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Samuel Peck
Samuel Peck,
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 306
Experience:  Associate Veterinarian at Meadow Hill's
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My Guinea pig has lost weight, she won't eat and she isn't

Customer Question

My Guinea pig has lost weight, she won't eat and she isn't moving. She's really weak
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help your guinea pig. What is the guinea pig's name and age?
Customer: Ellie, she turned two today.
JA: How old is Ellie?
Customer: Two. It's her birthday
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Ellie?
Customer: Her eyes seem a little watery. She's breathing really heavy
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Pet
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She's really weak. When turned on her back she couldn't flip herself back over. She lives with her mother and her mother seems fine.
Expert:  Samuel Peck replied 5 months ago.

Greetings, I'm Dr. Peck, a small animal veterinarian in general practice. This is very concerning in a guinea pig. Unfortunately, it is common for them to develop pneumonia. To be safe I'd suggest separating her from any other guinea pigs. You'll want to keep her very calm and quiet. Offer her favorite fresh produce treats. If you have a humidifier or vaporizer that may be of some benefit, or you could steam up a bathroom with a hot shower running. I would get her in to a veterinarian as soon as possible, likely to get her on an antibiotic. If you have a local clinic that sees emergencies, or an on-call vet available, this abnormal breathing and this degree of lethargy warrants seeking emergent evaluation in person.

Expert:  Samuel Peck replied 5 months ago.

I've opened it up for rating. Please, kindly rate using the stars as this is the only way experts on this site receive credit for helping with questions. Thank you.

I am happy to continue discussing if you have further followup questions, simply write me back.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
If I don't have money for the vet what can I do for her? I'm really scared. I tried giving her a carrot that she won't eat. Could she be stressed out? I brought a cat into the house a few months ago, could this be a cause of it? I try really hard to get them farm fresh hay and pellets that are good for them. Her mother is still eating but should I be concerned about her as well?
Expert:  Samuel Peck replied 5 months ago.

If possible at the least I would try to get her in for an exam and get her started on an antibiotic if the vet feels it's warranted, which seems likely to me. I know in my clinic we charge less for exotic animals exams because 1) we don't see them often and thus our experience/expertise is limited compared to dogs/cats and 2) their examination can often be more limited depending on the breed. You would be looked at a very minor charge for some baytril (antibiotic) liquid mixed with a little cherry syrup for flavor (most guinea pigs love). If this isn't doable consider Care Credit to help with costs. Unfortuantely I've seen a lot of guinea pigs with respiratory infections, including a personal one that I owned... it is common and can be quite serious. I would separate the mother yes but if no clinical signs just monitor for now.

Expert:  Samuel Peck replied 5 months ago.

You should be looking at definitely less than $100 total for an exam and antibiotic for a guinea pig in most areas.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Do you have any suggestions as to where to bring her? I just don't want to bring her in to end up getting a $500 bill that I can't afford as selfish as that sounds
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I live in New York. Would I be able to bring her to you?
Expert:  Samuel Peck replied 5 months ago.

I would suggest calling local clinics and asking for a quote for their examination/consultation fee for a guinea pig, and if they have veterinarians that see guinea pigs. Any general practitioner that sees guinea pigs likely won't be running up a bill like that in this situation, an exotic specialist would be another scenario. But, especially with cost being a concern, just let them know that up front you want to keep the care conservative / minimalistic... honestly for exotics this is common / typical, at least in my area - people are much more willing to spend more money on a dog they'll have for 15 years compared to a "pocket" pet like a guinea pig. You let your vet know what level of care you would like for your pet.

Look for somewhere that is AAHA accredited and you'll be in good shape (AAHA = American Animal Hospital Association).

In NY you should have no problem finding vets that are comfortable seeing exotics, even on emergency. I'd bet you could find a nearby exotic specialist as well but you'd be paying more for that for sure.

I'm on the other side of the country unfortunately.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I thought she just passed away but now it kind of feels like she might still be breathing but her body is really limp. I think she got stressed out and went into shock.
Expert:  Samuel Peck replied 5 months ago.

Unfortunately guinea pigs have very little reserve when they are this ill. You need to seek emergency care at this time or she may pass away at home. It would not be wrong to seek emergency care on the basis of seeking someone to humanely euthanize, especially given financial concerns. I am very sorry.