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Yet Another Issue With Luna

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Adult Guinea Pig
Sep 8, 2014
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hey guys. I've been hearing Luna crying alot while sitting in her cage and noticed when i go to check that it's definitely always when she's peeing. There's no blood (and a dip stick had proved negative for blood too). Her backside is also always covered in dried urine (Which is back the day after i wash her). The dip stick has indicated (small Leukocytes - infection) and a high positive for ketones and protein. I'm gunna phone tomorrow and hopefully get an appointment for tomorrow night or Friday (I have to take my sister to the hospital tomorrow during the day). If anyone had any ideas it would be appreciated. I thought maybe a UTI but that wouldn't explain the keytones and protein or the wet bum would it? I'm confused by these symptoms :S. cheers guys.
Sorry I can't advise, but I'm sending healing vibes Luna's way, poor girl!
I think the protein can be linked to Interstitial cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) so I would ask the vet to look into that. It would be a good idea to have a scan done so the vet can have a good look at the bladder. Not too sure on Ketones though. The test sticks are just a guide though and can throw a false reading.
Definitely a vets check up, maybe ask for an anti inflammatory Metacam to help with any pain and this will help any inflammation of the bladder wall too, if it is a suspected UTI and AB's do not seem to clear it up a scan would be recommended just to rule out anything like stones, unlikely but best to rule it out it this is an re-occurring problem. Healing vibes to Luna
Please make sure that your vet also considers a potential problem of the womb; the symptoms can present similarly to a cystitis and result in a wet bum.

Please wash the bum gently in hand warm water to prevent urine scald as long as the symtpoms persist.
Thanks so much guys. I thought I was quite good with piggy illnesses, but i've never even heard of them getting cystistitis. She has ovarian cysts if that might explain anything more? I've had coco for 5 years and she's never really had anything wrong with her, but wee Luna just seems to have had a combination of problems since I got her and I'm always in a state of confusion with her. I don't think she's ever been healthy. Sometimes i feel like theres something major wrong with her that i'm totally missing and shes an awful unhappy piggy, it's upsetting feeling. Aghh

She has the vets tomorrow morning, ill update you when i get back. :)
It could well be the cysts having an impact, they can encroach on other organs and make them leak urine too.
I'm so sorry to hear Luna is poorly (again) and that she has not really enjoyed the happy and healthy life you have worked hard to provide for her.

Although urine test strips have to be treated with caution for guinea pigs...I am concerned you have a positive ketone result.

Does her breath smell sweet (think pear drops). Has she reduced her food intake/lost weight in the last week? Is she drinking more water?

You say she has never really been well - what other problems has she had? Can you please give some more information on Luna - age/clinical history/normal and current weight/where you got her from/breed or appearance etc?

This information can really help us to help you.

I got her In february from a woman who had found in outside in a bin. I took her to the vets the next day.
One vet thought she was one year old but another told me she was at least 4 (so i have no idea)/she's Abyssinian
At this time she had bad dandruff that comes out in clumps with fur attatched and scabs.
ovarian cysts.
she had always had this breathing that i have never heard in a guinea pig before like a grunting snuffeling noise when like she cant breath through her nose and often a strange pigeon sound when she breathes.
she had always been quite snappy when you touch her.
She has pea eye and her eyes are very wattery.
She weighed about 800g but i was told she was malnourished because her nails were very thickened?

I have taken her to the vets at least 8 times and been told things like bathe her to sort her skin.
I was told to leave her cysts alone cause intervention usually isnt neccessary.
I was initially told that she had a minor uri but to come back if it got worse for medication (I took her back and the vet said she thinks this is simply a quirk?)
She still has all of these symptoms

now she is always covered in dried urine and is crying when she pees..
She is currently being treated with invermectin spot on (had her second dose a week ago) this doesnt seem to be doing anything for her skin
She has steadily gained weight since i got her & currently weighs 1,056g
She had been eating like a pig as usual and hasnt lost weight
I cant smell anything on her breath, but shes trying to snap at my face when i try lol
She seems a little lethargic too?
That is very helpful - thank you. I will need to digest this information as there are lot of significant observations that need to be put into context....which is not surprising given that she was rescued from a bin!

