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We need help for Willow (sorry long post to follow)

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First off Hello all, I have been a member here for about 7 weeks I believe and have done a lot of reading but haven't had the need to post, until now. Call it a 2 scared moms and Aunt needing help to save a precious life.

Around 7 weeks ago a friend and I adopted 2 guinea pigs from Pets at Homes adoption area. We had researched for a long while on Guinea pigs and I am a former rat/hamster owner. We felt confident we had researched their needs and behavior etc enough to adopt. Faith was a very small (we were told 6 month old, vet check later for a RI told us 4 month old) ball of fluff. Willow though had a head tilt that Pets at home said was vet checked and was perminate. We loved her and was willing to adopt her as she deserved a home with love as much as any little soul. After papers were signed I casually asked (because they had posted a sign next to them "a home where we can stay together") why their owners didn't want them. Come to find out Willow since they couldn't sell her had been put into the adoption area with Faith. Pretty much as a way to get her out of the store. We took them home, with a bad feeling towards pets at home.

Besides Faiths 1 week battle with a RI things were going well. We found Willow had balance issues to which she was rapidly getting much better with. We moved them from a pets at home cage to our C&C cage 2 weeks after getting them. We went with a 4x4 cage and the girls were loving running around loving the freedom as well as time they got to come out and play and cuddle.

On March 31st My friend woke to Willows head being tilted a lot worse and flat on the ground. No warning signs, 11p.m. the night before she was not wanting to come out of the igloo much but eating her melon treat. We rushed her to the vets who are supposed to be the best clinic in Northern Ireland. They were debating between an ear infection and Rabbit parasites. They were also shocked pets at home let her leave the store. They gave us Baytril (.1ml twice daily) and rabbit parasite paste.

April 4th, return visit to the vet (same clinic different vet as they rotate and its near impossible to get same vet) she has stayed the same weight (650g) vet comments that her skin, fur, ears and eyes look clear even though eyes are still rolled. Head tilt slightly better, but to stay on the batyrl and parasite paste that it can take weeks. We tell the vet we are having to mush her food into a paste and syringe water into her. She tells us she needs 40-50ml of water daily, we are averaging 30 most so we step up and try even harder. She says to come back in 4 days, we have what could take weeks ahead of us to see if she pulls through. We tell her that we read on this site about probiotics and have been giving that to her, she says yes that's a good idea keep it up. She also mentions most people opt. for putting the animal to sleep.

Willow gets very cranky between this visit and her next vet visit. She is harder to get water into but we keep trying averaging between 35-45ml a day. She eats her mush very well though and seems to peck at it like a chicken but purrs like crazy when she smells it or you mention it. She has gone off her veggies some so we mix a little in the mush. She does still like her hay but I am not sure she is eating it as much as she used to. She also starts coming out of her igloo a little, even if its just to get at her mush better. She has taught herself the distance between the food bowl, hay tube and igloo and makes her way fairly well back and forth. She still seems to not be able to see well, but we think she sees shadows as she tends to hold very still if we wave our arm over the cage. Head seems the tiniest bit better to us, when eating its more straight, sitting still tilted.

April 8th, trip back to vet, maybe we shouldn't have let her eat all she wanted before the vets as she was very active before but while at the vets she just sat there. New vet was not impressed and he said her quality of life was poor. That after the first week of baytril she should have been better that it only takes 4-5 days for it to work. He said she had been on it for 9 days so it was not an ear infection. He checks her ears and says their is a little discharge. He then weighs Willow and she has went down 5% of her body weight. He tried to take her temp but by this time she was well ****** off at him. He then proceeds to tell us that if it were a dog or cat there would be more test etc. but its a guinea pig and was just not worth the cost. We almost loose it on the vet, I told him that the other vets and my research online says it can take weeks to improve. He then told us fine he will up the baytril. So we are on .2ml twice a day now. He also says he is not trying to be a pessimist but he is being honest, it is a guinea pig. I ask for the baytril and more rabbit paste and say that we won't stop, until its clear Willow gives up. He makes a comment on the cost for a Guinea Pig and my friend said cost isnt an issue. End of vet visit.

