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Old 12-23-2012, 03:09 PM   #1 
NeptunesMom
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Guinea Pig with Neurological Issues

I have adopted a young guinea pig with neurological issues. She came home with me today. I have guinea pig experience, but I have never had one with neurological issues. I am wondering if anyone else on here has experience with this?

From what I understand, she had an infection that got out of control and caused brain damage. She is infection clear now (vet checked). But, she circles and falls over. She is in a small c&c cage, 2 cubes by 2 cubes. She seems to be drinking a lot of water, and I am concerned if she is actually getting any. I tried to give her green leaf lettuce and she sucked on it and then freaked out smacking herself in the face with her paws.

She is devouring the alfalfa hay I got her. I have not given her pellets yet as I am trying to find OxBow Cavy Performance for her, but thus car have only found Cuisine (which I already have for my older girls). If I can not find it soon, I will just have to give her Cuisine until my pet food store opens again on Wednesday.

Any tips or advice would be appreciated.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #2 
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Hey there,

we have guinea pigs but not with problems such as yours however I also have rats and mice and have done a lot of reading about them. Apparently rats can get ear infections that can cause them to obtain a permanent head tilt or sometimes do a circling motion with their head. They can live a perfectly happy life, just keep her as stress free as possible and she should be just fine. I don't think lettuce is good for guinea pigs, I read it can give them diarrhea. Lucerne is good for them though, why not just give her some cuisine pellets until you get her the others.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:39 PM   #3 
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Hey there,

we have guinea pigs but not with problems such as yours however I also have rats and mice and have done a lot of reading about them. Apparently rats can get ear infections that can cause them to obtain a permanent head tilt or sometimes do a circling motion with their head. They can live a perfectly happy life, just keep her as stress free as possible and she should be just fine. I don't think lettuce is good for guinea pigs, I read it can give them diarrhea. Lucerne is good for them though, why not just give her some cuisine pellets until you get her the others.
Thanks for the reply. That circling and head tilt sounds like her. Good to know she has a good chance at an okay life. I have been worried about her all day. I even left my boyfriend family Christmas to come home and check on her.

A pigs diet should have about a cup of green leaf or romaine lettuce a day. They can not have iceberg lettuce. It messes up their digestive tract. I'm guessing that's probably what you read about. I do not know what Lucerne is. Is that a veggie?
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:46 PM   #4 
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Hey there,

Yes your little girl has a perfectly good chance to enjoy a long happy life especially now that she has a caring owner like you! Yes it is the Iceberg lettuce that I read about. Lucerne is just horse hay (a type of legume). It is really good for them as it contains vitamin C but you must not give them too much because it is high in calcium and after a longish period of time it can cause I think kidney stones if they eat too much of it. An easy way to tell if they are having too much is their urine will turn really white. Like most things it is good for them but in moderation. Good luck with your little girl, I would love to see some photos of her if you have some
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:26 AM   #5 
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Hey there,

Yes your little girl has a perfectly good chance to enjoy a long happy life especially now that she has a caring owner like you! Yes it is the Iceberg lettuce that I read about. Lucerne is just horse hay (a type of legume). It is really good for them as it contains vitamin C but you must not give them too much because it is high in calcium and after a longish period of time it can cause I think kidney stones if they eat too much of it. An easy way to tell if they are having too much is their urine will turn really white. Like most things it is good for them but in moderation. Good luck with your little girl, I would love to see some photos of her if you have some
I will have to see if I can find that Lucerne hay. I have horses, but I am not familiar with it. She is not willing to eat her vitamin C chew tab, and she will not eat it on top of veggies (I am having trouble getting her to eat anything besides hay now). I do not use the water additive because it loses it's potency once it is exposed to light. So, I need to find something with more vitamin C she will eat. I am going to try a red pepper today (cross your fingers).

I have noticed if I keep her stimulation minimal (most of the cage is covered). She seems to do the best. It is if I pull the cover off the cage she starts to circle and fall over. She doesn't have that problem as frequently when she is covered. I do have several of the sides exposed so she can get light if she wants it.

