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Guinea pigs typically live an average of 5 to 7 years [source]

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Feebee: An Update on HappyCavy’s Senior Guinea Pig

Published: 9/18/2017 | Author: HappyCavy | Updated: 10/5/2017

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Old happy guinea pig

Feebee the HappyCavy

At eight years old, Feebee is HappyCavy’s resident senior guinea pig. And, at eight years old, this makes her about the same age as an 80-year-old human. But instead of walkers and gray hair, she’s dealing with just as much fuzz, but a lot more naps.

Eight years of sleeping, eating, playing, and cuddling means Feebee has lived – and continues to lead – a good life. But as she grows older, her daily routine become a little more challenging. Everyday tasks, like eating and getting around, are now slower and more challenging. Morning runs around the cage have been traded for more quality sleep time. Out are the days of Feebee’s popcorning, and in are the days of extra kisses and longer cuddle times.

One of the recent challenges Feebee has faced is getting around.

Here’s what’s been going on.

Update 10/1/2017

The family vet switched Feebee’s Baytril antibiotic since she was not showing signs of improvement. A new type of antibiotic, Chloramphenicol, was prescribed instead. Within two days of switching to Chloramphenicol, she is showing gradual improvements — moving around more and able to stand better. Feebee is continuing her Metacam (pain relief and anti-inflammatory) and Reglan medication (aides gut motility), along with probiotics. Please wish Feebee a speedy recovery!

Update 9/24/2017

The Humans called the family vet to discuss Feebee’s treatment and other options for helping her getting around better. Since Feebee was showing signs of improvement with the Metacam, the doctor upped the dosage as a short-term measure to see if it would continue her improvement.

The doctor also offered the use of cold laser therapy. The Humans will follow-up with the cold laser threapy suggestion after her antibiotic regimen is complete.

Baby guinea pig

Feebee as a young guinea pig. This was the photo used in her online adoption advertisement.

After Feebee healed from a diagnosis of early-stage bumblefoot several months ago, she became less and less active.

First, the Humans noticed she was holding her back left leg in a strange position. She was still able to move around without issue, so the Humans thought it was related to her recently healed foot. The Humans monitored her closely and carefully watched her food and water intake to ensure she was still eating and drinking.

Then, a week or so later, Feebee seemed to lose the ability to move her hind legs. Instead of running to get her food and water, she started hopping over to them in slow, labored movements. Feebee also no longer sat with her legs tucked under her body to provide support; she now preferred to sit without putting weight on her legs, keeping them out to her side as she sat, napped, drank, and ate.

Was this arthritis? Or was something else going on? So off to the HappyCavy family vet Feebee went.

At the Vet

The doctor’s first note of concern was Feebee’s weight loss. It’s true. In the last few months, Feebee had an incremental yet steady decline from 31 ounces on March to 28 ounces on September 4 – a considerable amount of weight to lose for such a small guinea pig.

But she was still eating and drinking, so the Humans attributed her weight loss to aging.

So what did the doctor say about her leg problems? Well, he was concerned there, too. He didn’t think Feebee was suffering from arthritis, because he was able to manipulate her joints without her so much as flinching. The doctor said that if Feebee did have arthritis, she would be squeaking in pain from having her joints moved.

Diagnosis: Infection

8 year old guinea pig blood test results

Feebee’s blood test results indicated a high neutrophil count.
Click for larger version

Instead of arthritis, the doctor suspects Feebee is suffering from muscle wasting, making it difficult for her to walk. The doctor performed a urinalysis and found that there was some blood in her urine, but fortunately no bacteria or bladder stones present. So the doctor prescribed the antibiotic Baytril for Feebee to take home with her, and a blood test was ordered to check organ function and see what else could be going on.

The next day, the blood tests results were in, and they showed a high neutrophil count, which the doctor said indicates inflammation or infection. So the doctor told the Humans to begin giving Feebee the antibiotic along with a probiotic regimen. Also, since the blood test showed that Feebee’s organ function was normal, Metacam – a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication – was prescribed, along with the gut motility medicine Reglan, to see if this could help Feebee fight the infection and get around easier.

What’s Next for Feebee?

Guinea pig chewing on pellets

An munching guinea pig is a happy guinea pig.

There’s no telling whether the Baytril – after ridding Feebee of her mystery infection – may help her walk properly again. And so far, the Metacam seems to help perk Feebee up; however, while she seems to be walking more, she hasn’t been walking any better.

So the waiting game continues. The Humans wait to see if Feebee improves as they monitor her throughout the day, helping her to get around and ensuring that she’s eating and drinking.

Fortunately, Feebee has been a happy pig during all of this. Despite her fragility, she didn’t seemed bothered or scared to visit the doctor’s office. In fact, she seemed happy to get the extra attention. And she’s still all smiles when you go to pet her or give her some extra love and care.

How to Care for Old Guinea Pigs

Are you looking after an older guinea pig?

Get tips and advice on care for senior guinea pigs with our article, “Senior Pig Moment: How to Care for Your Old Guinea Pig.”

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About This Guinea Pig Website

HappyCavy has been online since June 2009 with Hammy and Piglet. In October of 2009, a sweet, fuzzy cavy named Bitsy joined the webcam broadcasts.

Feebee and Buttercup were welcomed to the HappyCavy Forever Home as friends and co-conspirators in January 2011. Dot joined us on July 2012, and Winnie and Rosie were the most recent addition on February 8, 2015 and June 6, 2015, respectively. Learn more about the guinea pigs here.

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