We need help, advice and all around support.

First are there any members here from Northern Ireland that can recommend a Guinea Pig vet in County Antrim? As we are not impressed with her current vet.

We know that her losing weight is not good, is there anything we can give her that we help sustain her current weight or help her gain.

Is there anything we can be doing to help Willow that we are not currently doing? We are adding Vit. C (around 75mg) to a syringe full of water. She takes it fairly well so far.

Just anything at all please?
 
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sorry to hear about your poor piggie. can't offer much advise on this on but it does sound like you are doing everyhting you should. I would definatly find another vet though!
 

Wiebke

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BIG HUG

Can you feed her Critical Care (a powder that you make up with water) and extra vitamin C to make sure that she doesn't lose more weight? Also give her plenty of water. Add a pinch of probiotic for her guts. http://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html

It sounds like you are already doing what you can; you are a very caring mum. Sadly, un- or undertreated ear infections can come up again, travel further into the body and can kill despite the best of care. It doesn't sound like ear mites to me.
You could try and ring this vet on Monday for advice; he is one of the best guinea pig vets in Britain. http://www.catandrabbit.co.uk/contact_us.htm I haven't heard of any vets recommended in your area.
 
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Hello, I'm from Lisburn. Can I ask what vet you went to? I go to Glenburn vets, they use vets on a rotation too, but they have been so great with my piggys that I don't think you use them? PM me if you want to talk more about this as I have had a few recommendations xox
 
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Thank you to all, We are on rotations with her since there is my partner, myself and she lives at our best friends house (2 streets away as partner and I have 3 half feral cats).

I am giving her around 75mg of Vit. C crushed into water and fed through a syrindge daily as of a few days ago and she takes it like a champ. I have just ordered the critical care this morning since I could not find it in stores around my area and I dont drive.

On our 4pm visit to give her water and food we were shocked to see little Willow out a little from her igloo and eating on her corn on the cob! She has not been able to do this since becoming ill and while we know she is not in the clear I almost cried I will admit it. She has had 25ml of water so far today and 3 helpings of mush and some fruit mush. She has probiotics added to food daily as she refused them in her water.

The vets we went to was Cedar Grove Veterinary Clinic. And while I respect their opinion I do not respect their its only a guinea pig get a new one cheaper then treating it attitude. I believe my partners mother uses Glenburn in Crumlin, I am just not sure how to get her their since neither of us drive.

Thank you all again for the help and well wishes, next feeding/watering is at 7pm so we will see how that goes.
 
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We are in south Belfast, if it is in Belfast and they do late appointments we can get there as Willows other caretaker drives and is off work at 5:30.
 
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For some reason I cannot PM you, I would be happy to buy what CC you have left so I will have some till mine gets delivered or if you know a place here to purchase it?
 

clairelove

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vets normally have cc or recovery sachets, also if you can syringe fed her the mushed pellets that would be great, also its worth asking the vet about Surolan ear drops this is a antibiotic, anti-fungal steroid drop works really well and will also kill any ear mites IF she does have them tooxxx
 
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Ok aparently the Vets we went to are complete pile of crap. Sorry for me saying such rude things but I am about to go hit one of them.

We specifically asked the last 2 vets we seen if there was ear drops or ANY other things we should be giving her. He said there wasn't ear drops for guinea pigs only for larger animals like dogs and cats, farm animals etc. I KNEW there was *bangs head*. He never offered us any form of CC or special food for her, neither did the other 2 vets we seen.

Today we have managed so far to get around 35ml of food into her. This is a big thing as she was refusing half that amount yesterday. The offset of that is she has dropped her water intake, but we are going to go after that bit more tonight as well as more food. She wants to eat but cant seem to chew the pellets or veggies. This leads us to believe there is something wrong with her teeth/mouth even though the 3 vets said it was fine.