I'm attaching a picture of her.
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:29 PM   #6 
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Oh wow what a beautiful little guinea pig I used to have a bird that had similar symptoms to your girl.... she too was happier with part of her cage covered, it gives them security and makes them feel safe. When uncovered she would begin to head tilt and circle because she felt vulnerable, I guess in a way the symptoms were stress induced. It would be a good idea to keep one end of her cage covered to make her feel safe or you could buy her one of the plastic guinea pig houses that she can hide in. Your girl is so cute
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:08 AM   #7 
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My sister has had several ferrets in her life (Not my thing, but they are cute!) She had one fat little thing that had an inner ear problem that got so bad her hearing went and caused balance problems. She moved around fine but did best if there was a wall against her right side (That's the way she tilted) and didn't like light very much, but as long as it was kind of dark she was a very happy girl. And very fat. She couldn't run loose like other ferrets so she didn't get much exercise. Unfortunately she didn't live very long, infection came back :(

And you might have to cut her off from the water if she keeps drinking, it might be why she's not eating. Brain damage can cause extreme thirst. My cat, Tyrial, has some damage and will ignore food to go after water, I have to keep an eye on him.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:08 PM   #8 
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Hi there!
I have 3 guinea pigs. Thank you for taking in a piggie with special needs. She's lucky to have found a good home. While I am not familiar in caring for guinea pigs with special needs I can recommend you try syringe feeding her water if you are worried or you can give her veggies that have high water content like cucumber, just not too much. It can cause bloating. Red or green leaf lettuce are the healthiest. Do you feed any other types of veggies? You should check out this website... http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/forum.php It has lots of information and you can post your story there if you'd like they're are lots of people who may be able to help.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:46 PM   #9 
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Hi there!
I have 3 guinea pigs. Thank you for taking in a piggie with special needs. She's lucky to have found a good home. While I am not familiar in caring for guinea pigs with special needs I can recommend you try syringe feeding her water if you are worried or you can give her veggies that have high water content like cucumber, just not too much. It can cause bloating. Red or green leaf lettuce are the healthiest. Do you feed any other types of veggies? You should check out this website... http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/forum.php It has lots of information and you can post your story there if you'd like they're are lots of people who may be able to help.
She has been urinating so I think she is getting water. She seems to have calmed down on the water drinking. I think it might have just been a nervous thing. She went from being in a very small (about large shoebox sized) cage to a 2x2 C&C. I think she was a little overwhelmed with the new space. I feed about a cup of green leaf or romaine lettuce a day and try to feed a wedge of red pepper a day as well (but this time of year it's hard to find good red peppers). I am feeding tomatoes instead right now, 1/2 a Roma every other day (to cut down on their acid intake). They get OxBow Vit C chewables when they do not get the red pepper each day. I was able to get her to eat the tomato and a carrot covered with crushed OxBow Vit C tab.

I have been to that site before, but I am not a member. I'll join and see if anyone has experience. I did post on GuineaLynx but no one responded.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:52 PM   #10 
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My sister has had several ferrets in her life (Not my thing, but they are cute!) She had one fat little thing that had an inner ear problem that got so bad her hearing went and caused balance problems. She moved around fine but did best if there was a wall against her right side (That's the way she tilted) and didn't like light very much, but as long as it was kind of dark she was a very happy girl. And very fat. She couldn't run loose like other ferrets so she didn't get much exercise. Unfortunately she didn't live very long, infection came back :(

And you might have to cut her off from the water if she keeps drinking, it might be why she's not eating. Brain damage can cause extreme thirst. My cat, Tyrial, has some damage and will ignore food to go after water, I have to keep an eye on him.
Mine isn't that bad. She can get around without having to lean on something. She is zipping around her cage, she just does it really oddly. Almost like she has been spinning in a circle and then trying to walk.

I think she should be okay on the infection. I have been watching her really closely, and first sign of anything I'm going to take her to my cavy savvy vet.

I'm sorry about your cat. It's always hard dealing with special needs animals. I have several special needs horses too, and it is frustrating but rewarding.
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