Saturday, July 18, 2015

Guinea Pigs and Blood in Urine

Hi folks, Lola here. I've been having a rough couple of weeks. The humans noticed that I've been more lethargic than usual, so they took me to the vet this week. Turns out, I've lost quite a bit of weight over the last few months. During the exam, I peed on the vet's table (sorry, vet!), and the vet tested it for infection since it was tinged with blood. I have a UTI, and the vet wanted to do an X-ray just to be sure that I didn't have a bladder stone.

First, they sedated me, and then I went in the X-ray machine. The good news is I don't have a bladder stone, but the vet did notice some sandy sludge in my bladder, which mean I have to take some antibiotics to clear the infection. Also, I have to return in two weeks to be sedated again, so they can flush the painful sandy stuff out of my bladder.

On top of that, the X-rays showed I'm gassy, probably from swallowing air during the stressful car trip to the vet. Now I'm on 4 medications: Meloxicam to reduce inflammation, two oral liquid antibiotics, and an oral anti-gas liquid. Since I've been eating less, I also have to take Critical Care, which isn't bad tasting, but which I don't like eating since I'm so uncomfortable all the time.

I did get some pretty cool X-ray photos out of the experience though. Check them out:

The dark oval is the air I've swallowed.
Kind of hard to see, but the white line there is my bladder. Ouch,
The red arrow shows my tiny bladder.
The white color is due to the sandy sludge.

Not a fun time. 0/5 won't recommend getting a bladder infection.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Product Review: Oxbow Simple Rewards Baked Treats with Carrot and Dill

As we've mentioned before, Oxbow has introduced several new five new types of Simple Rewards treats. We're big fans of Simple Rewards, so reviewing a new flavor was a no-brainer for us! This time, we're reviewing the Carrot and Dill kind. Long-time readers probably already know we love carrots, and we think dill is pretty good, too. We got a good feeling about this one!

Look at what the human's new program can do! You can see each of us eating the treat in the same picture!
The humans decided to feed up separately on a pillow to discourage fighting over the treats. And I have to admit they do have a point. Sure, I love my cage-mates Lola and Buffy, but when treats are involved, things can get a little crazy and it's every piggy for themselves!

These treats were just as good as we expected them to be! They get 5/5 stars!

(By the way, just a friendly reminder that treats like this should make up no more than 5% of our diet. If we keep begging for more, we encourage you to switch to some sort of vegetable or hay.)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live on Average?

Hello, Cavy Savvy readers! Today I feel I should talk with you about a topic that's not the most pleasant thing to think about, but is important nonetheless: aging.

This was me from April 2010 was I was just a baby! How cute was I? (See more of my baby pics here.)
Maybe some of you have been with us since we started this started this blog back in March 2011, and you'll need to start thinking about this as well.

As we have previously mentioned, guinea pigs live about 5-7 years on average, and the oldest known guinea pig lived 14 years, 10.5 months.

We have read that the breed of guinea pig can affect life span. For example, skinny pigs tend to live 4.5 years on average, but may reach 5-7 with proper care and a little luck. Some have speculated that because the more exotic breeds are bred for specific characteristics, a side effect of this are various genetic problems that can shorten the average life span of that breed in comparison to the American Shorthair. Others have disputed this claim. We would like to see some solid research on this before we know what to believe.

Other factors that may influence guinea pig life span besides breed include:

(Take some of these things with a grain of salt, by the way. We don't know how reliable all these sources are.)

Guinea pigs may be considered older when they are 5 years old. There are several things you should know about caring for older guinea pigs, including:
  • Older guinea pigs tend to be mellower, and more appreciative of human attention.
  • Be attentive to how your guinea pig normally behaves so you can detect potential problems as quickly as possible. This goes for guinea pigs of any age, but is especially true of older piggies since they can't recover from illness and injury as well as younger piggies. Make sure you read over the signs of guinea pig illness, and pay particular attention to changes in weight, appetite, and thirst.
  • Eye problems such as cataracts are common in older piggies. Cataracts result in gradual changes to the appearance of the eyes. If there are sudden changes to the eyes, this could be a more serious problem that requires veterinary attention.
  • Older guinea may have stiffer joints, and find it more difficult to walk on loose bedding. Switching to fleece may help with this. Consider whether any changes to your cage setup could make your older piggy's life easier, such as switching from a 2-level cage to a 1-level cage. You may also want to talk to your vet about anti-pain or anti-inflammatory medication if your piggy seems to be in pain (you can tell if your pig is in pain if their fur is puffing up).
  • Make sure you monitor our foot pads for signs of irritation, which, if unchecked, can develop into a serious condition called pododermatitis (AKA Bumblefoot). To prevent this, make sure you keep our cage clean, encourage physical activity, and avoid wire floors and rough bedding. Consider moisturizer if the skin seems particularly dry, and antibiotic ointment for minor problems, but consult your vet before treating your pig.
  • For older guinea pigs, consider wellness visits every 6 months rather than every year.
With proper care, your older piggy may still have lots of good years left with you.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Guinea Pigs Celebrate Fourth of July!

Happy fourth of July, readers! Here at Cavy Savvy, we like to be included in the celebration by doing what we do best: eating!
Happy birthday, America!
Time to eat tomatoes, corn and blueberries to celebrate!
We hope your piggies have a happy and healthy Fourth of July!