that people confronted with a guinea pig that is not eating overlook that it may not drink, either, so we do our best to make sure that that angle is covered. ;)

PS: Do you know what was in the injection your vet has given your boy? What is his name, by the way?
 

MarleysMum

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No, not when he is drinking well by himself. There is often a danger that people confronted with a guinea pig that is not eating overlook that it may not drink, either, so we do our best to make sure that that angle is covered. ;)

PS: Do you know what was in the injection your vet has given your boy? What is his name, by the way?
Ah ok. The thing is that he is both drinking and eating all the food I give him. So both me and the vet think that it probably isn't his teeth which are the problem. But I just wanted to make sure I was feeding him things which are easy to eat just in case.
He is called Marley. I'm not sure what is was that the vet gave him - but he said it would help to build him up and will last for a month. I think it could have been steroids or a nutritional supplement of some kind. I'm sorry not to be more helpful, I was sort of bawling my eyes out at the time so probably didn't ask all the questions I should have :(
 

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Ah ok. The thing is that he is both drinking and eating all the food I give him. So both me and the vet think that it probably isn't his teeth which are the problem. But I just wanted to make sure I was feeding him things which are easy to eat just in case.
He is called Marley. I'm not sure what is was that the vet gave him - but he said it would help to build him up and will last for a month. I think it could have been steroids or a nutritional supplement of some kind. I'm sorry not to be more helpful, I was sort of bawling my eyes out at the time so probably didn't ask all the questions I should have :(
If he is eating normally and is still losing weight, then it is a worrying issue; it could be a kidney or diabetes issues. Both are characteristic for lots of drinking and sudden major weight loss. However, without a proper examination and diagnosis by a piggy savvy vet, it can only be speculation.
 

MarleysMum

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If he is eating normally and is still losing weight, then it is a worrying issue; it could be a kidney or diabetes issues. Both are characteristic for lots of drinking and sudden major weight loss. However, without a proper examination and diagnosis by a piggy savvy vet, it can only be speculation.
Yes, the fact that he is eating normally is actually what is worrying me most. If it was just his teeth, I don't think it would be so serious as we would be able to solve that more easily. Do you think I should feed him the supplements for a week and take him for his appointment next Thursday like the vet said? Or should I get him seen by another vet in the mean time?
I was told that if it is something internal then he will need to be X-rayed under anaesthetic but it would be safer to do that after he has put on a bit of weight which the food supplements should hopefully achieve.
 

Galaxy&nibbles

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I can't help just wanted to say I hope you and Marley are ok, I'll keep my fingers crossed it's nothing too bad and even if it is, he makes a speedy, full recovery
 

Galaxy&nibbles

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I can't help just wanted to say I hope you and Marley are ok, I'll keep my fingers crossed it's nothing too bad and even if it is, he makes a speedy, full recovery
 
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