My guinea pig has recently lost a lot of weight (you can feel her backbone), has developed a bald spot on her neck, and

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Customer: My guinea pig has recently lost a lot of weight (you can feel her backbone), has developed a bald spot on her neck, and is drinking a lot more water than is normal for her. She is about 4 years old, has a diet of dry food, Timothy Hay, and fresh veggies daily. I switched to shredded news paper over a year ago for the bedding in the cage. She is still eating her food but does not run around as much as she use to. I have had her to the vet once already this week and she is going back tomorrow to be monitored all day. The vet has already checked for mites and parasites with more testing being done tomorrow. The vet gave her a shot for parasites just in case and sent me home with some antibiotic to give her. I was just wondering if anyone had any idea what I could be dealing with here because right now my vet doesn't know and I am scared.
Answered by Anna in 6 mins 10 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,046 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Dog Veterinary, Cat Veterinary, Bird Veterinary, Reptile Veterinary, Exotic Animal Veterinary

Welcome to JustAnswer! I am a licensed veterinarian and specialist and would be glad to help!

I am quite worried here about the drinking of more water and weight loss.

What I would strongly recommend - see your veterinarian.

Bloodwork is needed.

Check the kidneys, blood sugar, and other important lab values.

There must be an underlying cause here - and that is what we need to diagnose - to determine why she is losing weight and drinking so much water.

If you do not have a preferred veterinarian, this link below will help you find an exotic species veterinarian - LINK HERE
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I see that you have already seen your vet. some additional information may help me give you some suggestions for what to have your vet check.

Feel under your guinea pig's chin and around the mouth, is it damp or caked with saliva?

Do the droppings have bits of undigested food in them?

How is his appetite?

Does he seem to be urinating more than usual?

Did your vet do bloodwork or take any x-rays?

Thank you.


Anna- Her chin is not damp and I have not seen any undigested food in her droppings. Her appetite is normal as far as I can tell and I don't think she is urinating more than usual. The vet told me that they might be doing bloodwork and/or x-rays tomorrow depending on what a urinalysis reveals.
Thank you. One of the most common causes of weight loss in guinea pigs is a dental problem. Often, but not always, there will be wetness around the mouth/chin. You'll definitely want your vet to check for a dental problem. The problems occur above the gum line and can only be detected by x-ray. Dental problems are very common in guinea pigs. The following links will give you details on guinea pig teeth and what can go wrong.

Weight loss and excessive drinking can be caused by an endocrine imbalance, such as diabetes. That can be detected through bloodwork if the appropriate tests are done. Kidney disease is another possibility, but I'm sure your vet will test for that.

Less likely, but still possible, is cancer. It can first show up as weight loss. Don't worry about that until after you've tested for everything else.

If you'd like to get a second opinion from a guinea pig-savvy vet, This link will take you to a directory of guinea pig/rabbit vets:

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Wilbur will reach a full recovery.


Anna- Thank you for your help. My guinea pigs are my babies. I just hope my vet can find an answer and a treatment so that Wilbur will have the best life for whatever length of time she is to be here for.
I hope so, too.

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