We finally got some answers for our sweet piggy. But let me start from the beginning, now that we've figured out where the beginning might be.
A month or more ago, Guinea got very territorial. She puffed up and tiptoed and rumbled. She strutted around in a show of piggy dominance. I worried she had a hormonal imbalance, and we joked about her being a guard pig. After a week-ish, maybe more, she mostly went back to her usual ways. We figured it was stress. We'd just had the house re-roofed, we'd had repairmen and friends over, and we had recently driven over 5,000 miles.
Then C started making comments about Guinea getting fat. Last Friday I saw red urine and chalked it up to eating red peppers. On Saturday it was too red to be food pigment, so I took her to the animal ER. Dr x-rayed and said probably bladder stones. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed.
Wednesday she quit eating. Her poops got hard and tiny and she got wider and wider. She hunched and got very snippy. By bedtime she was looking pretty bad. She and I headed back to the pet ER. Around midnight we finally saw a vet. She didn't know a whole lot about guinea pigs but her tech did! Turns out she is a tech for a local museum's exotics! She gave Guinea some fluids under the skin and critical care formula, and me the number of the awesome exotics vet at the museum (who also has her own practice). Guinea perked up with the fluids and besides being royally annoyed at us for the force-feedings, overall appeared to be improving.
Yesterday e and I took Guinea to see this wonderful exotics vet. Her tech (not the same one) is awesome as well. He joked with e and found the perfect scratch spot between Guinea's eyes to quiet her so the vet could hear her heartbeat. In the end Guinea had a shaved belly and an ultrasound had confirmed that she did not have bladder stones.
So... What was it? A ruptured ovarian cyst. Her show of dominance was because she was in pain, because if prey animals act sick they get eaten. Also why she was looking wider. Then it ruptured, allowing the fluid into her abdominal cavity, causing inflammation, and she got wider still, plus the blood. Most Guinea pigs don't survive that.
The treatment is to let her get better, then next time she shows signs of pain take her in right away. If indeed she has a cyst, the vet puts her under and spays her. Problem is, most guinea pigs don't survive that, either.
So....bottom line is our time with Guinea may be very limited. We feel so bad that she was in pain and we didn't know. We hope she will stay with us for a long time yet. And we pray she will not develop another cyst!! She really is 'some pig'.