Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lilly heath and diet news

So those who've read my blog for a while know that I have a guinea pig named Lilly. You might also know that I had to take her to the vet back in May 2014 due to cataracts that she had suddenly developed. At that time, the vet did a blood glucose test (results are in the article from 2014 but the number was 137) and this was considered "normal" at that time. I've since read that the upper end of normal for guinea pigs is 125 and that they are not normally that high so this result is in question in my mind. In addition, I've questioned that result off and on since then due to her other symptoms that match certain types of diabetes so well such as excessive water drinking/polydipsia, and excessive urinating/polyuria, struggling to keep weight on, etc.
Recently however, she has had some "scary" events that have made me think diabetes is more likely than not (I cannot PROVE this yet because she has not been officially diagnosed and I am not yet a veterinarian, but I think it is likely) and have made me alter her diet.
About a month ago, I fed her some red bell pepper (she had not had it in quite a while and I figured she would like some since she has always loved it). About an hour later, she was sitting extremely still in her cage and breathing heavily and was clearly feeling bad. I watched her and made sure she was OK and once she got better (a few hours later), I just assumed it was a fluke. A few days later, I gave her a couple of grape tomatoes and she did the same thing. Now, after having tried a few things, I have discovered that this occurs any time I feed her a high-sugar fruit/veggie, but not when I give her lower sugar items like leafy greens. After some reading (I have access to veterinary journals through the university that I'm studying at), I feel that diabetes is likely her problem and am looking for a way to test her sugar levels at home to know for sure.
In the meantime, I've read up on diabetes in guinea pigs and have discovered that dietary changes are frequently successful (or at least partly successful) in managing this condition in guinea pigs and have implemented these changes in Lilly's diet. She no longer gets those higher sugar fruits/veggies and gets a limited amount of high quality (Oxbow) pellets along with grass hay. She can eat things like leafy greens and small amounts of some other veggies. Since these changes, she has not had any episodes like the scary ones I mentioned above and clearly feels much better! If and when I get test results for blood/urine glucose, I will post an update.

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