Friday, October 21, 2011

What's Wrong with Bertie

It turns out I wasn't the only one in the house hit with a virus this summer.  I got word of Bertie's blood work on Thursday night.  I had been a little worried because the vet hadn't called me back a full week after the results were supposed to be in.  It turns out that Bertie has pneumonia virus of mice (PVM) and guinea pig adenovirus.  These viruses affect the lungs, can have the symptoms of a URI, causes dramatic weight loss and may cause listlessness or depression.  Any of this sound familiar?

Typical virus:  there's nothing I can give her to fix the problem.  From what I understood from the vet, this is commonly diagnosed after an otherwise healthy-looking guinea pig has suddenly dropped dead.  The viruses can lurk, then hit quickly.  I wonder if Bertie picked up this virus a long time ago.  She has had bouts of wheeziness that disappear after 24 hours many times since I've had her.  She had been brought to a shelter with a large group of pigs.  I don't know where else she could have picked up the virus.

So the good news?  It's not heart disease.  It's not kidney failure.  If I'm lucky, she'll fight off this bug and gain her weight back.  However, I am once again dealing with a long-term illness.  Seriously?  And the added bonus... it might kill her sooner than later.  The vet said Bertie will be more susceptible to URIs, so we will need to watch her carefully for that.  And it's possible she will have a shortened life span, because of damage to her lungs (if a URI doesn't kill her first). 

I have a diagnosis, and that's a start.  There's plenty to do, even if I can't treat the virus itself.  I will need to weigh Bertie more often than the other girls.  I know the symptoms of a respiratory infection and can start treatment immediately.  And we can have some bonding time while she endures syringe feedings of Critical Care when her weight drops too low.  These, at least, are all things I am capable of doing.  Who knows?  She may pull a Willow and last longer than anyone's wildest predictions.  Go Bertie!

1 comment :

  1. Oh Sally - sorry to read this. Maybe a second opinion from guinea pig specialist at Cummings Small Animal Hospital/Tufts Veterinay up in Grafton? Is she eating now? What is URI? Am familair with UTI...will send her Reiki healing!


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