- Supporter in '14
She has had a rough summer. My daughter and year old grandson moved in with us for two months. Her usual quiet household was turned upside down with strange noises and sounds. His play area was in the living room behind the girls' cage. She has been more timid since she lost her sight to cataracts and things seem to scare her more easily. She has always been a piggy that saw Monsters on occasion. On top of this she lost her sister to a massive tumor July 25th. Now her companion and support of over six years is gone.
I have had her to the vet several times and here are some of the health concerns that may also be affecting her weight. Her teeth look good.
- Ovarian cysts (Not the type that cause hair loss, crusty nipples, etc. Really no symptoms. They were felt when she had her wellness check. She doesn't even rumble any more now her sister is gone.
- She has a very small bladder stone. She passed a large one and smaller one about two months ago.
- Her X-ray shows she has Spondylosis in her back. Could this be a source of pain causing her to be less active?
- Arthritis in her knees which may affect her activity level.
She begs for her greens and pepper but hasn't been as thrilled about hay and pellets so I made some changes. I hope they work. She loves critical care and licks it from a dish so I just started supplementing with ground pellets mixed with critical care and warm water. She gets this three times a day. I soak some hay which she loves. I also just started her on Metacam in case she is in pain. It has only been a couple of days with these changes but she is more active already and her weight is starting to climb a little. I was giving her some critical care before but not enough to make a difference. She is in a 2 x 4 cage but wouldn't venture to the other side of the cage. I brought the ends in a little so there is not such a great distance between houses. This seems to really help her feel more secure and I notice she is exploring the whole cage now. I put little piles of hay around to encourage her.
Any other suggestions to make a senior piggy's life more comfortable would be appreciated. She will be 6 1/2 next month. I hope the extra pellets and critical care don't contribute to stone formation but I am looking for quality of life for now. I just want her to gain some weight and feel better.
I am happy to hear she likes the foods you are giving her. It might be worth getting in the routine of weighing her daily so you catch any weight loss right away. I think you're doing a great job.
- Supporter in '14
The mixture I am giving Abbey is 1 tsp. of ground Oxbow pellets plus 1/2 tsp. Critical Care and 20 mls of warm water. It ends up being a total of 20 mls of mixture. She gets this amount three times a day. It seems like a lot to give at one time but Abbey licks it up on her own. Towards the end I clean the dish with my finger and she licks that off. Is 20 mls too much to give her at one time? I like her eating the mash because without drinking any other water she is getting 60 mls. per day. She still drinks from her water bottle.
The other question I have is about Metacam. She is doing so well tonight so I want to continue giving her a daily dose. I haven't seen her this active in quite awhile. Is long term Metacam okay for her kidneys? She is only getting 0.08 mls every 24 hours.
I will weigh her daily. She gained 10 grams last night and another 10 grams tonight. I hope the trend continues.
I think some guinea pigs are on Metacam log term. It sounds like a smaller dose? (need concentration and weight of guinea pig - www.guinealynx.info/calculate_dose.html ) Your vet could give you a better answer on the kidney question than I could (would depend on her health - but it is always a trade-off and I tend toward mitigating pain).
You are more than welcome to send me any xrays you can get that show this condition. They could be helpful to future readers.
So far everything seems ok as far as kidney/liver problems go.
As far as the metacam. I have given it for chronic pain, such as arthritis, and it did help. What my problem was is if the treatment lasted more than a few days, it seemed to upset their tummy. Some pigs can be on it for extended periods just fine and others can't. Some people can take vicodin after surgery and it helps them, I get sick as a dog. If her eating habits change in a negative way you could try lowering the dose or alternating treatment days with non treatment days and see how she does - of course consult your vet about that. If you still have trouble, Tramadol is always an option.
- Supporter in '14
GrannyJu1: First of all thank you for your kind words on Zoe's thread. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and understanding in the loss of our little piggy. I checked the strength of the Metacam I have. It looks like it is 3 times stronger than what you have. It is 1.5 mg/mL so that is why her dose is so low. I am glad you haven't seen any problems with long term use.
Clint The Cuy: First of all I am sorry for your loss. After just losing a pig I understand how hard it is. Thanks for your information. I looked up her X-rays and was wondering if the darker area on her spine was where the problem was? I am giving Abbey her Metacam on a full stomach to see if that will help with any digestive issues. So far she is okay. She is on a low dose but I will monitor her for any changes in her eating habits or stool. I like your idea of alternating treatment days. She has had a dose the last three days. I may skip today and see how she is tomorrow. I also started supplementing her with the pellet/critical care mash at the same time so it is hard to know if it is the Metacam or maybe the increase in water and Vitamin C. Oxbow Critical Care has about 20 mg. of Vitamin C per teaspoon so she is getting an extra 30 mg. of Vitamin C per day. That in itself might be helping.
- You can quote me
We've had pigs on arthritis-level dosages of Metacam for years with no ill effects. A few pigs have reacted badly to it, and for those we have used Rimadyl (carprofen).
CtC -- do you see carprofen used in practice as frequently as it used to be? It's worked well for ours if they could not tolerate Metacam, but did not need to step up to Tramadol.
- Supporter in '14
Another factor that may be affecting her activity level is summer. Abbey has never done well in the summer even though we have air conditioning. Windows open at night create new scary sounds, people coming and going and different routines seem to throw her off especially since she has lost her sight. We have had the longest, hottest, and driest summer in British Columbia this year and it is not over yet. It has also been the busiest. I think once Fall comes and we get cooler nights, shorter days and no company we will all perk up a little. I know I will.
I was also wondering if anyone may have used adequan in these cases? I have heard of its use in guinea pigs, but I did not know if there was any literature on it now. I do know that in horses the protocol has changed to one loading dose (one dose every 4 days for 7 doses) every 6 months, instead of the loading dose followed by a single dose each month for maintenance. The monthly doses did not seem to maintain the therapeutic levels of the loading dose. Would be an interesting option in some of these cases.
Also, has anyone ever heard of treatment with firocoxib in a guinea pig? I am having a difficult time finding anything about it, but maybe someone has had experience with it? Just curious.
- Supporter in '14
I am still supplementing her with a ground pellet/critical care mixture 3 time a day but this week she wasn't as interested in it. I am not sure how many more heat cycles I will let her suffer through. Once her cycle is over she perks up a little and her weight and appetite increases but she still sits most of the day. I think she is a little more active during the night because most mornings I see poops all around the cage and the hay piles are flattened. She has developed a sort of blister on her right foot. It hasn't opened up so her vet suggested soaking it in a saline solution for now. I am sure it has developed because she is so inactive.
She is on Metacam for pain but the dose isn't enough so we are going to increase it. I don't want to give her too much and creative digestive issues so would appreciate some advice on how much. Her vet looked up the new recommendations and she can have up to 0.3 ml every 24 hours. Her suspension is Meloxicam 1.5 mg/ml. As of yesterday I am giving her 0.1 ml in the evening. Should I ask the vet about dividing the dose into two doses per 24 hours instead of the one dose? How much have others found their pigs can tolerate? Any advice on keeping my old girl comfortable would be appreciated.