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Guinea Pig losing weight & drinking excessively

Lynnie

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Hi everyone. I have a 2yr old male Guinea Pig that seems to be suddenly very thin. He had a voracious appetite from the time we adopted him when he was 4 months old. I suspect kidney issues because he has always urinated much more frequently than our other Guinea Pig and has been consuming an excessive amount of water in the past few months. I did not take action on the drinking because I initially thought the water bottle was leaking. Eventually it progressed and I realized the same guinea pig was at the water bottle frequently, as well as running to the water bottle every time my son refilled it.

I am planning to make a vet appointment once I find a good small animal veterinarian in my area (later this week). This is my son's pet (whom he adores) so I am interested in hearing thoughts on the potential diagnosis and prognosis so I can manage his expectations accordingly. Due to covid, vet offices are not allowing owners in with pets and aside from bloodwork, I am clueless about what to expect etc.

Does anyone have any insight into what could be the likely cause, potential treatment, and what I should expect at the vet?

Thanks!
 

Piggies&buns

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When you take him to the vet you will hand over his carrier and the vet will then conduct all checks and decide next steps based on what you tell them. What the treatment is depends entirely on what the vet finds. It’s not something we can speculate on as we don’t know the diagnosis.

In the meantime, switch from lifelong weekly weight monitoring to weighing him daily, at the same time each day. Step in with syringe feeding him to prevent further weight loss. You will need to adjust the amount you syringe feed him based on his daily weight readjnfs - if he continues to lose weight, then you need to syringe feed more often. If he has a complete loss of appetite then he needs syringing at least 60ml over each 24 hour period.

How much weight has he lost and over what period?

He really does need to see a vet soon if he has lost a lot suddenly.

Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
 

PigglePuggle

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Yes I agree this does need a vet check rather urgently, and you should be monitoring his weight daily. Please be aware that blood tests that you mention are really not routine or easy to perform in piggies, they require sedation or anaesthesia and are taken from a major blood vessel, so I imagine the vet will test the urine and check the teeth and do a hands-on physical examination first, before asking you to consent to sedation and blood tests at a later appointment if this is indicated. Keep us posted how you get on at the vets x
 

Lynnie

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Yes I agree this does need a vet check rather urgently, and you should be monitoring his weight daily. Please be aware that blood tests that you mention are really not routine or easy to perform in piggies, they require sedation or anaesthesia and are taken from a major blood vessel, so I imagine the vet will test the urine and check the teeth and do a hands-on physical examination first, before asking you to consent to sedation and blood tests at a later appointment if this is indicated. Keep us posted how you get on at the vets x
Thank you for the info! I didn't even think about how difficult drawing blood would be but it makes absolute sense given their size. The last thing I would want to do is sedate a sick animal of his size.
 

PigglePuggle

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Thank you for the info! I didn't even think about how difficult drawing blood would be but it makes absolute sense given their size. The last thing I would want to do is sedate a sick animal of his size.
Always best to know what's involved, then you can have a fully informed discussion with the vet! Many rodents can have blood taken from the tail vein, but with no tail piggy blood samples are usually taken from one of the main blood vessels in the neck. It may be possible to get a small amount of blood by the vet deliberately cutting a toenail too short, as this area bleeds a lot, but it may not be enough or be suitable for all types of blood test.
Some diagnostic procedures absolutely do require sedation and blood sampling is usually one of them, but I'm sure the vet will consider his weight and health before deciding if its safe to offer any diagnostics that require this. Best of luck!
 

Wiebke

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When you take him to the vet you will hand over his carrier and the vet will then conduct all checks and decide next steps based on what you tell them. What the treatment is depends entirely on what the vet finds. It’s not something we can speculate on as we don’t know the diagnosis.

In the meantime, switch from lifelong weekly weight monitoring to weighing him daily, at the same time each day. Step in with syringe feeding him to prevent further weight loss. You will need to adjust the amount you syringe feed him based on his daily weight readjnfs - if he continues to lose weight, then you need to syringe feed more often. If he has a complete loss of appetite then he needs syringing at least 60ml over each 24 hour period.

How much weight has he lost and over what period?

He really does need to see a vet soon if he has lost a lot suddenly.

Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
Hi!

Please see a vet promptly and step in with feeding support until you can get there. Sudden increased drinking is most often due to major problems with the kidneys and more rarely with diabetes but we can only speculate.
All About Drinking And Bottles (see chapter 'When do I need to be worried?')

Here is a guide link that tells you how vet visits are handled during the pandemic, including a video taken by a vet to show what happens behind the scenes.
Make sure that your phone is fully charged so you can notify the receptionist of your arrival in the car park and follow their instructions. The treating vet will likely contact you via phone as well and payment is often handled via the phone, too, in order to minimise contact and the risk of transmission in order to keep the clinic open.
COVID-19 - Vet visits/emergencies during coronavirus/Covid-19 lockdown
 
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