I think the best we can do to help is to provide a concerted "health plan" for Luna that you can take to a cavy savvy vet to follow through based upon the clinical history and current situation

I will provide a detailed reply tomorrow evening.

You mention steady weight gain (which in itself might be no bad thing) What was her original weight when you got her please?

Edit: To re-assure you - I think I already know what is going on...but want to think and do a bit of research to make sure. If it's what I think it is, it is nothing that can't be sorted over the next week or so and currently isn;t immediately life threatening...but you will need the intervention/co-operation of a good cavy savvy vet within the next fortnight to help her get well

I know you're in Scotland but can you please give us an indication of whereabouts? It might help us to identify a suitable vet for you
Best wishes
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Your a total star. I'm just completely lost.
she weighed about 800g when i got her, she now weighs 1,056g. :)

Thank you, i appreciate your help so much.
OK - I'm going to go out on a limb here but the weight gain info tends to confirm what I am thinking.

I think she is a heart pig...because
a) she has put on weight (due to collecting fluid within her body -possibly abdomen rather than lungs) ....
b) her immune system is compromised hence the hair coming out in scabs (suggesting a fungal infection)...
c) the thickened and potentially friable nails also suggests combined fungal/.heart issues
d)) the breathing sounds also indicate heart issues
e) the pea eye is also indicative of heart issues

I am now too tired tonight to write up the careplan/meds etc...please bear with me I will do it tomorrow.

If she is eating, drinking and pooing happily atm you have no need to worry.....this is not an emergency but does need proper attention soon.
Also -heart piggies can have a wonderful life....the trick is to get them diagnosed and on meds within a reasonable time-frame before it gets too bad.
I am happy that this is an early stage diagnosis so very positive on outcome.


Obviously I am not a vet...and I wish to stress you can ONLY get a definitive diagnosis and treatment from a vet.
In my post tomorrow I will hopefully give you further information to enable a dialogue with your vet to get the best results for Luna
I actually cant thank you enough for your help. For the first time since she's been with me I feel like something makes sense.
She is eating, pooping and peeing fine. Although she is in discomfort when she is peeing she is still doing so

I will keep a very close eye on her and make sure she continues to do so.
I'm unsure whether to reschedule her appointment for saturday morning if she is crying when she's peeing and has a wet bum?
Do you think she will be ok until then? I would rather wait and go with all the information and can maybe get this all sorted once and for all if possible.

P.s. so sorry for keeping you up!
I would not reschedule the Sat appt ...I will; try and get something else to you tomorrow.
However I'm happy for you to print out my above post anyway and take it to your vet if it helps the dialgoue.
In the meantime I would urge you to study this article and print out ALL the info (and most importantly the linked Xray images in the case histories) for your vet.
Look at Amanda Davies case history.

The best outcome from a vets appt on sat will be an Xray to check her urinary system for stones (crying when weeing) but also to check her heart/lungs (which should be able to be taken in the same shot)

She will need a whiff of gas for the Xray but given her young age, and provided your vet is experienced, it shouldn't be a problem and will provide the vet with the right info to give her the meds she needs.

If you are at all doubtful about the cavy-competence of your current vet..I suggest you save your money and go to Glenn at Apex in Falkirk.

P.S. Thanx for the concern - it's not often we get comments like this and it IS appreciated.
Rest assured..I am a night owl so no problem about keeping me up!
Ok, I have an appt at 10 past 5 this evening. The vets I am going to is part of a branch but is one of the smaller ones and I do not think they have Xray facilities. I am expecting for them to ask me to go to their large vet hospital tomorrow morning so they are able to do an xray if all goes well.

