Guinea Pigs/sickness

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Question
I have a GP female about 4 yrs. old. She just recently lost her cage mate. She was always underwieght but active. Recently she appears to be unable to stand sometimes laying on her side moving her feet as if she is trying to get and can not. Other times she appears to have no problem. She is eating and drinking, however she feels lighter in weight. She is not purring or squeaking.

Answer
Janis, this is a very bad sign. At 4 yrs old she is a senior and from what you're saying she is telling you she has reached the end of her time. Sadly, guinea pigs do not live nearly long enough. The average life span is only 4 to 5 years. There are exceptions of course, but generally speaking a pig of 5 is considered old.

There is nothing you can do to change the inevitable. The first sign is almost always weight loss. Their body functions are starting to give out. The kidneys and liver are typically the first to fail. I'm so sorry I have nothing in the way of good news for you, but you trusted me to give you an honest answer and that's what I have to do even when the answer is not one of great hope.

She will soon join her cage mate is she has not already by the time you read this. My best to you. I wish I had something more positive to give you.

Guinea Pigs

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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