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Sick Guinea pig has lost swallow reflex

AvrilH

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Hi, I am new to this site but urgently need some advice. I have a guinea pig with vestibular disease. The vet thought it was an ear infection but I think it is something worse. Head tilt, hind legs are not working properly, struggling to walk, one of its eyes now has a white mark in it but from the start one of its eyes seems to have lost focus and control. At first the guinea pig was eating if its head was supported but now it has deteriorated to needing syringe feeding but it now sounds like she is aspirating the feed and it would appear that she has now lost the ability to swallow. She is on Metacam and Baytril antibiotics. I did ask for other antibiotics but the vet said Baytril was well responded to, least side affects and effective in cases such as these. The guinea pig has lost a lot of weight and I am wondering if there is any possibility of recovery or any viable way to feed her if she can no longer swallow. I believe she may actually be suffering from e cuniculi, though I have also noticed she has lots of lumps around her body and so perhaps she has a brain tumour. The vet said not to worry about the lumps at the moment. I don't want to watch her starve to death but don't want to give up if there is possibility of hope.
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry for your desperation in finding a miracle way out for your beloved piggy!

There is unfortunately no way to feed her if she can no longer swallow; it is most likely that the body is already closing down. I am very sorry, but the kindest thing you can do is to let her go now and spare her any unnecessary suffering. :(

I fully sympathise with you having to make this heart-breaking decision, having been in the same situation with many of my own piggies over the years, including 2 year old Angharad last year, who suddenly lost the ability to swallow because of a neurological problem, and 6 year Carwyn a week ago to the hour when he developed a brain tumour.

We would all like to have our piggies live long and healthy lives, but that is often not a choice. In this case our duty as a responsible owner has to concentrate on putting aside our own instinctive desire to keep your beloved ones here with you against all the odds and on making the inevitable as easy as possible on those in our care. There are sadly no miracle cures, as much as we'd wish to! :(

HUGS
 
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anyar.dris

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This is what happened to my piggy Bunny. She had bladder stones and cystitis and was bleeding a lot. But we didn't realise she also had mouth ulcers that were stopping her from eating properly. This was caused by taking antibiotics for quite a long time. The ulcers never cleared despite trying to treat it for 3 weeks and then she started losing a lot of weight even though we managed to feed her CC. Her last 2 days, she refused to eat at all whatever we tried and that's when we decided it was time to let her go. We were so heartbroken because everything happened in 2 short months.

So big hugs for you. We can only do so much for our piggies.
 

Wheekallweek

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:( poor you and poor piggy. Good luck whatever happens x
 

Sophie B

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My Bella (rabbit) had e.cuniculi and we had to let her go at 9 months if we didn't she would've just starved too, sometimes it is just the best thing you can do, her eyes started to roll around, she started to roll and she lost control of her bladder/bowels, parasites really are terrible... I really hope this doesn't happen to your piggy, it's tough to watch them deteriorate when there is nothing you can do (she was on medicine but it didn't really help her) I wish your piggy all the best... :(:(:(
 
D

DMS260820

My sick boar lost swallow reflex in his end day. He had urine scalded feet, a uti, 3 bladder stones and broken front top teeth and had lost alot of weight. I just couldnt give up fighting with him, i wish i did alot earlier. I agree with some of the above. I think pts would be the kindest thing to do right now
 

Merab's Slave

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I am so sorry that you find yourself in this situation.
In the end you do what is best for your piggy and sometimes that means we make decisions that break our hearts.
Please know that you will have a lot of support and understanding from us on the forum
 

Bill & Ted

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Oh I’m so sorry for the terrible time you and your piggie are having. My thoughts are with you x
 

Eriathwen

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I'm sorry to hear your piggy is so unwell :( My Bramble has e.cuniculi and it does sound similar. Luckily for her, the nerve damage only affected her ability to chew, she was still able to swallow pretty well. Even so, with being syringe fed every 3 hours, she rapidly went from 720g to almost 400g. I cannot really think of a humane way at this point your piggy could receive enough nutrition to keep them alive long enough for the damage to start correcting itself if they are already unable to swallow. I'm so sorry that you're in this position..sending virtual hugs to you and your piggy.
 

AvrilH

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Thank you for all of your kindness and condolences. I was pretty much of the mind that she needed a one way trip to the vets but I didn't want to do that, and later find out that there was something that could have been done, as I had read of people having to feed piggies for weeks before they recovered the ability to eat. It has all happened so quickly - she was fine one day and then I find her unable to walk properly or hold her head straight but at least she could eat then. I am just going to treat the rest of our (currently healthy) rescued piggies with panacur just in case it is e cuniculi and hope for the best.........
 

Veggies Galore

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Thank you for all of your kindness and condolences. I was pretty much of the mind that she needed a one way trip to the vets but I didn't want to do that, and later find out that there was something that could have been done, as I had read of people having to feed piggies for weeks before they recovered the ability to eat. It has all happened so quickly - she was fine one day and then I find her unable to walk properly or hold her head straight but at least she could eat then. I am just going to treat the rest of our (currently healthy) rescued piggies with panacur just in case it is e cuniculi and hope for the best.........
does your vet think it may be e cunicil ?

I wouldn't be treating healthy guineas unless necessary .
 

EJMA82

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The vet used to give me a course of panacur every time by rabbits had their jabs each year but not sure for piggies tho
 

Wiebke

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Thank you for all of your kindness and condolences. I was pretty much of the mind that she needed a one way trip to the vets but I didn't want to do that, and later find out that there was something that could have been done, as I had read of people having to feed piggies for weeks before they recovered the ability to eat. It has all happened so quickly - she was fine one day and then I find her unable to walk properly or hold her head straight but at least she could eat then. I am just going to treat the rest of our (currently healthy) rescued piggies with panacur just in case it is e cuniculi and hope for the best.........

I am very sorry; it sounds like your piggy had a debilitating stroke or heart attack to me. Piggies can go downhill very quickly and sometimes right out of the blue. Strokes, heart attacks and heart failure can happen at any age without warning.

A piggy that is not able to swallow and to process any food anymore is sadly a dying piggy. :(
When it is the first time you are confronted with a dying guinea pig it can come as bad shock. it is usually a much more physical process than we expect.

Support syringe feeding can (and has) saved lives when you are dealing with potentially reversable issues like GI stasis (no gut movement), bloat, loss of appetite in the wake of an operation or as a result to a bad reaction to life saving antibiotics, if a guinea pig has lost its appetite with a respiratory infection (the need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need to eat) or because its teeth are overgrowing. They will still need veterinary care; the feeding will only help towards keeping them alive until medication can kick in fully and they have a chance at making a recovery. ;)

You are welcome to post a tribute in our Rainbow Bridge section if or whenever it feels right for you. It is there for those that want to make use of it.
 
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