Just trying to sort all the info in my head properly so I can explain clearly what's going on and all that you guys have said so I don't ramble like a wierdo and make no sense :crazy: haha
Gunna print parts of this and the guinea lynx info out just now.
I've actually now noticed a few things that she does that are apparently heart signs that I have always laughed at before thinking she was just a silly pig. Ah dear.
I'll message back tonight. x
This is how I would approach my vets with Luna if she were my pig

Step 1 – investigate/treat wee/pain/wet bum

Likely urinary issue – could be infection, interstitial cystitis or bladder sludge/stone. I would also want to rule out cystic ovaries were not cause of/contributing to the symptoms (especially since no blood in urine)

NB wet bum could also indicate arthritis developing in hind legs and it is painful for her to lift herself up to wee cleanly

I would take in a fresh urine sample to be examined microscopically and also re-tested via dipstick by the vet themselves (hopefully this will also rule the previous ketone result as a false positive otherwise diabetes might need to be considered

My vets would palpate to see if they could feel any stones and then suggest Xray of kidneys/urinary system for stones/sludge. I’d ask them to include hind legs to rule out arthritis. I’d ask them to re-check cystic ovaries for cyst enlargement (by palpation – might not be possible to see anything on Xray)

Step 2 Investigate other symptoms for possible underlying heart or kidney issues

Symptoms include additional weight gain, breathing noises (hooting), lethargy, possible proteinuria, pea eye.Other signs to check her for include swollen front paws/pads, slight blue-grey tinge to her lips and/or ears (if normally pink otherwise difficult to see!)

I would therefore ask the vet to include an additional Xray plate (if necessary) to check heart and lungs.....also to rule out that fluid accumulation has been responsible for the weight gain which would otherwise indicate heart or kidney issues

Steps 1 & 2would be covered with one set of Xrays/visit

Hopefully by this time we would have diagnosis and treatment for both sets of symptoms. However if things still weren’t clear

Step 3 – Possible ultrasound
My vet might also suggest a possible ultrasound to check cystic ovaries do not require treatment (cysts may have grown larger hence weight gain or there may be another underlying problem connected with the reproductive system) and to identify any sludge/thickening of the bladder wall

Step 4 – Blood tests
Taking blood under GA is quite a risky procedure in a guinea especially if the vet has not had much experience so for many piggie owners this is an option of last resort. It is however the best source of information on hearth and kidney function. It can also show up other underlying conditions such as diabetes, infection, inflammation and cancers. As my vets are very experienced we normally take bloods at the same time of the first Xrays to avoid a second visit/GA
If the ketone test is positive again, you may wish to consider getting bloods done at the same time as the Xrays

Step 5 Skin condition/general health

I would be hoping the skin condition is now clearing up with the second dose of Xeno. However as already stated, you may need to consider a fungal treatment as well such as imaverol dip. 48hours after the next xeno treatment (you should be treating all your piggies that are in contact with each other) then bathe them in vetsect or lyclear shampoo, rinse off thoroughly followed by syringing on the imaverol and leaving it to dry

Provide extra Vit C to boost the immune system

Thorough disinfection of everything the piggies have come into contact with is vital to help break the life cycle of the mite (but also get rid of fungal spores)

Johnsons insecticidal cage spray works on hard surfaces to kill the mites. Be warned it contains permethrins so this should be done outdoors away from any pets (especially cats) Neither you nor your pets should breathe in the spray. Leave it on for 30mins (and I then wash it off).

F10 disinfectant works against fungal spores and is also antibacterial. After the insecticidal treatment has been wahed off, Spray it on and leave it to dry – it won’t harm the piggies.

Fabrics would be hand-soaked in F10 and rinsed out thoroughly. Then washed at 60degC or higher with a biological washing powder..I would also include the peroxide powder (Vanish) in with the load...then tumble dry.

I would throw out/replace anything wooden.

