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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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My lovely guinea pig has died and I am devastated. He died

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My lovely guinea pig has died and I am devastated. He died 3 days ago. About just under 3 months ago he sounded a little snuffly not all the time just occasionally. Apart from that there was no problem and the snuffles subsided over two weeks, however he developed over time a horseness when he was weeking for food and attention, occasionally he would make choking noises or cough when he was eating. Again this was not all the time and he seemed well. He was very active, great diet, kept inside plenty of exercise, lots of love and not quite 3 years old. There was no discharge from his eyes or nose.
As time went on I took him to see the vet. she said his heart and lungs were clear listening via stethoscope. She couldn't see anything in his mouth/throat, prescribed an antimucolytic and sent him home. Two weeks later I noticed he was losing a lot of weight and had become very thin. He was still well but thin and his poo had become very small and sometimes very soft.
We went back and he was prescribed Baytril 2.5% 0.4 mls twice a day and critical care food. Vet thought he may have a chronic infection. the next couple of days he ate loads himself fresh and dried food and looked to be putting on weight so he didn't get much of the prescribed food. He seemed more like his old self. The only worry was one eye looked smaller that the other. The following day I went down to him in the morning and he looked terrible, his fur was fluffed up, he was cold and although he responded to me when he tried to walk he kept going to the side and his back legs were failing. I wrapped him up in my dressing gown and softly stoked and kissed him. He wouldn't eat. He became very floppy and had no tone at all within two hours he had a fit made some noise as if he were choking and died in my arms very shortly after. Do you have any ideas of why he died and what caused it please? Looking back there were signs that he hadn't been well for a little while. his fur didn't seem as glossy, he had slightly less energy, stools were slightly smelly and he liked to be cuddled which wasn't normally his preferred thing. The night before he died I also thought his breath had a funny smell. He has a cage made who is well.

I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

It sounds like he had an infection that went to his brain. We call this encephalitis. As for what the infection was, that could be one of many things. My guess is that it was some type of fungal disease. These are commonly going to be only partially responsive to antibiotics and then they can progress.

These are very difficult to diagnose in guinea pigs- we really need a CT scan and CSF tap. It's also difficult to treat as we need months on an anti-fungal and sometimes steroids. These little guys just don't tolerate much stress or disease.

I'm sorry again for your loss, I know you did all you could for him.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Would you have any idea how he might have picked up a fungal infection as he lived with a mate who is well and Lived inside and had cage cleaned two to three times a week? . Could he have picked it up from a human? Also do you think the antibiotics could have been detrimental as I'm worrying they may have caused toxicity?
We don't typically know where the infection came from. It may have been a fungal organism in the environment or a fungal organism that normally lives on or in the body that over-multiplied.

The antibiotic is what I would have used as well, Baytril. It is not toxic at all, and it's the most common first line treatment for many bacterial infections in guinea pigs.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX get my other Guinea pig checked over at the vets is there any way of telling if he might become unwell with the same thing?Lastly do you think encephalitis would have caused him to suffer a stroke which maybe what eventually killed him. You have been most helpful. Thank you.
No, I don't think you need to get the other one checked. Unless they're showing signs, you're not going to pick this up.

I don't think it was a stroke in the end, but the inflammation around and in the brain throws off normal brain activity leading to death.
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