In old age, guinea pig ailments mirror those we humans suffer from. Circulatory problems, kidneys not as good as they were when young, creaking joints, failing eye sight etc. You name it they can suffer from it. The good news is that some of the pain and discomfort can be relieved in the same way as they are in human medicine. Diuretics and plenty of potassium for the circulation, in the shape of herbal diuretic herbs and foods. The use of nettle pills to clean out the system to aid the kidneys, and for the creaking joints there are a brand of pills on the market which work very well. These are Potters Tabritis tablets. The dose is half tablet per day, crushed and mixed with about a 1.05 ml of water and syringed in to the mouth. Most guinea pigs guzzle them down and pull at the syringe for second helpings and I suspect it is because of the Burdock in them which you can smell and always reminds me of the drink, dandelion and burdock.
These tablets do not cure the disease which is just part of the ageing process, but they certainly relieve the pain and ease the stiffness. The two main symptoms of this condition are bunny hopping and the guinea pig lying on it’s side with it’s body arched more than usual and slightly twisted so that the feet are off the ground. After a week or so on Tabritis, the bunny hopping is less pronounced and the guinea pig is more relaxed when lying down in the majority of cases. As already stated, Bumblefoot is more common in elderly guinea pigs but this I never treat. A, because the less the elderly digestive system has to cope with, in the shape of drugs, the better, and B, I have yet to see a case which causes much distress. It is just a case of monitoring these animals to watch that the scabbing on the foot stays firm and not open to other infections if the skin gets broken. As far as the loss of sight in old age is concerned there is nothing that can be done. In cases where the eyelids become covered with gritty debris, flush out regularly with optrex eye wash.
I get very fond of my oldies and they get more of their fair share of lap time and cuddles. Even the most ‘untouchable’ piggies in their youth can mellow with age and I’m sure they appreciate this human contact. It certainly works wonders the other way around for as I am beginning to creak myself I think I can empathise more with them now!.