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Second Opinions

Truman got worse after the trip to the vet.  The slight head tilt that had been present at the doctor was now an exaggerated head tilt, and he dragged his right ear on the ground as he stumbled in circles.  It reminded me of Cozy’s last day.

Our vet went out of town after the appointment, and she left me with the phone number of an emergency backup vet.  We called her animal hospital, but she was also unfortunately out of town.  We tried the place they offered as their backup, but that doctor was out at that hospital, too.  We kept getting passed along from animal hospital to animal hospital in search of a veterinarian that specialized in rodents.  I ended up speaking to five different doctors along the way.

Each one gave different advice.

All said that the most likely scenario was that the upper respiratory infection spread to his inner ear or brain.  One said they would have never treated the infection as aggressively as our vet, and another said they would have treated the infection more aggressively than our vet.  One thought that we should add ear drops, and another said that ear drops could be toxic.  They each had different opinions on how long we should give the current antibiotic before switching it.

I added in the opinions of every commenter on every guinea pig website that listed a similar situation, making lists of possible solutions as well as lists of dangerous solutions.  The two lists often overlapped, with one site stating it was the only way to cure wry neck and the other stating it was a surefire way to kill your guinea pig.

I spent most of Friday a complete wreck.

I didn’t know if I should stick with my vet’s advice, especially since I hadn’t seen her since he took a turn for the worse, or if I should take the advice of a different vet who could only see us early Saturday morning.  He wanted to switch the antibiotic to something much more aggressive.  It felt like there was no good solution.  Either I would have regrets that I didn’t follow my vet’s advice, or I would have regrets that I stupidly waited and wasn’t aggressive enough.

It made me wonder the intelligence of internet research and second opinions.  These things that were supposed to be empowering me were only making me feel like shit as I doubted myself.

We couldn’t make a decision, so our lack of decision became our decision.  We hand-fed him yesterday, and used a syringe to give him water every few hours.  We let him have as many alfalfa cookies as he wanted.  He mostly didn’t move, but would lift his head from time to time to eat.  We have another appointment set up with our normal veterinarian on Monday morning.  All we can do for the next day is give him love and beg him to get better.

He’s my baby; my furry companion.  My office mate and daytime friend.  He’s my banana-sharer and alfalfa cookie begger.  I need him to be well.



1 Suzanna Catherine { 06.05.16 at 8:17 am }

You are such a caring and compassionate mom to Truman. I think you doing the only thing that makes any sense at all. Prayers for you and Truman.

2 TasIVFer { 06.05.16 at 8:19 am }

Oh no! I hope he improves and is back to his normal self soon. It is so hard the pets cannot explain exactly what is wrong. And so difficult that you can’t know what the best thing to do is. At least he will be feeling that love. That honestly must help.

Such a gorgeous photo of you two!

3 B { 06.05.16 at 8:21 am }

Good luck. Sorry to hear you’re going through this. Unfortunately, especially with pocket pets, the research isn’t solid or they’re too good at hiding their symptoms for the picture to be as clear as we’d like. Fingers crossed the treatments kick in.

4 katherinea12 { 06.05.16 at 8:47 am }

So sorry you and Truman are going through this. Sending thoughts and hoping he gets better soon.

5 Cristy { 06.05.16 at 8:56 am }

I’m so sorry Mel. It’s hard when our fur-babies are sick. Even harder when we feel powerless. Holding you in my heart today. Holding Truman too.

6 torthuil { 06.05.16 at 9:51 am }

Oh, poor Truman and Mel! What a stressful sad situation. I agree, Internet opinions are insane. Sometimes they help but often they just make crazy: sorry you have nowhere else to turn.

7 a { 06.05.16 at 9:53 am }

Sorry to hear he’s gotten sicker. I hope he starts to improve soon.

8 Justine { 06.05.16 at 11:47 am }

Oh, Mel… Sending you both so much love and healing thoughts. My heart hurts for you… I hope you get some helpful non-contradictory advice soon. 🙁

9 Working mom of 2 { 06.05.16 at 11:59 am }

Hugs to you and Truman.

10 mijk { 06.05.16 at 12:03 pm }

I cannot imagine my vet not having an oncall might and weekend service! Seems really bad service to me. I’m so sorry!

11 Battynurse { 06.05.16 at 12:41 pm }

Hoping he’s much better soon.

12 ana { 06.05.16 at 1:36 pm }

I’m so sorry Mel. Sending healing thoughts your way. I hope Truman is himself again soon

13 Charlotte { 06.05.16 at 2:52 pm }

This sucks. I am so very sorry Mel. I hope Truman gets better soon.

14 Beth { 06.05.16 at 3:26 pm }

I’m so sorry. Thinking of you and Truman and hoping for wellness soon.

15 April { 06.05.16 at 3:28 pm }

Hugs for both you and Truman.

16 Jess { 06.05.16 at 6:21 pm }

Oh no… I’m so sorry to hear that things are worse, not better, and that everything is conflicting and there are no answers. I hope that your regular vet on Monday has the answers and Truman gets better. I’m sure all the love helps… Thinking of you. Such a hard space to be in. 🙁

17 Karen { 06.05.16 at 7:44 pm }

Oh no, Mel! When I saw the first sentence of this post, my heart constricted and I could only see your note to him in your new twine book. I really, really, really hope he’s feeling better soon. Sending you all my love.


18 Middle Girl { 06.05.16 at 8:09 pm }

I’m sorry Truman (and his humans) are having the endure this medical crisis. I hope you all are able to keep him comfortable until his next appointment. Here’s to a solution to his full recovery.

19 tasivfer { 06.05.16 at 9:37 pm }

I was thinking of Truman, so just thought I’d check in to see if there’s an update – and then I realise it’s not Monday there yet. Sigh. Anyway, thinking of you!

20 Delenn { 06.06.16 at 9:32 am }

I hope Truman has gotten better! I know that having a small pet can be hard–especially when vets sometimes in the dark about the little critters. I remember my husband nursing back his favorite chinchilla, Leeloo through pneumonia. The little dropper of meds, the care, the worry. I know whatever happens, Truman is getting excellent care and love!

21 Geochick { 06.06.16 at 10:45 am }

I hope he’s better today. It really sucks that as you are trying to get information, all you get is conflicting information! The horrors of the interwebs I think. 🙁

22 35jupiterdrive { 06.06.16 at 12:27 pm }

I hope he’s better today. it’s so difficult to make an informed decision when there are many different opinions. No matter what, know that you are doing your very best for him & hang on to that. And know that he loves you & knows in his sweet soul that you love him too. It is no small thing to be loved and to know it.

23 JustHeather { 06.06.16 at 3:14 pm }

I hope Truman is feeling better today! I hope you’ll let us know how the vet appointment goes. Truman is cute in the picture and you’re pretty/beautiful too! Great picture of you.

24 loribeth { 06.06.16 at 3:59 pm }

How is he today?? Great photo of you both. (((hugs)))

25 nonsequiturchica { 06.06.16 at 4:22 pm }

How is Truman today? I hope that he is feeling better!

26 Lori Lavender Luz { 06.06.16 at 9:30 pm }

I’m here abiding with you.

27 Deathstar { 06.06.16 at 10:46 pm }

Oh, poor Truman. How is he today? Any better? There’s nothing worse when a beloved pet is sick.

28 Jennifer { 06.07.16 at 12:27 am }

Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that Truman is so sick. It’s scary when your trusted vet isn’t available in an emergency situation and you don’t know who to believe. Hugs to you and thoughts of healing to Truman… He is obviously very loved and is a very special guinea pig.

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