Step 6 –Last gasp!
If the skin condition hasn’t cleared up by this time I would also be discussing with the vet whether to give a round of ivermectin injections (for the mites) and/or an oral antifungal (such as itrafungol)

Not all heart conditions show upon Xray or via stethoscope – with Alan Maggots, my vet had to subsequently do an echocardiogram which showed endocarditis (damage to heart valve resulting from a past infection) The only symptoms he had were poor abdominal breathing, slight cyanosis to the lips and lethargy. Treatment is the same as for other heart conditions (diuretic and heart meds such as fortekor and/or pimobendan)

Phew - think that's everything. Good luck tomorrow. Hopefully a good palpation (feel of her body), a decent set of Xrays and microscopic analysis of the urine are all that will be required to enable diagnosis and treatment.
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OK, i'm back from the vet. New vet this time.
I managed to explain everything in the above posts clearly and said everything I feel was important. I even bummed yous all up saying you ran a guinea pig sanctuary, lol.

1) The vet examined her skin and described it as "very suspicious and painful looking" he also said that he believes that she has a fungal issue in her feet and nails. He advised me to continue with the final Xeno spot on on Thursday. He provided me with saline solution to wash her feet and back with and Surolan Ear and Skin cream and rub this into the most scabby patches of her skin and into her feet.

2) He examined her vulva and abdomen and discharge dribbled out and her vulva is covered in crusty discharge (i feel ashamed for not noticing this) and he believes that concidering this, the wet bum that she definitely had interstitial cystitis and possibly a UTI. I have been given Batril tablets (1/3 once a day) and told to use the saline solution to wash her vulva also and to apply the Surolan Ear and Skin cream to her vulva once I have dried it and a painkiller (Metacam).

3) He listened to both sides of her heart and her lungs using a stethoscope and said that her heart sounded "good and strong" but he did agree that her grunty, hooting breathing and pea eye could be linked to cardiovasular disease.

I have been advised to follow through with the treatments given and return to him once all of these treatments are completed which will take several weeks before any further intervention.

What are your thoughts guys? Does this sound like a good result? xxxxxx
Nothing wrong per se in what has been recommended (surolan contains antibacterial, antifungal and steroidal meds and has been used traditionally to treat guinea pigs with skin and ear infections but better more effective products are now available

The paws/nails/vulva treatment would suggest that Luna is suffering from urine scald (sitting in her own wee) and that the inflamed area may or ma7y not be infected hence the application of the surolan. Personally I would be somewhat worried about putting a cream containing steroids on to the vulva for any length of time as there ar elong term effects of actually preventing the skinfrom healing and making it paper thin.
It also appears the vet is just dealing with the infectious agents (mites, fungal and the UTI) before wishing to address the more substantial underlying issues.

The approach of this vet is rather cautious (and traditional) in providing the most minimally invasive and least costly approach (and labour intensive treatment plan for the owner where the treatment also may take far longer to achieve a result than other types of more modern treatment)
Also surprised you have baytril tablets rather ta the oral suspension

You can continue to follow the vets instructions but I wouldn't expect a rapidly perked up Luna any time soon - and all the while her underlyihg issues such as heart condition remain undiagnosed and untreated they will progress.

Personally I would try the treatment and see what happens but if no progress within 4 days I would be finding a vet who has more up to date knowledge about diagnosing and treating guinea pigs.


Whereabouts are you in Scotland?
He was an older man, and tbh, your description of him is exactly what I thought. and did seem reluctant to address the breathing issues.
I asked for an oral suspension because it's what I always get but he assured me that it was just as effective and that I should crush the tablet and mix it with water and syringe feed her it. :S he even sad that he has experienced problems with oral suspension but didn't elaborate.

The only time i have ever heard of Surolan is because I know dogs get it as ear drops for ear infections and I was concerned about putting it on her. I'm supposed to do this twice daily but the script does not state how long the treatment should go on for so I'll have to phone back tomorrow.

I'm sterilising her cage and going to give her a bath to soak her bum & put her back in her cage until she's dry before i start the treatment tonight.

Yeah, i was amazed by the price. Just the Invermectin cost me £55 the other week and I was only charged £27.15 for all of this today. I'd expected to spend alot more than that even before xray.

I live in Glasgow, I'll see how this goes over the next while and start looking into something else if this doesn't go well.

I cant believe i let her get a urine scald. I feel like such a cow :/
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