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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a male Degu, Q, who is just over 6 years old. He's been sick recently, but I can't figure out what's wrong, or how much of it might be due to old age or lonliness. I plan to take him to a vet if he doesn't make some huge recovery by tomorrow, but I won't be able to get him there until tomorrow evening, at the earliest...



A small bit of history first: Q has always been a strong, healthy guy. He was dominant over his cagemate, a real pig for treats, and very energetic and busy. A few months ago, he and his cagemate caught little colds, becoming lethargic and sneezing. Q started hogging all the food, and while he recovered, his cagemate, who was older, smaller and had recurring dental issues, became very weak and passed away, despite recieving emergency care from a small animal vet... Q's sneeze persisted for a while, but he was back to his old self even before it went away.


I was out of town when he started getting sick, so I don't know specifics. My mom called and told me he seemed tired, and might be a bit depressed (As she knows Degus are social and can get lonely, and I had told her to look out for that now that he's alone). When I got back a few days later, he wasn't doing much, had lost some weight, and was breathing heavily like his nose was stuffed up and dry - He had apparently had a white discharge from his eyes that morning, but it hasn't happened since then. We gave him some antibiotics (Baytril liquid). The dry stuffy nose sound turned to a wet stuffy nose sound, and he became more energetic, but still had no appetite.


It has been about 5 days since he started taking the Baytril. He still sounds like something is stuck in his nose, but there is still no dripping or sneezing. I haven't seen him eating much, but he shows some interest in raisins and his weight hasn't dropped any more. His energy level is almost normal, and he shows no special interest in the hot water bottle I put behind his nest... In the last couple days he's been making a repetative low, crying squeak when I hold him, but knowing Q as I do, this could easily be because he is upset at me for feeding him bad tasting medicine for days.


SO... I know I can be unnecessarily wordy when I try to explain things. Thanks for sticking with me this far! :)
Is there anything that sticks out? It seems like a normal cold, but the sound when he breaths is worrying, and the antibiotics haven't helped much. Loss of appetite is also odd for my little piggy, even when he was sick before.
Are there any breathing problems or loss of appetite associated with old age? He's lost weight, but is actually still around an average size, if just barely underweight. His bedding, dust and food have not changed much in years, and not at all in the last few months.


Looking back at it, maybe this isn't much to work with... But any advice or insight would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

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Breathing problems aren't normal for old age so there's definitely something going on. How much is he eating? You mention loss of appetite but I assume he's eating something, right? What about hay? He needs to keep eating to prevent serious digestive problems, even if it means force-feeding. I wouldn't offer raisins, though, since degus can't have sugar. I know you were probably just trying to get him to eat but I would force-feed before trying sugary foods.

Hopefully the vet will be able to help, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We weren't able to see a vet today, unfortunately... He is still energetic, and hasn't gotten any worse. Everything is set for him to see the doctor tomorrow!


I really don't know how much he has eaten. He had a good strip of lettuce last night, and I believe he took a plain cheerio today... He also has a seed bar in his cage with a couple small dents in it, but nothing significant for how long it's been there. I know I should lay off the treats, but it's hard to see him not eating anything. ):
I am still keeping the sugar in mind, though. Don't want to make things worse.


It doesn't look like he's eaten any of the pellets I've given him. Some of his hay did disappear while I wasn't looking, but knowing his habits, it probably just went into his nest. I've always kept him in a good supply of hay, but aside from his good health over the years, I've never seen any evidence of him actually eating it. I didn't think of it before, but it's possible that he had buried treats that he's eating... His cage is still pretty clean so I hadn't changed it since coming home.


Do you have any reccomendations for force feeding? He still has a LOT of fight, otherwise I might have tried this sooner... It's a two person job, at best. I'm also concerned about feeding him too much, though, especially if he's eating more than I know...


Thanks. :)
 

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Limit the food you put in his cage so you can actually tell how much he eats. If force-feeding is that difficult, that's actually great. He still has plenty of energy :). I would wait to talk to the vet before deciding a feeding regime. Ask them about Critical Care, it's very useful for small animals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We just got back from the doctor a little while ago, and the doctor says Q is looking good, considering he hasn't been eating much. He had fun running around on the waiting room bench, and put up a biiiig fight with the doctor (Though no fingers were bitten).


He gave us some antibiotics and suggested syringe feeding of baby food or making a mash out of pellets if he doesn't start eating on his own. He still won't eat pellets, so I don't think I have much of a choice, for now.

He put up a huuuuge fight with his medicine, we missed twice before actually getting it in his mouth! He was probably fed up after the vet visit... He's pretty good, for a sick guy. :)


Hopefully we will see some improvement with this round of antibiotics. He was sneezing today (after days of dry stuffy nose), so hopefully his sinuses are starting to clear themselves out. I'll just have to see how things work out!
 

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See if you can get Critical Care to feed instead of just pellets. It's by Oxbow :).

I'm glad to hear he's still putting up a fight! I hope he continues to improve :D.
 
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