We are going to make an apointment with carrot_and_parsnips vet tomorrow morning and called them today but there wasn't a vet in that knew alot about guinea pigs.

Thanks to all again.
 
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That's great news on the feeding front! Don't worry too much about what vet you end up seeing tomorrow from the practice. One of the vets from there I seen wasn't sure on the dose of an antibiotic and rang another vet from the practice to find out, so they won't do anything without being totally sure. She was a young lady, but she was so lovely and caring towards my piggies, and was very thorough in examining them too.
I imagine the vet you seen probably thought that because the drugs say for cat, dog etc that there wasn't one for guinea pigs, but that's a bit silly as they just need to check whether they are suitable in a manual. The metacam I got said for cats on it, but the dose was adjusted accordingly, silly vet!
Anyway please let us know how you get on tomorrow, I really hope they are as helpful for you as they were for me! xox
 
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7pm feeding and we are at 50ml for the day! OMG I am so happy! She is still fighting with the water but food has been so much better today. Plus we gave her a little washing as she was getting ripe smelling. She was fighting it at the start but I think she liked the feeling of not being dirty. Another progress was she nibbled very little on a piece of apple. She hasnt done that in a long while.


carrot_and_parsnip, ty for your email and I have emailed you back :)
 
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Here is an update from yesterdays vet visit. Ii is part of what I emailed to carrot_and_parsnip as she has been helping me so much with getting Willow well.

Willow seen a new vet at a new practice on 11/04/11.
She said by no means in her opinion should the other vets have suggested putting Willow to sleep. That she was strong and fighting and seemed like a happy piggy except for her tilt and weight loss. She is up to 440g (she was 430g friday, slowly but surely) and was very happy when I told her that Willow has had 75ml of food from 12am to 5pm and still wanted more. She gave her a steroid shot and some steroid tablets for the next 6 days.

Now the bad part, Willow is blind. We had assumed this already by the way she ran into things then learned where they were for when she was running around later. but the other 3 vets had said her eyes were fine and that she was just lethargic! The vet today said that her pupils dont dialate but that she seems to see shadows of sorts. She also said she thinks it was brain damage caused at birth from lack of oxygen, the poor little girl. We dont care, we would have saved her even if we had known this at the time of adopting we are just angry we were not told and that 3 vets missed it.

Also given that she hasnt been able to eat in the last 3 weeks her teeth were 2 weeks of growth too long. Even though the vet Friday said her teeth were fine sigh. So she trimed the top ones and sure enough for the first time tonight Willow had her beloved corn on the cob and a bit of mellon.

Last night and today we were trying to get Willow to eat some of the CC the vet gave us (2oz) until hers is delivered. She refused hardly eating anything, but when mixed with her pellet mush she would eat it. So we are on a mix of pellet mush and CC and she has had 50ML today.

Slowly, but surely..... and for some other news this morning at 7am she was eating with her head straight for the first time since we got her. Here is a bad picture of her this morning with her sweet potato mush. Dont worrry she doesn't get all that on the plate but she likes thinking she does :)

 

flips

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Awww.... great to see Willow eating and interested in food. You're doing a fab job and well done for persevering with the vets. :)
 

PiggiePal

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this is brilliant news. I just wanted to add that if you have ALL of your vets bills then you can take them into pets at home complain to the manager and they will have to refund you the money. It's disgusting the way they treat animals there. I'd suggest to take a strongly worded letter as well as the bills explaining exactly what you've had to go through to help willow. I would Also send this to pets at home head office. I would Also write a separate letter to the crap vets explaining exactly what has happened there and urging them to train in small animal vet care.
Well done for all you are doing for willow x x x
 

kedwards

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Hello

I've just been reading your thread and wanted to add what an amazing job you're doing! Love and healing thoughts to little Willow. Xx
 
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Just read your thread ... holding my breath all the way through! What wonderful caring owners you are! Sending love and smooshes from me and the furry crew. Come on Willow x>>
 
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