Here I sit in my living room, my feet up, laptop appropriately on my lap, and a little bundle of fluff at my side. I'm tired, my back aches a bit, and it's another 90° day so I'm warmer than I'd like to be. To say that all these issues were caused by a certain little big-eyed, squeaky fluff would be a bit of an exageration, after all guinea pigs don't control the weather, but it's not too far off from the truth.
It all began two weeks ago. My littlest guinea pig, the adorable agouti Pocky with her great big eyes, didn't eat much of her parsley. It was the last bit of an older bunch, and some of the other piggies didn't eat it all right away (Archie decided to decorate his cage with parsley leaf confetti). After all the others had eaten their breakfast remainders, she still didn't finish it, and didn't eat all of the lettuce that was offered for dinner. Pocky did snatch up the baby carrot presented to her and ate it all. I've had a piggy get into a mood where they don't eat as much as they normally do for a day, and seem to sit around in a ponderous mood, but they always go back to normal after a day or so, so I didn't think too much of it.
The next day Pocky still didn't eat much of her fresh greens, and apparently hadn't been eating much of her pellets or hay. I offered her carrot and bell pepper and lettuce throughout the day, which she'd only consume small amounts of. She had no interest in her hay or pellets at all. There is a good small animal vet nearby, but they're closed on Sundays so all I could do was keep a close eye on my piggy and wait. I was deeply vexed. She sat all puffed up in her pigloo all day, and didn't emerge for hay or drag her small pellet dish into the pigloo as she normally did. She was bright-eyed and alert and wasn't lethargic, so that was a good sign. I cuddled with her in bed watching tv til around 2 am. I was honestly afraid she wouldn't survive til morning.
At around 6 am I woke up, probably due to my obnoxious neighbors. I had to go check on my little girl. I quietly went up to her cage, sat on the floor cushion in front of it, and took a deep breath as I looked at her pigloo. I lifted it up, and to my relief I saw the pale morning light glimmer off her big bright eyes as her nose perked up at me. I scooped her up and held her close to my chest for a few minutes before going back to bed. (I go to bed late, so I get up late). When I got up again, I put Pocky on my lap and offered her some parsley. Her nose perked up at it, but she ate only the tiniest nibble. We offered a baby carrot, but she only ate about half of it, leaving little bits behind. I could see the situation was becoming dire. A call to the vet was made, they were closing within the hour but they would see her. I made the hastiest exit in my life and we took her there right away. The vet was in surgery, so he wasn't able to see her right away, so we had to leave here there. They checked her vitals, Pocky's temperature was good and she was still very alert and perky so that was positive. We just had to go home and wait til the vet was free to see her. After a few hours we got a call, they'd been syringe feeding Pocky to get her some food and fluids. They looked in her mouth and didn't see anything wrong with her teeth. There was a bit of gas in her tummy, so they gave her some treatment for her gut. The vet said that they'd call me again and I should be ble to take her home later in the afternoon. It may be just a gut upset, but if she didn't regain her appetite I'd have to take her back for bloodwork or a more thorough examination of her teeth.
We brought Pocky home with some Critical Care dry mix, some acidophilus tablets for her gut, and an appetite stimulant called reglan. For the next few days I fed her the Critical Care mush through a syringe and gave her the medications along with plenty of cuddles, but still she didn't want to eat on her own, so back to the vet we went. They did some bloodwork, and we waited a day for the results. Pocky didn't have any kidney or liver problems, but she did have a low white blood cell count which is indicative of an infection. Some antibiotics were added to the regimen of oral treatments.
"I said I'm not hungry!" says the grumpy Pocky-chan during one of her syringe feedings.
I have to mention that the Wednesday before all this occured, my boyfriend had surgery on his wrist. It was a minor procedure, but it left him with his right arm in a cast. That meant that the man who previously was happy to do dishes since I cooked dinner, and who helped me clean the guinea pig cages daily, was largely incapacitated. A little extra work on my part, but I shrugged it off, no big deal. Now I had two invalids to care for, cutting up steak for one and syringe feeding the other. I fed Pocky every four hours or so, which wasn't the easiest thing since she really wasn't too fond of it. It quickly became tiring.
Though all of this, Pocky remained chipper and in good spirits. Her eyes were bright, her nose twitched with interest at foods she then decided she didn't want to eat. The two vet trips showed her temperature was good and daily weighings made sure that her weight stayed stable. I cuddled her multiple times a day. After a few days of the antibiotics, little Pocky's appetite began to improve. She ate small amounts of parlsey in the morning, she emerged from her pigloo to lounge in her litter tray throughout the day. She began to squeak and cluck happily when I cuddled her. Overall, she seemed in a much better mood. As she still had no desire to eat hay or pellets and her front teeth came together at an angle, we brought Pocky to the vet for another visit. Her teeth were filed down a bit, and another examination with an otoscope showed that her molars were in good shape. The vet was inclined to believe that her issue wasn't with her teeth, her total lack of appetite pointed to nausea rather than a toothache, and since she'd shown progress after starting the antibiotics it supported the idea of a low-grade infection being the cause of her problems. She gave me an estimate on a dental exam, but said that it was a good idea to let her have the rest of the antibiotics before subjecting Pocky to another treatment.
So here I am, still syringe feeding and giving medicines to my cute little girl piggy. My boyfriend has had the stitches removed from his wrist, the cast came off and he's able to help me out. I started a new job, which will be a great help in paying off these vet bills. A lot of tears, time and effort have been put forth for my little Pocky-chan, and I can only hope that this treatment will work and that she'll be better soon.