Guinea pig surgery for gastric stasis

Vet care for small animals can present special challenges. Small animals have a harder time with anesthesia, getting blood work can be tough, and even basic tasks like giving shots or fluids can be more difficult. All of this means they need special treatment when they get sick.

Guinea pig feeling ill with gastric stasis

Caregivers noticed that Kiska the guinea pig wasn’t eating well and that she seemed to be uncomfortable. Dr. Deb Nicholson, one of the vets at Best Friends, examined Kiska and confirmed things weren’t right. X-rays showed a large amount of gas in Kiska’s stomach, which pointed to gastric stasis—a painful and sometimes life-threatening condition for guinea pigs. But that wasn’t the biggest problem. Kiska also had a bladder stone.

Guinea pig surgery

This meant double trouble. Kiska needed surgery, but because she was in such poor health from the gastric stasis, she wasn’t a great candidate for anesthesia. "Even healthy guinea pigs tend to be one of the highest risk anesthesia patients," explains Dr. Deb. What about a sick guinea pig, then? Not happening. So, Dr. Deb decided to try and spruce up Kiska’s health in preparation for the operation.

Intensive care

For a solid week, Kiska went into intensive care, Best Friends’ style. She lived in an incubator set at 88 degrees. She had fluids three times a day. Every three to four hours she was fed and given meds. At nights, she went home with Dr. Deb or rabbit caregivers for overnight treatment and love. They’d take turns in the round-the-clock care that helped pull Kiska through the worst of it. Soon, she was no longer dehydrated or lying around limply. Her gastric stasis was gone and she had some spark back. But the big surgery was still ahead.

Surgery and recovery

Once she was healthy enough for surgery, they brought her to the clinic for the operation. All that hard work getting her strong enough for the big day really paid off. Kiska pulled through with no problems! Removing the bladder stone turned out to be the easy part, in fact. It would be another week of intensive care before Kiska could start eating on her own. The recovery was slow, to be sure, but thanks to medical attention and TLC, she’s finally back to her old self.

Congrats, Kiska! May your next visit to the clinic be nothing more than a toenail trim!

Photo by Gary Kalpakoff

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