Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Guinea Pig Update

Ok, well.  First off, it's harder than you think to find a vet who will see guinea pigs.  I assumed that the place right in Petsmart where they sell all these small animals could see her, but it turns out they must just want you to buy a new one if yours gets sick.  But we had a place recommended to us by two different veterinary practices, so that's where I took Emma today. 

The people there were very nice and while I was there I saw someone bring in two ferrets and I heard someone else calling to make an appointment for a turtle.  Emma was definitely a bit worse today.  Her head is cocked to the right side and her balance didn't seem good.  They weighed her and took her temperature first.  She weighs two wittle pounds and her temp was 100.7 which is apparently normal for a guinea pig.  (And no, I didn't see them do it so I can't report on how you take a guinea pig's temperature.) 

We went back to the exam room where the nice vet lady checked her out.  Unfortunately, the nice vet lady is allergic to guinea pigs, but she hung in there with a minimum of sneezing.  I dutifully reported that we had given both guinea pigs a bath for the first time on Saturday.  (We've had them for six months and they don't smell at all.  But we were out of town for 5 days and their litter was overdue for a change so they were a wee bit stinky.  Hence, the bath.)  It appears that some soap or water got down into her ear canal and has caused the problem.  She couldn't get a good look in Emma's right ear and the canal is super narrow, but the fact that she let us look in her left ear with no complaint kind of sealed the deal. 

I'd pretty much expected that diagnosis.  But the vet also wanted to check her right eye.  It turns out that when they have that head tilt, they end up dragging that side of their face along the litter and sure enough, Emma had an ulcerated cornea as a result.  To check this, just like with a person, she put a little stain in her eye and then looked at it with a black light.

Sooooooo, now she needs antibiotic ointment for her eye (twice a day) and a generalized oral liquid antibiotic for her ear (twice a day) and since the antibiotic destroys the important bacteria she needs in her intestines for digestion, I also have to give her an oral probiotic: acidophilus (twice a day).  Turns out the acidophilus comes in little capsules that you have to open up and dissolve in a tiny bit of water and give her with a syringe.  Oh, and there has to be a 45 minute window of time between the probiotic and the antibiotic.  Oh, and she should just be on a soft towel instead of the aspen bedding so she doesn't injure her eye any further. 

Sooooooo, I paid $115 at the vet for the visit and the meds, then I drove to Petsmart and spent $35 on a new, small cage and another water bottle so that I can keep her separate from Spots and in a controlled and safe environment.  I already put ointment on her eye (not real popular as you might guess) and gave her one dose of acidophilus (which she yumphed right down, thank goodness).   Now I'm waiting until noon so I can administer the antibiotic.

Being the good Jewish girl that I am, I am actually okay about the money spent and  the next week or so playing Guinea Pig Nurse.  It almost balances out the guilt I feel at nearly killing the poor thing in the name of hygiene.


momdeplume said...

I do recall Ritu laughing heartily about someone putting his guinea pig in a piggie ICU.  He's probably not laughing quite so hard today.  The trouble with pets is that you get so damn attached to them...maybe we should all try to grow mosquitos.  I wouldn't get so attached to a bug, I think.

Meanwhile, who ever heard of anyone being allergic to a guinea pig?

mazeway said...

ACTUally (she said in her know-it-all-oldest-child-voice),  guinea pigs are a pretty common allergen.  Many people allergic to cats are also trouble by piggies.  Glad your gal is doing okay.  I just took two of our foster pigs to the  vet to be neutered.  I have to drive 40 min to a vet that's any good with the piggies.  You might could through some Carefresh on top of that Aspen, making a softer less eye-scratchy surface.  It also is awesome for keeping smell down.  I find it too expensive for a whole pen, but I do aspen on the bottom and carefresh on top.  And I know way more than I ever thought I would about guinea pigs.  And hamsters, mice, gerbils...rodents R us.

indy1016 said...

Thanks, Deana!  We do use a combination of the aspen and the carefresh already, so that's a good idea to use in her little cage for now.  I kind of like having her in her own little sickbay so I can tell what she's eaten etc.

foilhat16 said...

Poor little piggy.  Timmy was wildly allergic to our pigs.  His eyes would swell shut if he just touched one.  Hope Emma is better soon.

soappope said...

Glad Emma is doing so well.

Janet, Janet, Janet.....  Tell me you do NOT wear pointy shoes around the pig.  Please tell me no......