Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Hormonal Guinea Pig

A few days ago my daughter said to me, "Mom, I think something's wrong with Tinkerbell." 

"Why?" I asked.

"She's not eating all her food," was Joy's reply.

Now I don't know about anyone else (particularly you ladies), but when I am feeling out of sorts, NOT eating is the last thing on my mind!  Nonetheless, for a guinea pig, being out of sorts can be a sign of serious illness like an upper respiratory infection or bloat, both of which can be fatal if not treated. 

We kept a watchful eye on Tinkerbell over the weekend, observing that she was becoming more lethargic and eventually stopped eating or drinking anything.  The amazing pooping piggie quit leaving little messes in her cage, which was a sure indication that something was wrong.  Saturday night, after a whole day of lying still with her eyes wide open ("pupils fixed and dilated" is the medical term they use on TV), I was certain she was a goner.  I covered her up with a hand towel, exposing only her head so she could breathe but not wanting her to be cold as she slipped away in the night.  Saying my last goodbye, I went to bed and cried myself to sleep -- all over a rodent!  I was relieved to find her still alive on Sunday morning.  She even perked up a little Sunday night as if to say, "You can't get rid of me that easily!"

First thing Monday morning I left her with a vet who specializes in exotic animals.  (Who knew a rodent could be considered exotic?)  When he called to break the news to me, the tone of his voice caught me off-guard.  Expecting to hear a serious and sympathetic voice on the other end of the phone as he delivered a grim prognosis, I was tickled when he giddily announced, "Tinkerbell has cystic ovaries, which is common in guinea pigs her age.  We'll treat her with hormones and she'll be good as new in a few days."   Dr. McGee, are you saying my guinea pig is menopausal?  Leave it to the guinea pig to upstage me yet again!

Oh, did I mention?  Tinkerbell had her very first ultrasound. Doesn't that beat all!   No babies do I see, but I'm naming the cysts Peter Pan and Wendy.  

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